Book: Ignite the Stars
Author: Maura Milan
Pages: 397 (kindle edition)
Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company
Expected publication: 4th September, 2018
Everyone in the universe knows his name. Everyone in the universe fears him. But no one realizes that notorious outlaw Ia Cocha is a seventeen-year-old girl.
A criminal mastermind and unrivaled pilot, Ia has spent her life terrorizing the Olympus Commonwealth, the imperialist nation that destroyed her home. When the Commonwealth captures her and her true identity is exposed, they see Ia’s age and talent as an opportunity: by forcing her to serve them, they will prove that no one is beyond their control.
Soon, Ia is trapped at the Commonwealth’s military academy, desperately plotting 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. Can she find a way to escape the Commonwealth’s clutches before these bonds deepen?
Thank you to NetGalley and Albert Whitman & Company for providing me with a copy of Ignite the Stars. This will not have any influence on my opinion.
Can we please appreciate the cover first? Because not only do I really like it colour-wise, but there is a POC on the cover. All the thumbs up for that.
But now, let’s get to the story. Even though I needed quite a long time to get into it, I just read 3/4 of the book in one sitting because… wow. What took me so long in the beginning was that the story is told in three POVs and that each chapter is another character. That made it hard for me to get really into that character in the beginning. But the more the plot developed, the more I got to know the characters and because they all interacted with each other, it was then easy to follow their stories.
Ia certainly is one fierce character. Even though she is never described as being of Asian heritage (at least I think so?), I always imagined her that way, thanks to the cover. In the beginning we already get to know her as a killer with a good heart, even though most people only see the killer and not the good heart. When she is captured and brought to Aphelion, her enemies‘ military academy, she tries everything to escape at first. But her brother convinces her to stay and get informations. So she stays but things do not go as planned: she finds friendship and also something more.
What I liked about Ia’s chapters was her development and how she herself felt it and described it. How she went from not-caring to caring-very-much. But she stays herself through it all: sassy and brave, smart and quick.
The second POV is from Brinn, Ia’s roommate in Aphelion. She is not exactly happy about this, but she soon finds, that it isn’t all that bad, especially when Ia discovers Brinn’s secret. Slowly trust and friendship blossom between the two girls and even though this friendship has its ups and downs, it is a wonderful one. Brinn is extremely clever and so the two make a great team: Brinn the mind, Ia the fighter. Where Ia is hotheaded and talks with fists rather than her mouth, Brinn is more calm and analytical.
Brinn also gets a great character development: from being insecure, she learns and accepts who she is.
The third protagonist is knives, the Flight Master of the academy and son to a powerful General. Who is also the general who captured Ia. He does not take any shit from Ia and knows just as well where to put a fist, if necessary. Even though the two of them are constantly at each other’s throats, they too, slowly grow together. I liked his character instantly because I liked the way he thinks and the motives that get him going.
But not only the characters were amazing, the plot was as well. Even though I still have not completely understood why Ia has to attend Aphelion, I am glad she did. Because so many components come together to form their story around Ia and her associates. And those plot twists? Damn. They really got to me.
The whole book was fast paced, but especially the last 100 pages were intense and I could not get my eyes away from the pages. So much happened. I just wish I could read how the story goes on right now.
The only thing I would have liked to see more of is the general world building. The essentials were there, but I would really like to know more about how the Commonwealth works, how they treat their colonies, who and what the slaver nations are and who exactly are the criminal associates of Ia’s? And how Dark Space and normal space are interwined and work together or not?
Apart from this, I just loved everything. Even though this is a debut, it did not feel like it. The writing was great and easy to read and understand. The characters were wonderful and so was the plot. What a furious debut. Just… give me more of this.