Monday, September 4, 2017

Dragons & Deception • Before She Ignites

Before She Ignites book cover
Before I can even start talking about Before She Ignites, I must tell you why I wanted this book so badly after I first heard about it. It all boils down to two things: 1) this fantasy novel has dragons and 2) it’s written by Jodi Meadows, who is one of my favorite authors. It was this combination of factors that put the book on my radar, and I’m pleased to report that this latest novel from Meadows did not disappoint.

Mira Minkoba is known in the Fallen Isles as the Hopebearer, a beautiful young girl for whom the Mira Treaty – a peace agreement uniting the seven islands against the mainland – is named. But when Mira discovers a secret that challenges everything she believes in, everything changes. Mira is betrayed by the people she serves and sentenced to the Pit, the deadliest prison in the Fallen Isles. Armed only with her memories, her knowledge and her sheer determination, it’s up to Mira to survive and figure out the truth about herself and the Fallen Isles before her entire world falls apart.

Ladies and gentlemen, we have another excellent novel to add to Jodi’s current line-up! Before She Ignites told in two timelines – “Before” (any moment prior to Mira’s incarceration) and “After” (any moment after Mira is thrown into the Pit) – which works incredibly well here. I appreciated how “Before” let me get to know Mira prior to her imprisonment, and how it answered any questions that arose about her circumstances and personality. But I equally appreciated how “After” lent a sense of urgency to the tale, and gave us a chance to see how much Mira had changed after the discovery of the truth and the betrayal of the people she worked with. Compulsively readable, as Jodi’s work usually is, it was nearly impossible for me to set down the story once I’d started it.

It also helped that I liked Mira right off the bat. She starts out being uncertain of herself, used to being what she needs to be based on what other people have told her. But when her fortunes change, and she is forced to either toughen up or give up, well, Mira slowly starts to grow into herself. Her self-discovery reveals her inner strength, clever mind and true capabilities, and I loved seeing her character growth as the story went on. Her friendships were also well-done, both established (with her friend Ilina and bodyguard Hristo) and new (with her cellmates Aaru and Gerel), and were another thing I enjoyed.

If I were to mention any reservations at all, I can think of only two. First, we have very limited world-building, as the bulk of this novel is set in the Pit (with a few exceptions). And second, there were not nearly enough dragons in the book (in my humble opinion). I do feel confident that Meadows will remedy this in the novels to come, however, as Mira continues her journey.

All in all, Before She Ignites is another engaging novel from author Jodi Meadows, featuring a wonderful main protagonist that I found it all too easy to root for. I can’t wait to read the next novel in this series, and discover just what happens next to Mira and company!


Before She Ignites by Jodi Meadows | Series: Fallen Isles Trilogy #1
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books | Publication Date: September 12, 2017
Source: e-galley downloaded from Edelweiss (Thanks!)
Buy the Book: Book Depository | Amazon | IndieBound

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