Ignite the Stars

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 01 Aug 2018

Member Reviews

This is a good solid addition to the Dystopian/Sci-Fi/Adventure/Kick-Ass Heroine YA genre, as it were. I enjoyed a few pleasant surprises with both characterization and setting and I am intrigued enough to want to find out what happens to Ia and Blade and the rest of the folks in this Universe.
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Notes and Opinions:  First off this is totally NOT Throne of Glass in Space!  Just No I have no idea where they got that one. 

Holy crap readers! This book blew me away!  Don't get me wrong I love sci-fi but usually for books I find them confusing or boring. But this one, this one was pretty much perfect!  This one starts out with a bang and ends the same way. We have 3 POVs for this story and they all worked out well.  I did think that one thing could have been changed.  In this one, Ia (eye-ya) falls for Knives which is one of the other POVs and well for me I just kind of thought she should fall for Brinn.  Don't get me wrong I loved Knives but with the interactions between Brinn and Ia, I just thought that sounded more plausible with how the story was going.  But hey its ok Brinn, Ia, and Knives are happy with how things turned out in their love lives so who am I to judge. 

The story in this title flowed so well!  The author did an amazing job of intertwining the 3 POVs each one had their own voice and adds to the story at large. The most amazing things about this title were the twists, action, and the #OwnVoices part of the story.  The action in this one started off on the very first page. You come into this story learning about Ia and how to say her name and learning that she stands to help others who may not be able to help themselves. She is also very arrogant in the start of this title.  The action in this book was top notch and really blended well with how the author went about it all.   

The twists in this one were spot on! I didn't see them coming and man this author knows how to make you gasp and be surprised. I can't wait to see what she does with book two!  I am hoping to get even more surprises as the story unfolds.  

Last but not least is the #OwnVoices aspect of the story.  In this one there was a lot of discrimination that dealt with things like immigration and refugees which of course is something our world right now is dealing with.  In this one, we have Brinn who is hiding who she is because she knows first hand how cruel people can be.  I really loved her and how she grew over the course of this story.  I do wish that we would have gotten something along the lines of heritage with Ia though.  It was very interesting to get this kind of aspect from a side character. Because that is not usually what happens.  

Ia was so badass in this one! I really kind of hated her to start. She was pretty much a bully in some aspects which I understood because I mean really she was being tortured and held against her will. (ie. being arrested) but still, she could have been a little nicer about it. Ya I know that sounds really really weird. But something about her really just made me want to slap her upside the head.   I really loved how she grew as a character through the story. And I would love a prequel novella about her life in her early days of being Ia.  

Brinn, as stated above, was awesome she had a true voice and really knew early on in the story what she wanted to do with her life. Which I have to say that we should all be as lucky.  I really can not say enough about her. She is so strong by the end of this story and really came into her own. 

Knives is Ia's love interest which rounds out this 3 POV story. For me, he was kind of the light if you ask me.  I don't really know a lot about him other than what we were told early on in the story and well I think that Ia could do so much better.  For me, I just think that Knives in some aspects needs to grow a pair and stop acting like a baby.  I really hope going forward to book two that we really get to see what makes him tick and well I really hope that he learns to stand up to his father.  Thinking about this now I think the author played it a little safe with him.  He does show a little bit of hero during the beginning and last parts of this story but that's really about it.  

The romance in this one I can fully say was not the main storyline. This one all centers around Ia getting free from her captors and learning to be human again.  To learn to really care about something. It also centers around Brinn learning to be who she is without hiding and about Knives learning to move on from his sister's death (we don't learn a lot about this one and if you ask me I still wonder if she is really dead.  I can't remember if they said they found her body or not). 

In this scifi thriller you will find three character to love, twists to make you gasp out loud, and one killer ending!  It kept me on the edge of my seat until the very last page!  

Do I Recommend this book? Even if you are not usually a fan of Science Fiction you should really try this one out. Because this is the Scifi book that will make you fall in love with Scifi! 

