Happy Saturday, everyone!
I’m participating in the blog tour for the amazing Jenna Terese’s debut novel, Ignite! You all have heard me talk about Ignite before, and, as you can see from the little graphic on my sidebar, it’s been my honor to be an Avenger during the process of Ignite‘s release. (Maybe I should fashion a shield for myself. Or build a full-body suit.) I’m here today to tell you exactly why you should read this fantastic, unique superhero novel. (And if you didn’t happen to read my cover reveal post last month, well…go look up the cover. Because that cover alone should convince you to track down a copy of Ignite.)
I can’t even tell you how excited I was about this book. I’ve been following the author since the story’s birth, which means I’ve been breathlessly waiting for at least two years. So I internally squealed several decibels above my normal level when I was able to read a shiny, shiny ARC! And…wow. Wow. It did not disappoint!
What if superhumans weren’t considered heroes?
When Scarlett Marley is attacked by an illegal super with fire powers, she doesn’t get burned, but now she has a fire-like glow flickering in her eyes.
With superpowers criminalized, she has no choice but to turn herself over to the Superhuman Containment Facility, or risk hurting everyone she loves.
Her normal life seems lost forever, until she is selected to be one of the first to receive the experimental cure to destroy her powers. In exchange, she must first complete one mission:
Infiltrate and capture one of the largest gangs of supers in the remains of once-great Rapid City.
With the cure and all her future at stake, Scarlett is prepared to do whatever it takes to bring these criminals to justice so she can return to her family. But this gang and their leader, Rez, aren’t what everyone says, and Scarlett begins to question everything she was ever told about the SCF and the fire flowing in her veins.
The cure is her only hope for returning her life to what it was before, but is that life worth returning to after all?-Synopsis for Ignite by Jenna Terese
(If that synopsis has you wanting to read this book ASAP, click on this handy little link to go to the book’s purchase page!)
- The writing. Jenna is so talented. Her prose was excellent, and the writing engaged me deeply in the story.
- The characters. Characters are definitely one of the most important parts of any story. And these three-dimensional characters did not disappoint. Each of these people has a distinct personality and distinct internal conflict that powers the story. As the novel progressed, the character development emerged clearly as the characters moved along their arcs. I especially love Ares, the reserved boy with ice powers, and Ivon, the fiercely loyal friend. (Yes, I am a proud member of the #aresfanclub. Can we make an #ivonfanclub, too?) Rez is pretty great, as well; the wise and kind characters are always favorites of mine. (#rezfanclub #rezmustbeprotected) And although Dr. Bailey was on the wrong side, he was so well-written, and I found myself sympathizing with him despite his actions. (#givethismanahug)
- The plot. Oh, goodness, this unique, intriguing plot! And the conflict! So. Much. Conflict. (You know how there are stories where you cringe and are like, “don’t do it, don’t do it, no, don’t do it!”? And then they do it?) Every part of this story created a unique situation for the characters to face instead of reverting back to the typical formula used in so many modern superhero stories. I loved it. This ties into the fact that I loved…
- …the imaginative spin on superheroes. Flipping the typical “hero and villain” roles and painting the supers as the villains was so creative! The societal stigmas everyone had about supers created a world so different from the typical “superhero world.” Also, having two main characters with opposite powers that don’t mesh well was an intriguing touch!
- The pacing. This goes along with the plot section. I flipped pages (well, digital pages) as fast as possible. Pacing is something I pay special attention to in stories, since I’ve read so many and written so many where sections drag. In Ignite, the pacing was excellent. I was riveted from page one.
- The settings. South Dakota was a wonderful choice for this story; I’ve hardly seen any superhero stories set in the Midwest. Although the settings were mostly touched on, not dwelt on, every picture painted by my imagination was vivid. Also, every setting had a specific role to play in the story; it wasn’t just random description.
- The themes. This, besides the characters, is what I love the most about this story. Revealed as the characters grew and changed, there were such beautiful themes of trusting our God who doesn’t make mistakes, being yourself, and doing the right thing despite what everyone else says is right.
“Be yourself, Scarlett. All of yourself.”-Nadia, Ignite
- Crynn. Although she was interesting, I found her role in the story a little abrupt. She appeared, played her part, and then kind of disappeared. I’m really hoping we get more of her in book two, Embers, because I have Questions.
- Seth. Don’t get me wrong; I liked Seth. But his personality struck me as a little abstract; he had a ton of mood swings. His internal conflict was very well done, but I found myself trying to figure out exactly what his personality was. (I do know, though, that his mood swings play a part in his conflict, so I’ll wait until Embers to see how his story resolves.)
- The villain situation. I was confused about exactly why the villains were bad? That sounds horrible, because I know that they were bad and that they were doing bad things. But it didn’t seem like either Dr. Bailey or…someone I will not say because of spoilers were actually the main villains. It felt like there was someone behind the monitoring cameras at the SCF pulling the strings, but we never found out who. I was hoping for at least a little explanation, or at least some hints, of who exactly the villains were.
- The explanation of Scarlett’s new fire powers. I was waiting the entire book for an explanation of why Scarlett received fire powers from her run-in with the illegal super, but…I never got one. I know that more answers are forthcoming in Embers, though, so I’ll reserve my judgment until after I read it. And I am willing to suspend my disbelief a little, because let’s face it: fire powers are incredibly cool.
- The fact that we have to wait for Embers to come out…oh, wait. That doesn’t count. Haha. I’m kidding, of course. But..but JENNA. WE HAVE TO WAIT FOR EMBERS! I have many Questions that need Answers right now. Thank you.
I also will admit that I was expecting a little more action since it is a superhero story, after all. It’s not at all a bad thing that there wasn’t, though, since superhero stories do sometimes skimp on the character development, and this story excelled at that. I also would have enjoyed a little more description of what year this story takes place in; it seemed to be contemporary but at the same time futuristic…? That’s a very minor thing, though.
There’s some mild violence and a bit of blood, along with some some disturbing “medical violence” (descriptions of injections with a detrimental serum). Overall, though, there are hardly any content issues at all. I’d say Ignite is probably appropriate for readers 12 or 13+, in keeping with its YA status.
Would I Recommend It?
Why do I even still have this category here? Yes! For sure! Absolutamente! Ignite is a well-written, imaginative superhero debut with three-dimensional characters and beautiful themes. The author really loves her story, and that shines through in her writing. If you’re a speculative-fiction fan, especially a superhero fan, you’ll love the enthralling and creative prose comprising this novel. Like I said before, I think readers ages 12 or 13 and up will love Ignite, and I give it four out of five (4/5) stars. (Or should I do four out of five fire emojis?)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Jenna Terese believes stories are powerful. That’s why she’s dedicated to creating fiction that will impact the world. You can find this INFP dreaming about the future, fangirling over her favorite books, geeking out about Marvel, playing piano, or sipping a chai tea latte as she writes sci-fi novels.
The Ignite blog tour runs the entire month of July; check out the gorgeous graphic below for a lineup of all the lovely bloggers participating in the tour! (You can click on the picture to go to the page on Jenna’s blog with all the links.)
Have a lovely rest of your weekend, everyone! (Oh, and read Ignite! *grins*)
Have you read Ignite yet? If not, are you adding it to your TBR? And isn’t that cover gorgeous? So fiery and fitting for the story! Are you a superhero fan? Let’s chat in the comments!