Ignite the Stars

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 15 Dec 2019

Member Reviews

Ignite the Stars satisfied my venture into sci-fi with a military flight academy, a very slow burn enemies-to-lovers romance, and snarky defiant characters.

Ia Cocha is the most wanted criminal throughout the galaxy and she is captured by the Commonwealth who had destroyed her home planet. As she tries to come to terms with her new schooling situation and how her criminal deeds causes her to be the most feared and hated student, Ia figures out how she fits into one of the most prestigious academies in the Commonwealth.

Told from multiple POVs, this sci-fi is filled with action and witty banter:
- Ia is our main character who is snarky and has very great fighting skills alongside being one of the best pilots in the galaxy. 
- Brinn is uncertain of her identity and where she belongs in the Commonwealth. She's different from the other students due to her outstanding intellect. 
- Knives is the youngest instructor at the academy and he is unsure of how to handle Ia. He goes on his own journey of questioning the morals of the Commonwealth and whether things are not what they seem to be.

This debut novel from Maura Milan, is not only very well-written, it includes themes of race/species, familial love, and female friendship. I was pleasantly surprised with this book with how good it was! It captured my attention right from the beginning. The attention to detail was great and the introduction to a new world didn't feel convoluted.
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I've been seeing a lot of good reviews about this book since it was released last year and now that it's sequel is already scheduled for publishing next month, I finally decided to go with this space adventure.

The first thing that got my interest with this book is because the author, Maura Milan, is a Filipino author and I loooooove reading works by Filipino authors, be it own voices our not.

In Ignite the Stars, Maura delivered a strong and unique storyline focusing on Ia Cõcha, a teen girl space badass known for her sabotaging works against the Commonwealth. But her arrest led to a more complicated territory wars in space resulting to an upcoming war if the issue was not resolved. With her plan to escape the Commonwealth plan on transforming her into a unstoppable cadet of their government, Ia wasted no time in planning a step ahead and doing her best in working hand-in-hand with her brother, Einn Galantin, so she can return to All Black and be the infamous Blood Wolf of the Skies again. But things became different as Ia starts to learn the reality of the universe, with her failed escape plan and an upcoming intergalactic decimation from an unknown force, Ia had to choose on which side she should battle with.

This book seriously gave me Legend (by Marie Lu) vibes and I honestly love that series that's why I also devoured this read in two sittings. I can see Ia Cõcha's grit and determination similar to Daniel Altan Wing, and with that, I was completely sold. The storyline never lacked of action and intense scenes that'll surely make you flip the pages more and more. 

I also love that this one was set in space and as far as I can remember, this is the only YA sci-fi I read that happened in this type of setting and Ignite the Stars did not disappoint. Though there were some points in the plot that you need to read twice and convince that this is doable since I'm reading a fictional story, the entirety of the book was enjoyable, overall.

Moreover, Maura writing this one with a strong and powerful girl as her MC was a plus one for me as well since we need more stories featuring badass girls and of course, Ia Cõcha did not disappoint too. Her skills in fighting and intergalactic battles is truly unquestionable and I need more of this story that's why I'm jumping forward to Eclipse the Skies tomorrow. But for now, ciao.

RATING: 4stars
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This is the sort of book I live for. A 17 year old Asian girl who's actually a criminal mastermind and has the entire galaxy fooled? A biracial girl trying to come to terms with both sides of her heritage? And then also Knives. He was cool too. The point is, I live for angry female protagonists like Ia especially when they are total badasses in space. I loved the story and the slow building of friendship between Ia and Brinn. It was well written and believable as was the world Milan created. I'll definitely be reading the sequel too once it's out.
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As you may have noticed, I'm on a sci-fi kick this August and I have not been disappointed. Ignite the Stars is everything you want in a sci-fi adventure. It has badass, diverse characters, a female friendship that I love and most importantly, slow-burn romance. 