Go Into This One Knowing: 3 POVs, No Love Triangle, No Cliffhanger 

Posting 9/18 at 2pm on http://www.crossroadreviews.com
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*I voluntarily read and reviewed an ARC of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own*
DNF @ 63%

yes, I know at this point I could have just finished it, but I realized I was just skimming it with more page turning that reading being done. 

I am so sad about this. I went in hoping for a badass space thief taking the world by storm. Ia is in fact a badass pilot, but we never really get to watch her be awesome since she is in enemy hands. There are a few good moments, but I just wanted to see her be more calculating. And if she is going to be an outlaw, let her be fully outlaw. 
Then there are Brinn and Knives who each get their own perspectives as well! I thought this book would be about Ia only... Knives' POV is interesting-- well, I mean, Brinn's can be as well, but it was hard for me to care. We see where the character development is going to go for everyone. Perhaps this is a case of me being too old for the content?

I've written and deleted a portion of the review multiple times. I keep thinking "it is this one part that made me stop reading!" then change my mind because either other books have made me continue reading even with those disappointments or I find I don't mind it? 

So, I should have written this review as soon as I was finished with this book. I remember the overall thoughts: I didn't connect enough to feel invested and the characters annoyed me at times. The setting is fun and unique with so much potential. Perhaps, I over-hyped the book too much and when it couldn't continue to keep my interest my feels dropped quickly. 

Such a bummer, but if you like dystopias and space with works that will make you think of colonization in the evil way it is, then you should pick this one up.
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I picked this up because it claimed to be a great read for fans of Lunar Chronicles, and I've had students who loved that series.

Honestly, this is much better than the Lunar Chronicles. Breakneck pace, great characterization, and an amazing protagonist.
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Quick Summary:

Everyone in the universe fears him. But no one realizes that notorious outlaw Ia Cocha is a 17 year old girl. A criminal mastermind and unrivaled space pilot, Ia has spent her life terrorizing the nation that destroyed her planet. When the Commonwealth captures her and her true identity is exposed, they see her age and talent as an opportunity to use her and prove that no one is beyond their control. The moment Ia is sent to their secluded military academy she starts plotting her escape. What she didnt expect was to start building bonds with her roommate Brinn and the Flight Master Knives.

My Thoughts:

We get three different perspectives in this novel with Ia being the main one. She's resourceful and determined. I thought her love for her brother was very touching. I also really enjoyed her righteous fury. I was all like take them down girl. TAKE. THEM. DOWN. She seemed like a badass criminal at first, but something happens that tries to excuse some of her actions. I thought that was a little disapointing. I would have rather she fully take ownership of her actions since her reasoning behind them were pretty solid to me.

One of the other perspectives was a Tawny girl who is hiding her heritage for fear of the discrimination she might face. I liked Brinns journey of accepting who she is. She ends up being given Ia as a roommate and the friendship that develops between them was amazing, especially at the end. Id be lying if I said I wasnt low key hoping they would end up together. I also enjoyed Brinns romance and her friendship with one of the mean girls from her old school.

The third character perspective comes from Knives. The flight master and generals son. The same general who caught Ia. I felt like we didnt get to know Knives as well as the other two characters, but we do get to see his grief over his sister and his strained relationship with his father. I cant imagine a father calling their child dispensible. I enjoyed the tension between him and Ia. One of the few men who might actually be able to keep up with her.

The writing was alright, but it didnt flow as well as it could have. Except the action scenes. Those were pretty great. I usually dont mind made up curse words, but I couldn't get on board the whole "mif" thing. I dont really care about boarding school type settings so not much of the world interested me. Despite being set across different star systems the scifi elements were pretty minimal. I did like the Tawnies with their blue hair, high IQ and ability to heal themselves.

