The notorious outlaw Ia Cocha is a seventeen-year-old girl, and she’s spent her life terrorizing the Olympus Commonwealth, the imperialist nation that destroyed her home. But when she’s captured and her identity is exposed, the Commonwealth takes Ia’s age and talent as an opportunity for her to serve them and prove that no one is beyond their control.
Trapped at the Commonwealth’s military academy, Ia desperately plots her escape. But new acquaintances—including Brinn, a seemingly average student with a closely-held secret, and their charming Flight Master, Knives—cause Ia to question her own alliances.
I’ve been rendered speechless from this book. Because WOW.
So rarely do books that I hype up in my mind actually live up to the ridiculously high standards I make for them, but Ignite the Stars ignited an explosion and blew me all the way past the stars.
Literally. The notes section of my phone for this book looks like this:
So I was obviously very articulate the minute after reading it. BUT IT WAS JUST SO GOOD.
I mean, Ia, the Blood Wolf, the Asian (!!!) seventeen-year-old who’s doing way more amazing things than I am right now, was such a cool character and quite the badass with a decent moral compass (y’know, for a murderer). So many people will love her and she definitely pulled some very cool (and very wily) moves throughout the story.
But I really loved Brinn the most.
Brinn was the real star of the novel in my mind. In the novel, the Tawnies have blue hair and are typically refugees of the Olympus Commonwealth who’ve been greatly discriminated against. And the way Brinn grew throughout the novel–first going to great lengths to hide her blue hair and fit in with her peers, then to finally accepting herself and her identity and most importantly, her people–was the greatest struggle and greatest triumph of this novel.
So many multicultural teens these days struggle with accepting their identity, and although nobody’s #OwnVoices for Brinn (blue hair, remember?) her story is something that so many people will be able to relate to. How many times have I felt ashamed of my culture and tried to hide it? More times than I should be.
I really connected with Brinn and the way she accepted her heritage was really inspiring to me, and something that I found to be one of the most important storylines in this novel.
Not gonna lie, I was low key shipping Brinn and Ia, but Knives is cool too. I feel like there’s a lot more of his character left to explore than any of the other narrators, so I’m very excited to see what Milan does with him in book 2!
Honestly, the star of the show (after Brinn, of course) was the action. The action was so smooth and engaging and never felt stuttered or just lame. The whole book was entertaining, honestly, and I found the dialogue smooth and the conflict with deliciously high stakes.
Plus, the betrayals were awesome, although I feel like I expected some of the twists. But it felt okay to me because of how it exposed Ia’s character flaws, which was nice to see that she’s not the perfect murderess.
I do have to note that the tradition begun by Battlestar Galactica continues in Ignite the Stars. Fictional curse words (think Across the Universe or LIFEL1K3, not the benign “stars” in The Lunar Chronicles) are present.
(Honestly, I prefer fiction curse words in circumstances like these rather than modern curse words, because it makes no sense whatsoever why this other star system would use our modern curse words. Curse words change throughout centuries (i.e. zounds), so why would they not change across light years?)
And it’s not like the curse words are totally ridiculous. I believe one is “mung” which is used in the same way as “shit,” and it makes sense (not only because it rhymes with dung, but also because sometimes I just dislike mung beans).
Overall, I just had such a fun time reading this awesome and super entertaining novel. Plus, the gorgeous model on the cover doesn’t make it hurt (and she actually looks like what I envision Ia looks like, so that’s also really really great).
I definitely recommend to anyone who loves science fiction or who just wants to pick up an awesome book in general? Yeah, you.
Thank you so much to Albert Whitman @ BookCon and Netgalley for providing me with an advance reader’s copy in exchange for an honest review!
Are you excited for Ignite the Stars? It comes out THIS TUESDAY!!!