I admit I was slow to like this book. The writing is a little choppy and I'm not a fan of the weird curse words (they don't really fit the world for me), but around halfway through it really picked up. Ignite the Stars is definitely a character-driven book. I loved the premise and the Commonwealth space setting. 

The book touches on a lot of current issues, such as colonisation and refugees, present in our world. I enjoyed watching the characters navigate the world and see that things were not always as clear cut as we would like them to be.

First off, let's talk about Ia. She's a badass good guy with a dark side and I love it. She's confident in who she is and I love that about her. She has some things to learn, but I love how scary she is. 

Brinn was my favourite character though. I loved her journey to self-acceptance and I can't wait to see where her story goes. 

Knives was also a favourite character, and I loved the romance between him and Ia. It's slow-burn but definitely worth it. Found family stories are my favourite, and this one definitely ranks high on the list.
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Everyone in the universe knows the outlaw Ia Cocha and fears him. One thing they don't know is that Ia is actually a seventeen year old girl. In reality she is a top notch pilot and a criminal mastermind who has spent her entire life terrorizing the imperalist Commonwealth that destroyed her home. When Ia gets caught by the Commonwealth, they see the truth of her identity as an opportunity. They will force her to serve them and prove once and for all that no one beyond their control. Before long, Ia is stuck plotting her escape at a Commonwealth military academy. Her new acquaintances, though, Brinn and Knives, cause Ia to begin to question her own alliances.
Overall, Ignite the Stars by Maura Milan is a decent YA sci-fi debut. I had really high expectations going in, especially since my friend raced to no end about this book, and it didn't quite live up to them. All things considered, though, it's a great first effort
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So what drew me to this was that the protagonist was Asian. Yay! Something different for once. Not only that, but she was a bad ass. Someone even claimed that this was throne of glass but set I. Space, as a huge lover of throne go glass, that works for me. No complaints.

 
I enjoyed all of the characters. La was a badass and I appreciate that, Brinn was interesting to explore because she grew throughout the book. I did feel like Knives was lacking, there is still much of him that needs exploring, 

The action was definitely fluid and engaging and never felt rocky or or just outright lame. The entire book was entertaining to be hones, and I found the dialogue very smooth and the conflict accompanied with amazingly high stakes.

Also, the betrayals kept me on my toes, although I feel like I was able to uncover some of the twists. But it felt alright because of how it exposed Ia's character flaws, which was nice to see that she's not the perfect murderess.
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Ignite the Stars by Maura Milan is a great science fiction story! I loved everything about it! The main character was so amazing
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While I bought this book the day it came out (September 2018), the publisher on NetGalley granted my wish for Ignite the Stars (albeit a year later), so thank you! If anything, it just pushed this book up to the top of my mountain, and I am glad for it.

What a stunning debut! With the description of the book, I have only one disappointment: I was drawn to the fact that everyone thought the notorious space outlaw, I.A. Cōcha, was a man, but is actually a teenage girl. My favorite trope is the whole girl-dressed-as-a-guy-but-nobody-knows. I was hoping this would be played through a good chunk of the novel, but alas, everyone finds out I. A. Cōcha is a girl, and it's Ia, pronounced "eye-yah." Despite this slight disappointment, the book is so amazing, that it definitely doesn't need my favorite trope to carry it home.

Ia has finally been captured by the Olympus Commonwealth, the main governance in her intergalactic society. She is given an option: rot in a prison for life, or join the Star Force Academy. When she doesn't offer the answer they want, she has an implant placed around her heart. With the press of a button, her heart can be pushed to its near-limit, causing severe pain, but not death. No, they don't want to kill her. Someone of Ia's brilliance would make for an excellent addition to the Olympus Commonwealth.

Ia, ending up at the Star Force Academy pretty much against her will, decides to make her flight commander, Knives, her other professors, and the cadets, including her Tawny roommate Brinn, absolutely miserable. (Nobody knows Brinn is Tawny because she dies her natural navy blue hair brown to hide her heritage. People don't like Tawnies for a number of reasons).