I dont understand why they thought it was a good idea to send a highly intelligent mass murderer to a secret military academy filled with other kids and all sorts of secrets. Not to mention they give her a roommate. I was hoping that Ia would get her new friends to help her topple the genocidal regime, but that goal is totally pushed a side. I like betrayal in books, but I would have rather it come from anyone else. The plot twists were exciting, but the way they were delivered werent as shocking as they could have been.

I could have overlooked the plot holes if the pace wasnt so slow. Its more of a character driven story with most of the action only happening at the beginning and at the end. Im usually not a fan of captive stories, but I never felt like Ia was completely helpless so I didnt mind it. Theres some meaningful themes about colonization, immigration and race, but I dont think they were properly explored. I liked the characters, but Im not sure if thats enough to get me to read the rest of the series. If they team up against the governement in the next book I might pick it up.
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When I started Ignite the Stars I thought the book was part of a series and I had missed the previous book or books. Turns out I was wrong. This is the first book in a new series. There are two main characters who fit the stock for YA. Flight Master, Knives is the main male characters and he wants to be out of the shadow of his famous father. Ia Cōcha is a 17 year old rebel who is forced to attend the military academy. These two are aided in the story by a group of side characters. Much of the story line is character development, back story and world building. The action, tension, danger and betrayal all lead to binding them into a team ready to face the next book in the series.

I received a free copy of the book in return for an honest review.
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In Maura Milan's debut novel and first book in the series "Ignite the Stars", we follow three teenagers, Ia, Brinn and Knives. Though very different people, they all have one thing in common; they all go to a military academy called Apehlion, who's exact coordinates are kept top secret. Ia, a seventeen year old girl, known as the most dangerous criminal in Commonwealth history I. A. Cocha, is caught one day by the military, defending a group of refugees and is imprisoned for her crimes both past and present, totalling one hundred and twenty years in prison, or a twenty year contract with the military academy. Brinn, another seventeen year old girl with a big family secret, after seeing her arrested, sees an opportunity to make a different in people's lives, and also joins the academy against her family's wishes. The last person we get to know in this book is nineteen year old Knives, who's the flight master at the academy.

This fast paced novel is both beautiful and violent. The story is set in space, and its easy to imagine, even with the far fetched planets and people. I never for a second felt like I was missing something, and I was really just sucked into the story from the moment I started it. There's nothing else like a well put together book that you can just jump right into, with no questions.

My favourite part of the book was probably the last ten percent, and I don't say that a lot. Although the rest of the book is exciting and I didn't want to put it down, the end is just so much more action packed and awesome. Everything also wraps up nicely, which is always a good thing. If this was a standalone novel I would be happy with it, but I honestly can't wait to see what happens in the next one. If it's anything like this book, I have high hopes.

The character I liked the most was probably Ia, not only because most of the book is from her viewpoint, and switching between the other two main characters, but because she's just such a strong character. The book starts with her as a well established person, and it ends with her really adapting to where she is, and growing just like a real person. She's funny and badass, and really, what more can you ask for?

I can't think of a single thing I would change about this book. This is the first book from the author I've seen, and I really am excited to see where she takes this series, and any other book she writes in the future. I definitely think that this is one of my new favourite books, and I really like how the cover looks, it's just so bright and bold, and eye catching. I would love to have this book on my shelf.

Thanks for reading!
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Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed below are entirely my own. 

I started reading Ignite the Stars with such high hopes for these characters and their story. And, for the last third of the book, everything was perfect. It was the first two thirds that had me falling asleep and rolling my eyes. 

To begin, let me list the things I loved about this book. I love that there is a person of color on the cover of Ignite the Stars. That alone had me so excited for this story! I also enjoyed reading from Ia’s point of view. She was the most interesting character in the story and when she was narrating, the story was absolutely amazing. She’s cunning and ruthless and doesn’t take no for an answer. Watching Ia grow as a character throughout the book was one of my favorite things. She begins to understand that everything and everyone around her aren’t necessarily the enemies she thought they were. Knives’s point of view was my second favorite. He wasn’t as interesting as Ia, but the parts he narrated were equally as memorable and action-packed. 

