Ignite the Stars

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 01 Aug 2018

Member Reviews

This book could have been so good! The description was great and, overall, the plot was good. There were too many holes, I kept asking the characters “why are you doing this” like in a bad horror movie. The characters were flat and blended into each other. One died at one point and I didn’t feel a thing (other than possibly relief that I had one less to keep track of). I guess the Big Bad early on because there really wasn’t any other alternative. So sad.
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Being an outlaw in space is a tricky business, but being a cadet in the governmental forces you've been undermining is even trickier, which Ia learns firsthand in Maura Milan's Ignite the Stars.

Ia Cōcha has a reputation and an obscured identity, or she did until she was captured by the Olympus Commonwealth. Facing the option of becoming a cadet and serving the force she has fought against her entire career or endless torture before execution, Ia takes their opportunity - after all, she's a quick thinker and can likely escape with valuable intel on the military's training academy. As Ia bids her time at the academy, she forms ties to her roommate Brinn, who is incredibly intelligent yet keeping it secret, and to the Flight Master Knives, who is responsible for controlling Ia, which causes her to start rethinking some of her alliances and her long-standing perspective of those within the Commonwealth's forces.  

I'm a sucker for space opera-esque stories (hello, Firefly!) and this falls fairly neatly within that category; it presents some familiar tropes and technology to tell a recurring story of political unrest and racism from a somewhat new perspective. Told from the alternating perspectives of Ia, Brinn, and Knives, the reality of the legendary and elusive figure of Ia Cōcha is revealed alongside the nefarious plots afoot both within and against the Commonwealth military. The narrative works to build the world and characters rather slowly in the first portion of the book, with Brinn as the weaker character who feels more like a simple plot device than a fully realized character, but the narrative then ramps up the action in the latter portion, driving full-force until the end, which feels a bit rushed and glossing over significant details, particularly in comparison with the initial work at developing scene and character. I enjoyed the way that Ia is portrayed as she is clever and witty in her banter with Brinn and Knives, plus she has a moral compass that guides her actions even if her persona's reputation and media presence omits it. 

Overall, I'd give it a 3 out of 5 stars.
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OK so please just do yourself a favour and read this book. It's only publishing later this year so I guess that explains why it hadn't been hyped so much yet, BUT I'M TELLIN' YOU IT SHOULD BE HYPED because it is amazing. It is easily one of the best sci-fi novels I have ever read. Just read it.


The writing is excellent. The book might be a debut, but the writing does not feel like that of a typical debut's. It's absolutely genius. It's stellar.

The plot is insanely good. There's tons of chilling, adrenaline pumping action, but also a fair amount of beautiful, quieter scenes, and the whole sorry is so exciting, fun, and fast-paced.  I also adore the humour, which lends itself to some awesome laugh-out-loud moments, too. Overall, the plot is just amazing.
Oh! And I also have to mention the ending/climax! Without giving spoilers, let me just tell you how absolutely perfect it is. I cried, I laughed, I didn't think it was possible to love the book more, but I did. The ending is perfect in every way.

But I found the world building disappointing. It is intriguing, but it's a bit confusing too. I wanted more explanations and details. It's quite limited and all over the place.  


"This girl was a child of violence. She had suffered and survived. That was a part of her, but what about the girl who had teased him five minutes ago? Where did she fit in? Was she a mirage, a mere trick of the eyes? Did that person really not exist at all?"

"His eyes traced the elegant line of her neck as she swiveled around to face him, her eyes sparking like collapsed stars swallowing up the surrounding light. She was a dark star, a black hole in the endless sky, and if he got too close, he would surely disappear. He knew all this, but even then, he couldn’t turn away from her."


The characters are brilliantly written. Everyone is so real and human, with lots of depth and development, and the chemistry between everyone is insane, too. It's just incredible.
I love the three leads: Ia, Brinn, and Knives. They're all so different but all equally compelling, and the depth and development they each get is amazing. I fell in love with all of them.  They're three of the best main characters I've ever read about; Ia's arrogant but she's fierce, Brinn's insecure but she's a whizz with numbers, and Knives is tormented but passionate. I absolutely love and appreciate what they each contribute to the story.

The romance!! Oh my word it's perfect. Knives and Ia start off fighting and trying to kill each other so of course I'm reading it grinning and shipping them hardcore, and the development of their relationship is stunning. I ship them so much.

Female friendship!! Oh my gosh this is a female friendship to rival even Inej and Nina's. Almost. But seriously, Brinn and Ia's friendship is beautiful. They start off disliking and distrusting each other, but soon get to see the heart of the other person and what they're hiding, what they fear, and what they're fighting for. It's lovely and heart-wrenching to watch. And even though I shouldn't really say too much about the climax, it is the perfect example of girls having each other's backs. It's magnificent.


