Third review for today. The rest of this series will come next week. Only, so that I can have less of an overload for all of you. See you next week for the rest of this series!
Customary warning: This is a reminder that these are my personal opinions. My thoughts and feelings are not your thoughts and feelings. I may not always be the target audience for a book; sometimes I am. If I do not like a book, that doesn’t mean you’ll dislike it. If I love a book or simply like a book, you may hate it. Take everything I say with this knowledge. If it sounds interesting to you despite what I’ve said, then go ahead and read it. You’ll only know you like something if you read it yourself.
That being said… Spoilers ahead.
Before She Ignites by Jodi Meadows
Synopsis From The Book
Mira has always been a symbol of hope for the Fallen Isles, perfect and beautiful—or at least that’s how she’s forced to appear. But when she uncovers a dangerous secret, Mira is betrayed by those closest to her and sentenced to the deadliest prison in the Fallen Isles.
Except Mira is over being a pawn. Fighting to survive against outer threats and inner demons of mental illness, Mira must find her inner fire and the scorching truth about her own endangered magic—before her very world collapses.
And that’s all before she ignites.
Initial Thoughts Before Reading:
I’ve been holding this book for so long. Ever since I found it in a used bookstore, actually. I’m excited to dive in. I flipped through and the writing is large (font wise) and the margins are large too. This book is nearly 500 pages, but I don’t think it will take me more than 3hrs to read.
Initial Thoughts After Reading:
Wow. Somehow I had thought this book was about shifters in a way. It is not. It is diverse and rich with characters in a way I had not anticipated. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. I can not wait to dive into books 2 and books 3.
The book begins with speaking about the Mira Treaty, a treaty named after a girl, in order to unite seven islands together. We then go to Mira, the girl the treaty was named for, traveling and giving speeches. She is beautiful. She is loved. She is delicate, proper, and kind. And then we cut to the day this girl, the idol and hope of her people, is dragged into the top secure prison of the seven islands called The Pit.
In the pit, Mira is watched by Altan. He wants to know her secrets. She meets Tirta and Gerel, as well as other prisoners, but it is Aaru who captures her attention. When she thinks all hope is lost her first night, he speaks to her. He is from the island that worships silence and he teaches her a code (like morse code). They begin to speak to each other in that way, and they find solace in each other.
Altan demands answers from Mira, resorting to torturing her to get them. First he locks her in darkness with no food or water for four days. Then he takes Aaru and torchers him in front of her. She gives him information both times. Soon she is dragged back up to the surface for the Council that tossed her there wants to use her. She doesn’t let them, and because of it she ends up being tossed back in with her two best friends from the surface.
Altan tries to get information out of her again, saying she lied. She did not, but he doesn’t believe her, so he sets a dragon on her friends. She repeats the facts. The dragons are being taken and given to the Empire. And they are taking noorestones (stones that give off heat and light but are cool to the touch) to the Empire to power the Empire’s ships across the ocean to conquer the islands. He tells her that they already have been. That the Treaty, in her name, was made in order to make them subjected to the Empire’s laws and now the Empire was coming to collect, but the moving of the dragons was bringing about the end of their islands. She and Atlan fight; she nearly kills him. Mira saves her friends but almost blows up in the process. She is saved by Aaru, who uses his power to silence the power trying to destroy her. They all escape to the surface, knowing they must save their home.
What I Liked:
Mira; I can’t wait to see how she grows. Mira is scared, and a child. She is naive, and dainty. However, she is turning into a hardened fighter, and learning to use the gifts and knowledge impossed on her, for her own ability. I give her major props. She’s doing well and I can’t wait to see how she continues to evolve. I think it’s important to note that she doesn’t do a 180. She is still scared, naive, childish, but she is growing and that growth is organic.
Aaru; The boy of silence who captured my heart like he captured Mira’s. I can’t wait to learn more about his past. He was Mira’s anchor more so than anything else. He is smart, and deliberate with his words.
Gerel; She’s spunky and I like her. I really want to know what exactly she did to end up in the Pit, and I hope that she becomes a powerful battle commander.
Hristo; For the little we got of him, his loyalty is endearing. I hope he doesn’t grow jealous of Aaru, because he swore he’d never love Mira. I hope that he stays only protecting her. I don’t want her to have the drama of losing such a close ally because of jealousy.
Ilina; She’s sweet, kind, daring, and smart (as can be seen, from the fact that she bribed her way to find Mira). I can’t wait to see how she grows as a person, away from her own safety net.
Altan; I empathize with him and hate him all at the same time. His motives are clear, and his actions are not just. As a villain he works really well because of this. I want to believe in his redemption, because I do not believe he is a bad person.
Tirta; Her twist of being an enemy was not so surprising when I thought about it. However, I did like the twist. In the plot Mira has so many enemies and only few friends, and having another enemy as (soon to be, I hope) complex as Tirta, only adds to the politics of the story. I also hope she will be redeemed.
Code; The use of morse code (or this books’ equivalent) was wonderful to have and read. I appreciated this.
Culture; The culture of this book is rich. We have gods. We have different cultures on the islands. We have religious teachings on each island, and beliefs in the Treaty. We have history, and we have political drama. In the pages that we get the details of this all, it is jam packed with information. This is when Mira is thinking back, in the past, with character’s speaking of events, or at the banquet that Mira fights against. We get so much, organically and quickly, that I understood most of the cultures relatively well.
Dragons; This part of the book surprised me. There are different species. There are habitats for them. And there is a whole prophecy about their destruction that will end the islands. They exist but so far and few between, that I was surprised. They are idolized, loved, and said to be the children of the gods. I loved the culture surrounding the dragons, and how Mira can talk to them.
What I Would Have Liked or Changed:
A bit more information on the other islands not mentioned, not too much but just a little to know more about them.
Time Taken To Read
“There is strength in silence” – Aaru