Now, unfortunately, there were several things I didn’t like so much. The main thing was Brinn’s point of view. Her character was largely unnecessary, other than her role in her relationship with Ia and a bit at the end of the book. She was mostly there as the “smart” character, but her intelligence wasn’t utilized until the last fifteen percent of the book, which I found to be a waste. When she narrated the story, it didn’t flow as well and nothing happened. Another thing I disliked was the made-up curse words. They were overused and silly, and most of the time I had no idea what the character was really trying to say. Normal curse words would have served the author’s purpose just as well and would have made the story flow so much more easily. One thing I found confusing was the device installed in Ia’s heart at the beginning of the novel. It is meant to be able to cause heart failure in the case that she tries to escape custody (which she does, repeatedly). For me, this is completely unrealistic. I realize it’s a sci-fi novel and “anything goes,” but heart failure? Could the device not have just caused pain in order to stop her in her attempt? The device controls her heart, so it can easily reverse heart failure, but still. Come on. How about a simple sedative released into her bloodstream? It would have solved several of the problems Ia’s captors have in keeping her in line and it’s far less life-threatening. One last thing that I didn’t enjoy was the pacing and the writing. Both were choppy in places and made the story feel almost incomplete. It distracted me more than once, which is one of the reasons it took me an age to finish reading it. 

Overall, this is a decent Young Adult Sci-Fi debut. There was just something missing for me personally and the story didn’t distinguish itself enough from the rest of the genre. There were several elements I recognized, some from the Lunar Chronicles, some from the Illuminae Files, and even some minor references to Harry Potter. I had high expectations going in and, unfortunately, Ignite the Stars just didn’t live up to those expectations.
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There are no words to describe how amazing this book is! I wasn't prepared for how deeply engrossed in this book I'd become. I alternated between loving Ia and not liking her. In the end I totally adored her. I also loved Knives and Brinn! These three characters are people I'd love to be friends with in real life. The plot was so well thought out, and it definitely kept me hooked. I can't wait to get a final copy for my personal collection and a copy for the public library's collection too!
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ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I love sci-fi, so I was really interested in this book. The cover an the blurb are awesome, and I had high hopes about this book.

I liked the characters and the realitonships between them, but the writing and the storyline could have been a little better.

All in all, it was an okay read, and I think the sci-fi lovers would like this book.
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5 stars
I’ve been rendered speechless from this book. Because WOW.




So rarely do books that I hype up in my mind actually live up to the ridiculously high standards I make for them, but Ignite the Stars ignited an explosion and blew me all the way past the stars.

Literally. The notes section of my phone for this book looks like this:


So I was obviously very articulate the minute after reading it. BUT IT WAS JUST SO GOOD.

I mean, Ia, the Blood Wolf, the Asian (!!!) seventeen-year-old who’s doing way more amazing things than I am right now, was such a cool character and quite the badass with a decent moral compass (y’know, for a murderer). So many people will love her and she definitely pulled some very cool (and very wily) moves throughout the story.

But I really loved Brinn the most.

Brinn was the real star of the novel in my mind. In the novel, the Tawnies have blue hair and are typically refugees of the Olympus Commonwealth who’ve been greatly discriminated against. And the way Brinn grew throughout the novel–first going to great lengths to hide her blue hair and fit in with her peers, then to finally accepting herself and her identity and most importantly, her people–was the greatest struggle and greatest triumph of this novel.

So many multicultural teens these days struggle with accepting their identity, and although nobody’s #OwnVoices for Brinn (blue hair, remember?) her story is something that so many people will be able to relate to. How many times have I felt ashamed of my culture and tried to hide it? More times than I should be.

I really connected with Brinn and the way she accepted her heritage was really inspiring to me, and something that I found to be one of the most important storylines in this novel.

Not gonna lie, I was low key shipping Brinn and Ia, but Knives is cool too. I feel like there’s a lot more of his character left to explore than any of the other narrators, so I’m very excited to see what Milan does with him in book 2!

