Friday, August 18, 2017

Book Review: Before She Ignites (Fallen Isles Trilogy #1)

Release Date: September 12, 2017
Author: Jodi Meadows
Publisher: Katherine Tegan Books
Length: 496 pages
Source: Edelweiss Review Copy


Mira Minkoba is the Hopebearer. Since the day she was born, she’s been told she’s special. Important. Perfect. She’s known across the Fallen Isles not just for her beauty, but for the Mira Treaty named after her, a peace agreement which united the seven islands against their enemies on the mainland.

But Mira has never felt as perfect as everyone says. She counts compulsively. She struggles with crippling anxiety. And she’s far too interested in dragons for a girl of her station.


Then Mira discovers an explosive secret that challenges everything she and the Treaty stand for. Betrayed by the very people she spent her life serving, Mira is sentenced to the Pit–the deadliest prison in the Fallen Isles. There, a cruel guard would do anything to discover the secret she would die to protect.

No longer beholden to those who betrayed her, Mira must learn to survive on her own and unearth the dark truths about the Fallen Isles–and herself–before her very world begins to collapse.



Protagonist: For all of Mira's life she's been the Hopebringer. She's always stood for the treaty that united the Fallen Isles that was signed on the day of her birth and named after her. Then one day, she learns a secret that gets her sent to the Pit, a secret that she would take to her grave. The Pit is a dark and hopeless prison, there a cruel and sadistic guard will do anything to uncover the reason Mira was sent there. One of the things I loved about Mira is that she's flawed. At the beginning she believes everything told to her, she never questions it and while she never comes across as stuck up, she never realizes the priveledges she has, not only being the Hopebearer but also being the daughter of a rich politician. However, over the course of the book she slowly begins to develop, learning important lessons from her new comrades in prison, and going through things no one should have to endure, she'll come out stronger, and while she's still flawed, her development is remarkable and exciting.

World Building: This world revolves around the Fallen Isles and the mythology associated with the islands. I'm a huge mythology buff and even though this isn't based on classic mythologies, at least as far as I can tell, the mythology t the author created for this world is still as captivating and rich as if she had. I loved learning about how this world works, or at the very least how the denizens of this world believe it to work, and of the various gifts given by the gods of this world. I was kind of saddened that even though dragons are a key plot element, they didn't show up as much as I was expecting. This entire world was, more or less, perfectly crafted for this first installment, however, there are still a great many things I hope to learn more about in the future, particularly one island's people that were rarely if ever, mentioned past the prologue.

Predictability: The writing and plot structure for this book were also well crafted. There's a certain formula to YA books where if you know what to look for you can pretty much guess how at least sixty-five percent of the book is going to go. However, in this story, I couldn't detect traces of the YA formula. I mean, sure there are things that with most books are a given, but I had next to no idea where this story was going to go. I mean, I felt like I was flying completely blind with this book and I was so excited to see where this book would take me next.

Ending: The ending, well, the ending I sort of guessed. I mean, it doesn't take a formula to figure out roughly what will happen toward the end of this book. Still, it was an exciting and exhilarating ride the whole way through. This story ends much the same way most first books in series do. There wasn't a huge cliffhanger or anything. However, it didn't quite plateau out as much as I hoped it would. I'm clamoring for the next book in this series, there are so many questions brought up at the end of this book that I need to be answered ASAP and unfortunately with this book not even released yet, the wait for book 2 is going to be killer.


I wasn't quite sure what rating to give this book, but after writing this review I know it deserves five glorious and brightly burning stars. The pacing can be a bit slow in parts, but that doesn't last long and the book as a whole is a fantastic story in a brilliantly crafted world.


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