Each cadet must take preliminary exams to be placed in either flight, comms, or engineering. Of course, everybody wants to be in flight because they can fly the ships. Ia is brilliant in a starcraft, but despite being above everyone else in flight skill, there's no way they would place a criminal in the seat of a jet, just to escape. The Academy is one of the most impenetrable places. No ins or outs without authorization. No way to communicate with her brother, unless she can change her ways, be manipulative, and pretend she's having a blast at the Academy. 

Eventually, Ia slowly gains Brinn's trust and is able to use Brinn's communicator to share Academy information with her brother, which will have dire repercussions. Ia is also befriending Knives, a person of high standing who also happens to hold the button to painfully clench her heart. Despite what Ia wants, she becomes to see her roommate and the flight commander as people she might actually care about.

As the reader learns more about Ia, even from the first chapter, we root for her because we can see what she believes she is doing is justified, especially when it comes to helping refugees who are being treated poorly by the Commonwealth. The war is not over, and while her classmates see her as the one who killed their family members in this battle or that battle, they don't know the truth is often hidden and skewed by those in power.

A powerful novel that is everything I want in something space-related: space politics, space academy, flying, technology, possible romance, bad ass chick who everyone thought was a dude who has committed major crimes (for good, but no one sees it that way) and instead of death or prison, they force her into the academy to become one of the people she loathes. It's great ! 

The writing style is perfect, the chapters--told from the perspectives of Ia, Knives, and Brinn--are exquisitely short, making for a fast read, and the pacing is just right to keep the tension alive. I highly recommend this book to young readers seeking space adventure, young readers who like to look to the rebel in themselves, and anyone interested in a book that takes place in space. While this is a YA novel, the political and real-world aspects within the world of the novel have a heavy pull to them, fleshing out the world and the characters, and really igniting the drive to care about these characters and their universe.

Annnnd....book two (Eclipse the Skies) awaits!
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Ignite the Stars reminds me of Ender’s Game mixed with a contemporary high school drama. It’s a bit weird, but it works. There are tons of cool space stuff and interesting world (galaxy?) building with the various aliens and the oppression of certain races. I like the premise and all the threads that weave the story together. Some of the plot is a bit predictable, though, and I felt at times there was more to be desired as I read.

The characters are interesting. I like the friendship that develops between Ia and Brinn, and how they help each other become equals. Ia learns to be less cruel and Brinn learns to be brave.

The romance, despite being slow-burn, is a bit sappy. I mean, it’s totally obvious Ia and Knives are going to have a thing, but I appreciate that it isn’t an immediate insta-love-I-want-to-make-out-with-you-the-second-I-meet-you kind of romance. It takes it’s good ole time to get there, but it gets there. Plus, Knives is more complicated than he originally seems, which is great in a love interest. He has that whole “Han Solo” vibe going for him.

Overall, Ignite the Stars is a good blend of exciting action sequences and relationship development. While it hits on several issues from oppression and immigration to criminals and government control, a lot of it is only surface level and doesn’t dig deep into these issues as other science-fiction books do. Instead, it’s an easy read for someone looking for action and a dash of romance. There is a sequel to Ignite the Stars and the book does end on a major cliffhanger, so I am looking forward to reading the next book.
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This book really caught me by surprise. I went into this with low expectations. I really loved the characters, especially the relationship between Ia & Brinn. The story really kept me at the edge of my seat. The storyline about the refugees was very well done, very similar to what's going on in the world right now. I can't wait to read book 2.
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Ignite the Stars is the first installment in author Maura Milan's Ignite the Stars series. Ia Cocha is known as the Sovereign of Dead Space, the Rogue of the Fringe Planets, and the Blood Wolf of the Skies. She is the most dangerous criminal in the Olympus Commonwealth. It isn't until she surrenders to save a group of Tawny that people come to realize she's a seventeen-year-old girl. Ia is given zero choices by her captor. She can spend the next 120 years doing hard labor at a penal colory, or 20 years with the Royal Star Force. 