Honestly, the star of the show (after Brinn, of course) was the action. The action was so smooth and engaging and never felt stuttered or just lame. The whole book was entertaining, honestly, and I found the dialogue smooth and the conflict with deliciously high stakes.

Plus, the betrayals were awesome, although I feel like I expected some of the twists. But it felt okay to me because of how it exposed Ia’s character flaws, which was nice to see that she’s not the perfect murderess.

I do have to note that the tradition begun by Battlestar Galactica continues in Ignite the Stars. Fictional curse words (think Across the Universe or LIFEL1K3, not the benign “stars” in The Lunar Chronicles) are present.

(Honestly, I prefer fiction curse words in circumstances like these rather than modern curse words, because it makes no sense whatsoever why this other star system would use our modern curse words. Curse words change throughout centuries (i.e. zounds), so why would they not change across light years?)

And it’s not like the curse words are totally ridiculous. I believe one is “mung” which is used in the same way as “shit,” and it makes sense (not only because it rhymes with dung, but also because sometimes I just dislike mung beans).

Overall, I just had such a fun time reading this awesome and super entertaining novel. Plus, the gorgeous model on the cover doesn’t make it hurt (and she actually looks like what I envision Ia looks like, so that’s also really really great).

I definitely recommend to anyone who loves science fiction or who just wants to pick up an awesome book in general? Yeah, you.
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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. 

Ignite the Stars by Maura Milan is a YA sci-fi debut and promising series opener. I was really hoping to love it - I mean, the cover and the blurb definitely hooked me. While I liked it well enough, it didn't quite distinguish itself enough for me. There's a lot to like from Ia and Knives, exactly the sort of characters I like to read about, the fast pace, the action, and just how timely the story feels in terms of refugees. Overall, though, the way the story played out didn't impress me in part because it feels very familiar. I couldn't help but compare it to The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer and the Starbound series by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner, but it never quite reaches those heights. In part, I think that's because there's not a whole lot of world-building. I usually like being thrown into the action right away, but I don't think we ended up with enough to make up for it later on. Looking back on it, I doubt I could go into much more detail about the setting aside from coming up with space or military academy. Finally, I wanted to mention the three perspectives used to tell the story - Ia, Knives, and Brinn. I preferred the Ia and Knives sections to Brinn by far. Brinn's perspective didn't flow as well as it could have and it bogged down the storytelling a little too much.

Overall, Ignite the Stars by Maura Milan is a decent YA sci-fi debut. I had really high expectations going in and it didn't quite live up to them. All things considered, though, it's a great first effort and I have a feeling the sequel could be truly great. I have a feeling you'll want to pick up Milan's new novel if you like Marissa Meyer and Amie Kaufman. Thanks again for this opportunity, NetGalley!
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The premise here is, ahem, stellar: an infamous, faceless enemy of the state is captured after more than a decade of hijacking space transports and bombing ... things ... and who does it turn out to be? Not some grizzled, scar-faced male space pirate—oh, no! The Robin Hood of this universe is a short teenage girl, a girl who is importantly shown striding across the cover of the book as a POC. In a sudden twist that still makes absolutely no sense, she's not only captured in an intergalactically broadcast incident which renders her face the instant equivalent of a household name ("household face" just doesn't sound right), but she's also sent to flight school. As in, she's forcibly sent to the Star Force Academy to learn how to become an engineer—because, apparently, some dude thinks that's how you win a war.

Instead of going all "Ender's Game" and interrogating the sins of the military-industrial complex, Ia the teen space pirate sinks into a fit of pique and tears up the walls a bit so that she can communicate with her brother, another rebel who wasn't caught. While she waits for him to come and rescue her, Ia runs reconnaissance on the Academy and teaches her roommate, another POV character, how to play board games. Oh, and she flirts with Knives the Flight Master, the book's third POV character, in a dynamic that will be instantly recognizable to readers of YA literature, all while spouting the absolute worst substitute swear words ever invented.

