In We Own the Sky, the first book in The Muse Chronicles, we meet sixteen-year-old Sylvia. For her entire life, she’s lived through music, an attribute passed down from her rocker parents. Her mother overdosed when she was young, and her father struggles with addiction. Sylvia has some demons of her own- she’s struggled with depression and suicidal thoughts, and has recently been seeing “flickering people” around other musicians.
At first, Sylvia thinks she must be crazy. But when one of the flickering people, Vincent, shows up in her life and begins to show her the beautiful music they can create together, she realizes that these flickering people are not delusions at all- they’re Muses, like those from Greek mythology. Vincent has been assigned specifically to her in order to help peak her artistic capabilities, but their relationship quickly becomes intensely passionate.
We Own the Sky intertwines myth and reality absolutely beautifully through the lens of a high school girl. I tend to find most authors butcher these complex narrative shifts, but Crawford manages to execute them seamlessly. This is partially due to the sturdy character-building and world-building that starts right from the beginning.
While I wasn’t a huge fan of the constant referencing of songs by the same few bands a bit too often throughout the story, Sylvia’s passion for music was a huge strong suit throughout the book. Music itself holds a lot of weight in this story- not only is it the main character’s saving grace, but it’s also the thing that ties Sylvia and Vincent together.
Sylvia’s character is deeply relatable, especially to those who have struggled with depression or hidden family secrets. I felt almost protective of her as a character from the very start, perhaps because she reminded me of a younger me. The side characters were also built out fairly strongly, with the exception of one or two very minor characters.
This book reminded me of Twilight, in both good and bad ways. Good being that it was an addictive and fast read with a mythical high school twist that keeps readers curious. Bad being that it had a really uncomfortable, detrimental power dynamic between the main character and her love interest. The power that Vincent holds over Sylvia rubbed me the wrong way and seemed incredibly unhealthy. Sylvia is sixteen, while Vincent is an immortal nineteen-year-old who claims to serve as the reason behind her gift of music. At several points throughout the story, she feels as though she is nothing without his presence and is hopeless without his guidance. Not okay, not healthy, not safe.
All in all, I really enjoyed this novel. It was a quick read and definitely pulled me out of a reading slump- something that isn’t easy to do! If there hadn’t been that uncomfortable power dynamic between Sylvia and Vincent, I probably would have rated this higher.