The catch is that they put an implant in her head so that if she attempts to escape, she won't get very far. The one thing that I can respect from Ia's character is that she may have done some horrible things in the past, but she's done so because the Commonweath doesn't care for anyone who is in the miniority. She's even gone as far as planning stunning victories over the Commonwealth. Ia, who left her own crew behind, is determined to escape from the school.  Ia's capture encourages many to join the Royal Star Force to defend their ideals. 

Brinn Tarver is one of those who is inspired to join the RSF. But Brinn has a secret. She is a member of one of those despised minorities. She is half-Tawny though her father is a citizen. Since the Tawny are known for their blue hair, Brinn has been dying hers brown for years. They are also know for their intelligence and Brinn has been deliberately shooting for average in all of her school classes. But, while Brinn is dealing with her own trials and tribulations, prejudices escalate in the Commonwealth against refugees.

Brinn and Ia's relationship is one of many, many twists, and turns and distrusts until they finally start to understand each other. Brinn has bought into the Commonwealth's prejudice and hatred of Ia, and Ia, has no clue who Brinn really is, or what she has been hiding from everyone. When all is said and done, Brinn and Ia make a formidable team. Brinn is the brians, Ia has the experience having had more real world challenges and being labeled as the Commonwealth's number one most hated person. But, Ia also has a come to reality moment that I am sure will be addressed in the next installment.

The third characters view point is that of Knives Adams. Since graduating, he has turned down any and all avenues of promotion. He is content to be the youngest flight master ever at the Aphelion Space Academy. Knives's father has tasked him with keeping Ia prisoner. They have no clue what Ia is actually capable of once she sets her mind on a task. Knives is a free spirt in many ways. He has his own ship which he loves to use to get away. Plus, he's nothing like his famous father. I also appreciated that the author let's readers understand why Knives doesn't want to be like his father.

While I liked the story well enough, it didn't quite get to the level that I expect from science fiction novels. Especially when you are attempting to compare your story to Throne of Glass. In fact, it is fair to say that it isn't until the final chapters of this book, that I didn't feel like I had to reduce my rating any further. Also, it definitely gave me hopes that the author's sequel to this story will be better with more action.
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Ignite the Stars exemplified great representation for the underrated Asian community in the literature world. The protagonist, who originally is disguised as a boy, proves that even though she is petite, she is witty and should not be underestimated. The plot itself was a little slow and I didn’t understand Brinn’s importance in the story outside of being our protagonist’s friend (until the end very end of course, but the end? Really?). There were times I even skimmed over Brinn’s parts because I found them to be so unnecessary to the storyline. Outside of that, I loved the end plot twist. It was predicted but I was still surprised about the betrayal because I was so caught up in the story. The writing was excellent and it’s hard these days to find a good YA book that is also well-written. I appreciated that. I wish I could give this book 5 stars but Brinn and the occasional slowness is stopping me.
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*sobs in asian*

this was EVERYTHING I expected and more. I love the cover so much, even the vague and general space nebula background behind the model.

Ignite the Stars was the manifestation of everything I’ve wanted in a sci-fi novel: 
→ a badass Asian protagonist
→ a found family
→ a slow-burn-as-hell romance
→ subtle current-day political themes

Seriously, Ia is amazing and she knows it.

Also, why was this pitched as Throne of Glass in space? This has a similar premise, but the plot goes in a very different direction?? (If you don't like this because it's pitched as Throne of Glass, let it be known that this is a lot more diverse!)

Sure, she killed people, but those people had killed hundreds before she got her hands on them. It was a bloody, bone-breaking kind of justice, but it was still justice.

Ia is a teenage outlaw who’s basically ruthless and untrusting of anyone except her brother. She’s like Kaz but in female, Asian form and in space. And YOU BET she goes through an arc where she finds friends that won’t betray her. 💯👍🏼💯 

Brinn is hiding the fact that she’s half-Tawny, part of a widely discriminated against group, by dying her hair brown from its natural shade of blue. She’s basically a freaking genius and I love the subtle political theme behind her patriotism vs. her identity.