The above paragraph may sound harsh, but it's about par for the course. I would note, however, that I found Ia highly entertaining and thought that at its best moments, this book reminded me of Alastair Reynolds' "Revenger," already one of the best "teens in space" novels of the decade. "Ignite the Stars" is Maura Milan's debut, and I had a lot of fun reading it. Milan will only get better as her career evolves, and she's already helping create the world of words that we all so desperately want. Three cheers for an #OwnVoices author who not only heard the #WeNeedDiverseBooks call but did something about it!
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I really enjoyed this book! The characters were easy to follow and the story was fun and intriguing! I also enjoyed the multiple points of view that really carried the story along.
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This is a solid science fiction adventure that was a lot of fun to read.  You really need to suspend disbelief that whole premise of a 17 year old being the dreaded notorious outlaw Ia Cocha, and that once she is caught she is sent to a military academy as her punishment, you are in for a really good story with some great female characters and a light romance. 

The story starts off with Ia’s capture and even though there is some slight surprise that she is a seventeen year old girl, there is not a lot of comment or discussion about it.  Then the next thing we know she is off to the military academy as her punishment.  Hmm, not sure if that works for me, but if I can disregard that premise, it is a very good story.    I ended up really liking Ia.  She is smart, but can also hold her own in a fight.  She is also compassionate and passionate about her cause.   She doesn’t want to make friends with anyone at the academy, she doesn’t think she will be there long enough, but she does, and she comes to their aid when it is needed.  The tentative friendship she develops with Brinn is very sweet.

I liked Brinn a lot more than Ia.  She has a secret, which we know from the start, but she doesn’t want others to know.  She is very bright, genius level even, and believes that her government is right and the rebels are wrong.  Her story arc is the more interesting one.  Learning the truth and changing her opinions about what she always thought was true was far more interesting.  She also has compassion for others and has a slight crush on another student.

Knives, ok what is up with that name! It is not a nick name, but there is no other explanation for it.   Maybe the next book.  Knives is also a likable character.  He is the youngest teacher at the academy, and he has a distrustful relationship with the military and refuses to fight for them, even though he is one of their best pilots.  The slow burn relationship between him and Ia is also good.  They both keep trying to deny their feelings, but you know how those things go. 

Except for the shaky premise and the overly quick beginning and set up of the main plot, it is a really good story.  It is fast paced for the most part, and there are some plot twists that kept things interesting.  The space academy sounds like a cool place to go to school, and some of the more scientific things are kept simple enough to understand, but still complex enough to sound genuine.  Lots of political intrigue towards the end, and probably that will continue into the next book.  

This is a very well done book by this debut author.  I would recommend this book to sci-fi fans and to those who want to expand into the science fiction genre.
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I have mixed feelings for this novel. When I first read the summary of it, I was thinking a Throne of Glass in space. At times it I did feel that pull; however, this story is told through three POVs and that changed the way I saw the book come to life. I liked 2 out of the 3 POVs, I felt that one of the characters was lacking in depth and at times I felt the author get sloppy with the writing for that person. The ending of this book left me feeling that I missed something when it came to Ia’s personality; however, it was a nice twist regardless. Overall, I did like the book.
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I enjoyed this book. It had good pacing and was a nice quick read. It did take a little bit to get the whole plot of the book going, but once it did, things happened really quickly. I also enjoyed the fact we get to see some semblance of current real life issues. On Brinn's planet, there are a lot of refugees, that end up under fire because of being caught helping Ia Cocha. The refugees end up being retaliated against just because they aren't actual citizens and are being fought against to be removed after Ia's capture. Brinn is part of one of those races, so she has to hide that fact about herself and the telltale marks of it to avoid being retaliated against as well, despite actually being a citizen because of her father. It kinda makes you think of how that happens in today's culture. 