Ignite the Stars is a breathtaking tale of love, friendship, and inner healing and growth. It's exciting and brilliantly written, but its characters give it its invincible heart.
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Ignite the Stars is explosive and smart.  This action packed syfy is sure to pull you to the edge of your seat as you read devour every last word.

I was immediately drawn into this novel and could not put it down. I absolutely love it when I don't even need to wait until 10% to know if I am going to like, let alone love a book. I immediately knew this book was right up my ally. It's full of action, character growth and a kick-ass heroin.

Ia is an amazing character. There were so many layers to her. She was like the Batman of the galaxy. Yes, she killed people, and yes, she did some terrible things, but she did it for a purpose and generally it was to protect the meek.

This novel was full of well rounded protagonists and antagonists. In fact, I think the majority of the characters did a 180 from the beginning of the novel to the end. You saw the characters in one light, then as the light shifts, you see other sides to them. Reasons why they are the way they are and unexpected shifts in character. As how life is. No one is wholey good or wholey bad.

I enjoyed how easily I felt I understood all of the science and engineering that went with this book. Like I could become a space engineer myself -- I defiantly can't. Milan does an amazing job of building a believable scientific framework to hold the guts of this novel without overwhelming those of us who didn't get any sort of higher education in a science field.

Sadly, I read a few reviews from other readers on Goodreads and was disheartened by the lack of similar opinions to mine. (fist pumping, want to scream it to the mountains how amazing it is!) People compared it to the syfy version of The Throne of Glass. I can sort of see that, but what I really see is something more like Ender's Game mixed with Firefly and Star Wars.

If you are a science fiction geek like me, READ THIS BOOK!
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When I first read the synopsis for Ignite the Stars, I started to get Throne of Glass vibes...but in space. Ia Cocha is a young female warrior, an smart-mouthed fighter who comes from a culture that's all but wiped out. To me, that was straight Celaena Sardothien. 

I really like Throne of Glass (and Maas's other works), so I had a lot of high hopes for this. I'm not really one for "space novels" but the description was enough to draw me in to give it a try. 

The similarities continued...like Celaena, Ia Cocha is captured and winds up being coerced into training/fighting for the people that sh'e's fought and evaded her entire life. Along the way, she starts to make connections with the Flight Master who's in charge of keeping her in line and the reluctant roommate who's hiding some important secrets of her own. 

I want to give Milan all the credit she deserves and say that she tackles some big topics in this book like classism and racism. Ia Cocha does not live in a world where all are equals. There's a big of a refugee crisis, and battle lines are clearly drawn between who are the privileged and who are the "have-nots." I think there's a lot of potential for those issues to take further spotlight in future installments, and it could be leading up to something huge. 

I also liked Milan's characters. For all of her sharp-tongued barbs, Ia Cocha has a heart. She, sometimes to her own surprise, seeks to create connections with those around her, and starts to find a bit of a family in an unlikely place. She's someone who has killed and committed atrocious acts for money or pride, but she also has sparks that show she believes in a better world, a more equal world. 

Brinn Tarver, one of the other narrators, winds up being Cocha's roommate, much to her initial dismay. While dealing with this situation, Brinn is also forced to deal with her own internal war- should she expose who she really is? Although her heritage makes her skilled and special, it will also paint a bulls-eye on her back, a target for those whose lives are ruled by a long-standing prejudice. 

Finally, there's Knives. Honestly, there's a part of me that can't get over the name. Milan gives him the potential to have real depth as he struggles to overcome great loss- of his sister, and a continuing grief for the relationship that he's never had with his overbearing General of a father. 

The main reason I would not give this book more than three stars is that, like Knives, there's real potential that's not duly served in this first book. 

Milan rushes through what I think is one of the most important components of any story- the relationships. Ia Cocha forms bonds, attachments, to Brinn and Knives (and they to her), but the development seems unrealistic to me. There's not enough happening "on screen" for me to find the depth of their connections to be believable, and that is a real shame. The bonds that they have with each other wind up being linchpins in the decisions they make as the climax is dealt with by the characters, and I just wasn't convinced. 

For me, the action should've been split. I think the book should have ended earlier than it did, so more time could be spent on laying the real foundation for us to bond with the characters and for them to really bond with each other. Milan still leaves with an open ending- the "big bad" has been revealed, and it's clear where the sequel will follow, but I think getting to that point was at the cost of something special. 