Knives has a weird as hell name, but I still love him nonetheless. He’s an instructor at the space academy that literally just wants to lay low and do the bare minimum until Ia is thrown in his face, aka the most relatable character ever.

This story starts with Ia being captured by the Olympus Commonwealth who decide that the best idea to deal with her is to have her train as a cadet for their military. (The Olympus Commonwealth colonizes a ton, btw.)

Ia decides that she'll pretend to go along with this training, but she would gather information to try and break out. She ends up being roommates with Brinn, our half-Tawny. 

This was really refreshing as a science-fiction because unlike a lot more common science-fictions set in space, this still has many touches of the current world; like the presence of mass media as well the heavier themes of colonization. I feel that a lot of fans of Starflight would really enjoy this book. 


Her eyes narrowed at him. One day, he would realize that deadly things also come in small packages.

Honestly, this had a fairly shaky beginning but by the ninth chapter/around 60 pages I was completely invested in the storyline, the characters, and their relationships. 

The romance wasn’t a huge plot point as much as our plot was about our characters learning to accept each others/themselves but I still really enjoyed reading it!

I want to talk about the growing friendship between Ia and Brinn because it’s my favorite thing on. this. earth. Ia helps Brinn get in touch with her identity as a Tawny by teaching her things she didn’t even know about herself, like their abilities. Ia encourages Brinn to love the Tawny part of herself and I just? 💕💕💖💖💞💕💓💞💓

And then Brinn helps Ia care for others and stays by Ia’s side even through Ia’s personal problems and I just? 💕💕💖💖💞💕💓💞💓💕💕💖💖💞💕💓💞💓

The character development and relationships are seriously the highlight of this entire book and make up for the less original plotline/premise!! (...I saw the plot twist coming from the first chapter.)

She'd go along with being a cadet for now, until they'd all forgotten about the Blood Wolf within their ranks. Once their defenses were down, only then would she flash her teeth.


I loved the political theme centering around Brinn’s identity as a Tawny. Brinn tries to deny herself being half-Tawny not just by dying her hair, but by pretending as if it doesn’t matter/doesn’t exist. I could really connect to this narrative (even though I’m not biracial), and I’m sure so many other readers will too. 

There’s a moment in the book where she tries to convince herself that even though she’s Tawny, she wouldn’t be discriminated and then there’s a sinking feeling in her gut that she would be; I feel like this will be a very important book to many people. 

This book has a lot of discussion about patriotism; Brinn feels proud for the Olympus Commonwealth and feels extremely patriotic about the military while her family doesn’t understand how she can care so much for a place that doesn’t care for her. When she meets Ia, she feels disillusioned as she discovers that the Olympus isn’t as lawful and good as it claims to be. 

Anyways, I just really loved Brinn’s character development as she becomes more comfortable with her Tawny identity. 💞💕💓

Brinn was technically half-Tawny, but in her eyes, she was a Commonwealth Citizen through and through. Only a Commonwealth Citizen.


The couple of qualms I have about this book are mainly about its characterization of Ia. I feel like this book couldn't decide between having Ia being a vicious antiheroine vs. her being misconstrued as a villain when she's really all for justice. (Also, the curse word "mif" was used a lot and all I can say is ....interesting choice.)

Overall, this book has such an amazing underlying message beneath its exterior of a space sci-fi and it’s going to be important for so many readers: both for its poc model on its cover and for its underlying political message. I highly recommend this book, for biracial people and poc especially. It's more than just a general science-fiction book.

Trigger and content warnings for genocide, death, colonization, and torture.
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The best way I can describe this book is meh.

In some ways it tries to be original, but overall it seems to recycle many of the storylines, characters, and world building from other YA books I've read over the last decade. More than anything it reminded me of Marie Lu's "Legend" if that book were set in space. I love that series, so in many ways I also liked this book, but it didn't really bring anything new to the table, which was a disappointment.