Our book and characters revolve around Ia Cocha. She is one of our main characters, but also plays a huge part in our two others as well. As her actions directly affects them. Ia is pretty much one of the Commonwealth's most wanted criminals and she gets captured. She's given two choices, the better of those two to go to the Commonwealth's military academy and fight for them. Ia is not thrilled with this, but it's better than the alternative. Our two other characters, Knives and Brinn end up getting caught up in everything Ia due to being the two who inadvertently end up the closest to her. 

Despite the fact that Ia is a criminal, I understand her motives. The reason she does some of what she's done is because she's trying to protect people. She thinks the Commonwealth is wrong in the way they take over star systems. So she fights back against them. She even tried to save a number of refugees from slavers who also are over taking a number of systems and colonies. She's not overly bad, she's just trying to fight for what she thinks is right. Ia tries incredibly hard to keep her distance from anyone so she doesn't form any bonds. But she inevitably does form a friendship with Brinn (her roommate) after discovering her secret about her heritage and Knives after showing him how to make his jet go faster. I thought her friendships were incredibly important to Ia's growth in the book. We see them transform her from a cold hearted criminal, to a warmer, better version of herself who sees the good in helping those she cares about. She also finds out her bonds of friendship mean more to her than her bond with her brother after its revealed he's made her just an expendable body. 

I thought the plot twists in this book were incredibly interesting. Everything in the first half of the book is mainly about Ia trying to escape and give her brother the info to do so. But in the second half the plot thickens. We see Knives going into a system with his father that was thought to be a myth. And they encounter the slavers and Ia's brother rooting around in there trying to find something. It's no longer about Ia escaping as much as it's about her coming back from her escape to try and save people from the slavers. And even more so, her brother and the slavers aren't even looking for her when they come. They are looking for Brinn because she's got knowledge to help them build something they stole from the Headmaster. Ia just gets blindsided by her brothers betrayal and what he tries to do to her. Despite her being a criminal in the beginning, you really end up feeling for her at the end. 

From the ending, it sounds like this book will have a sequel or companion to go with it. I'll definitely be looking forward to picking it up and reading more of this story!
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Ia Cocha is an outlaw feared by the Olympus Commonwealth, lionzed by those outside (like the Tawneys), and when Ia is captured, it's cause for celebration. Turns out Ia isn't a man, but a young woman, and when she's sentenced to the Commonwealth's elite equivalent of Starfleet's Academy, it's clear that won't go well. Friendships, betrayals, romance, characters surprising you by being something/someone different than presented - you name it, it's here. Of course this isn't a stand-alone, and the alternating POVs caused a loss of points. Still, it's great that this isn't a dystopia or fantasy but real SF.

eARC provided by publisher.
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Ignite the Stars was a fast paced and addicting space adventure. I found it extremely easy to read and really enjoyed all the characters. I was hooked from the beginning and didn't put it down. The story and world development was fantastic, I could really see myself in the world and experiencing things as they characters were. 

We start off with a famous outlaw, Ia (pronounced Eye-yah) and we follow her arrest and subsequent imprisonment at the Commonwealths training academy. She makes new friends and enemies, including a very handsome Flight Master, called Knives. I really enjoyed this book. The one issue I had though was that the characters were slightly superficial and could have used more development/depth. However, the story flowed smoothly and I felt that with the world development we had a clear picture of a universe at war. Things weren't always what I expected and I really enjoyed the fact that this book surprised me. There was one twist I did not expect and its so good when that happens in books, that you actually feel the shock. The romance didn't overpower the main storyline and we get to experience so many emotions throughout this book, which is really enjoyable. I also really loved how much awesome tech was described and used in this book. 

I read this book in one sitting it was so addictive. I had to know what happened next. Things were unfolding at a great pace and the ending left me wanting more and more. All in all, a fantastic debut YA Sci-fi that will keep you on the edge of your seat wanting more. I really hope we get more books in this series! 