At this point, I think I'd give a sequel a shot if I had the chance to obtain it through Netgalley. I'm really not sure if I'm won over enough to go out and buy it on my own.
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10% in and I knew I was hooked! That doesn't happen near as often as I would like. I'll be the first to say that I am not a big sci-fi YA fan. I can probably count on one hand how many YA sci-fi books I have read and actually enjoyed it. Not my favorite genre, BUT Ignite the Stars is certainly and most definitely the exception and I am so happy that I took the chance. The basic plot honestly reminded me of Divergent in the beginning - a girl is sent to a training "facility" and eventually falls for one of her instructors/teachers. Granted there are probably a lot of books that I haven't read with that same plot, but Divergent was the one to stick out for me. Having said that, the basic plot is where those similarities end and it becomes its own animal. This story had everything - a fierce heroine and a flawed/conflicted hero that were amazing characters by themselves, but when they got together: chemistry AF and delicious banter (enemies to lovers!!) that would..well..excuse the pun, but would ignite the stars. ;) And if that swoony side piece isn't enough, there's friendships, family, betrayals, loss, a twist that I SO should have saw coming (argh!!), and not 1, but 2 bad guys with very punchable faces - all wrapped into a sci-fi experience really that left me ticked that I read it so early, but also SO excited and ready for the sequel! Gah, I need it!
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Space books are difficult for me, mainly because I’m not that intelligent and so can’t really follow along with all the technical space talk, ya get me? But I’m so desperate to love that I keep trying and trying but...I just can’t. I absolutely adored The Lunar Chronicles, but most other sci-fi books fall short for me.

Sadly, Ignite the Stars is no different. 

It was okay, it really was. I liked Ia, our criminal mastermind extraordinaire, but there was just something missing. 

(On a different note, the name keeps making me sing Rewrite the Stars from The Greatest Showman whenever I read it, so that’s always a plus.)

Ignite the Stars is told in three different POVs - Ia, our aforementioned criminal, Brinn, who didn’t really serve much of a purpose outside of her relationship with Ia, and Knives the Flight Master at a prestigious military training school, and also the son of the General who devotes his time to hunting down Ia. 

When Ia is captured and sent to the academy, Knives is forced to hold her reins - in the form of a device that could stop Ia’s heart within seconds. 

So, obviously, I shipped it. 

If this book was told in Ia and Knives’s POVs, I probably would have given this 4 stars instead of 3, but Brinn just dragged this ship down. I skim read the majority of her chapters, because I just couldn’t bring myself to care about her. 

Ia, however, is a bit of a whirlwind. She’s reckless and brilliant and arrogant and dangerous, just how I like my heroines. Her POV was definitely the highlight of the book for me. 

For a debut novel, Maura’s writing was really good. The only problem I had with it was the made up curse words. Every time someone said “miff” or “miffing” instead of “fuck” or “fucking”, I cringed so hard. There are a few other made up curses that weren’t quite as bad or overused as “miff”, but I, personally, find it just a little bit silly when authors invent their own curse words. 

Had this book been fantasy instead of sci-fi, I probably would have enjoyed it a lot more, as I always struggle with space settings, as I said earlier. I would definitely recommend this book if you’re a fan of YA sci-fi books, though, as it definitely has a lot of potential, and I feel like I’m going to be in the minority with my rating of it. 

*thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for sending me an arc*
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Review to come soon (I did a mistake in publishing a review of another book)
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* 3.5 but rounding up *

I just started reading more sci fi books and I’m so glad I had the opportunity to read this one as it has all the classic elements of the genre while gifting us a main character who immediately shot up to claim a spot in my top ten favorites. 

‘Ignite the Stars’ shifts point of view between three of our main players: Ia Cōcha, a criminal who is given the opportunity to avoid execution as long as she plays nice at the academy, Brinn Tarver a new recruit eager to prove her worth while hiding a secret that could put her entire life in jeopardy and lastly Knives Adams a flight master burdened under the weight of his past who finds himself in charge of keeping the new cadets in line. 

Normally shifting narrators can be tricky especially if you like one more than the others, but with this book all three are easy to connect with and thankfully have their own individual stories that manage to intertwine with the others as the book moves forward with the highlight relationship being that of Ia and Brinn an unlikely duo whose back and forth throughout the novel had some of my favorite moments and it was nice to see a focus more on a friendship than that of a romantic interest. 

The plot itself got a bit confusing in parts and the beginning is a little slow to the point that you’re not quite sure what it’s all leading up to but it eventually clears itself up around the midpoint with nonstop action following through to the end. I liked seeing the sort of bookend resolution to the conflict too it was a nice callback and shed light on how much these characters have grown over the course of the book. 

I imagine the political aspect is going to play a heavier role later on in the series and I look forward to seeing how that goes now that we have an enemy whose allegiances haven’t been made clear in regards to that specific plot point but could tip the scales either way depending on who they favor and if will be interesting to see how the trio fairs now that everything is out in the open. 

I’m really excited to see how this series plays out and if I’m being honest I’d read anything with Ia she along with the rest are such great characters and I have a feeling that their combined and individual stories are going to leave a lasting impression. 

**special thanks to the publishers and netgalley for providing an arc in exchange for a fair and honest review!**
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