In the story, Ia is an amazing space pilot but also a criminal who the dominant nation of the world is trying to capture. When they do so, they force her to work for them in the military, wherein Ia meets Knives who is her handsome overseer. Predictably, they both semi-fall for each other even though they try their hardest not to. Ia also rooms with a girl named Brinn, which starts a prickly friendship.

Although I wasn't super impressed with the originality of the plot or the world-building, I did really like the characters, especially the protagonist. Ia is a tough, confident girl who also happens to be Asian. (Yay for diversity!) The other supporting characters are also fleshed out pretty well and developed throughout the book. Again, nothing super revolutionary about this book, but it had it's entertaining moments.
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When this said "Throne of Glass but in space,"I was immediately skeptical, as I don't really appreciate it when 1.  authors advertise books as "x book but ______" and 2. they use a really popular book when they do it. However, when I finally decided to pick this up I was pleasantly surprised, not only that it was really good, but it barely had anything in common with ToG, especially when it was advertised as such. 

My main issues with this book are that it couldn't really decide whether Ia  was an antiheroine or just misunderstood in her fight for justice, swell as the whole advertising thing. Overall, this book has a great message underneath it all, and I really appreciate the character diversity.
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This story pulled me in so much quicker than I expected! I loved it so much and couldn't put it down!
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Fantastic and fast paced--a new sci-fi series focused on social justice and diversity, which will likely be a big draw for teens in your library.
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There's nothing I love more than something described as "throne of glass but set in space," along with badass female protaganists and representation, even if the plot was perhaps a bit predictable. But all in all, it was super entertaining and fun, and just the kind of sci-fi romp and adventure I was looking for.
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Finally an Asian lead! I absolutely loved everything about this book. I also enjoyed the fact that there wasnt any insta-love. I absolutely hate books that do that. The lead is amazing and I cannot rave about this book enough!
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I was not expecting to enjoy this book as much as I did. If it was not finals week I was have totally binged read it. Milan creates such a unique universe. I loved the little sayings and the otherworldly creatures that were included. Also, this was apparently touted as Throne of Glass in space and like I see it if I squint but they are two completely different stories.

Ia is an awesome character and I really enjoyed how Milan wrote her. She is brooding, caustic, has quite the bloodlust, and DOES NOT GIVE A MIF WHAT YOU THINK. I mean her nickname is "Blood Wolf of the Skies" and if you don't consider that to be badass then I don't know what you will. But under all that, she is compassionate and will do anything for those that she loves. Family is a huge part of her life and in this book and that is all I am going to say about this topic because of hella spoilers.

One thing that I was, for lack of a better term, disappointed in was her age. She is 17 and it did not seem so realistic to me for her to have gone through some of the things that have happened. Like she got a neural implant put in when she 13 and was involved in a major battle when she was 16 or so. I don't know if it is the fact that I cannot believe that I am 3 years older then her and she has done all of this already (yeah, that was an unsettling moment) or what but I do wish that she was older. And this was also with the other characters as well. For example, Knives, her flight instructor among other things, is 19 and he is already one of the best pilots in the country. And speaking of Knives, I don't ship him and Ia. They are not "official" but I can see that Milan is taking them in that direction and I just don't feel it but maybe in the next book I will warm up to the idea. I hope that Milan keeps Ia and Brinn's friendship and builds on it more. Their friendship was my favorite part of the book. Brinn helps to show Ia that the world isn't full of people who will betray you and Ia shows Brinn all she can do as a Tawny, a race that is discriminated against in the Commonwealth. 

The plot has a great pace. I easily read it and would have probably read the book in one sitting if it was not for the fact that I had finals! It features fights, as well as speaks of current topics, such as racial discrimination and how the media affects public opinion. 

I do love the cover but I was expecting her helmet to be a lot more dramatic. The book hypes it up, saying how it is a feather that cuts like a slash against the visor like a bleeding cut and the cover makes it seem so small for such an important symbol.
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