I would highly recommend this book!
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Ignite the Stars Review 

I received a copy Ignite the Stars from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This one is longer than some of my other reviews, but this book, with its strengths and flaws, is important and needs more words. 

When I looked at the other reviews on Goodreads, one of the first ones quoted someone saying “Think Throne of Glass in Space,” but that reviewer didn’t see it as a positive comp.  I enjoyed Throne of Glass, and I can see the parallels: violent teenage assassin is “forced” to work for the enemy, but I think Poison Study would be a better comp. Ignite the Stars  has more in common with Poison Study’s slow build and quiet depth than with the fast paced cycle training, gowns, and violence that was Throne of Glass. 

I’m on the fence about whether to give Ignite the Stars four or fives stars, but I’m rounding up, because if I’m not allowed to give halves, that’s what I do. 

Ia Cocha, an allegedly feared outlaw, is captured in the first chapter, and everyone is shocked she is a teenage girl. I didn’t get why Ia’s gender was a big deal, especially in a future world were men and women seemed to stand on almost equal footing. And as a frequent reader of YA fantasy where almost every badass is a 17-year-old girl, I really couldn’t suspend disbelief and believe it surprised people.

Gender thing aside, the opening still wasn’t my favorite. The writer tried, but even with Ia hiding out on a ship full of refugees, I wasn’t invested. I almost thought she was just taking advantages of the “refs” though I think the author wanted me to believe her intentions were good.

The first three chapters, each from a  different character’s point of view, were slow in their own way, painting characters as tropes more than individuals: teen assassin who may or  may not have a heart, inteligent minority girl pretending to be average, and damaged flyboy son of a general doing everything but what his father wants.

Thankfully, the characters grew out of their tropes as the story builds. Ia studies in the Starfleet academy and starts to see her enemies as people, even friends. The reader gets to see behind her violent, arrogant facade. Brinn lets the reader through her tightly held mask, and Knives’ past and family history wasn’t as cliche as I expected. It was almost like the narration started distant, but as the characters started to open up to each other, the narration got closer and the characters also opened up to the reader.

When the book picked up, it wasn’t because the action picked up but because I got to know the characters better. Most of the story happens in the flight academy, and is more about the characters than space battles and fist fights. 

Readers have to wait until the last 20% or so of the book for the big battles, but they are definitely worth the wait. The plot-twist’s reveal is well set up and worth the wait too, though there were a few missing pieces that made it hard to believe the new enemy’s motive. I can’t comment more on this without spoilers. 

To me, the most important aspect of this book wasn’t necessarily how well executed the plot of characters were, but how on top of everything else, it delves into social justice with a timely exploration of colonialism, refugees, and prejudice. 

Throughout most of the book, Brinn died her hair to hide the fact that her mother was Tawney, a group of displaced people who were hated by those in the places they tried to settle. Sometimes, I felt like I was being told too much about Brinn’s efforts to fit in and wanted to see them in action a little more, but the overt, heavy handed telling did ensure that I got the point. 

The political events around the refugee issues maybe have been in the background, but they were loud, and later, revealed to be more significant to the plot than I originally expected.

At times, I felt like I was being shouted at. The book was saying “this is what happens when people are prejudice, this is what happens when governments colonize, this is what it feels like to be the victim of it.” I got a little annoyed at times, but I think that was a sign it was working. Because in the real world, there are refugees displaced by wars that are the product of foreign intervention. There are people blinded by privilege (sometimes completely unaware of their privilege) who hate those refugees and want them gone. Sometimes, people like me, crappy allies at best, silently complicit at worst, forget that even if we make a few social media posts speaking out against the hate, but don’t get off our butts and do something, we are part of the problem. We’re part of a system that oppresses.

My annoyance wasn’t because the message was too heavy handed or poorly executed. It was because it reminded me of my own guilt. 

When this book comes out, buy it and read it. Good science fiction doesn’t explore technological advances and outer space. It examines social issues and how they evolve in the future. Ignite the Stars is good science fiction.
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