Ignite the Stars

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Pub Date 04 Sep 2018 | Archive Date 15 Nov 2019

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Everyone in the universe knows his name. Everyone in the universe fears him. But no one realizes that notorious outlaw Ia Cōcha is a seventeen-year-old girl.

A criminal mastermind and unrivaled pilot, Ia has spent her life terrorizing the Olympus Commonwealth, the imperialist nation that destroyed her home. When the Commonwealth captures her and her true identity is exposed, they see Ia’s age and talent as an opportunity: by forcing her to serve them, they will prove that no one is beyond their control.

Soon, Ia is trapped at the Commonwealth’s military academy, desperately plotting her escape. But new acquaintances—including Brinn, a seemingly average student with a closely-held secret, and their charming Flight Master, Knives—cause Ia to question her own alliances. Can she find a way to escape the Commonwealth’s clutches before these bonds deepen?

In this exhilarating edge-of-your-seat sci-fi adventure—perfect for fans of The Lunar Chronicles—debut author Maura Milan introduces our world to a thrilling new heroine.

Everyone in the universe knows his name. Everyone in the universe fears him. But no one realizes that notorious outlaw Ia Cōcha is a seventeen-year-old girl.

A criminal mastermind and unrivaled...

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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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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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This was a fantastic sci-fi!
I flew through this and couldn't put it down.

Do you like Sci-fi? Ruthless characters? Strong females? Betrayal? a little bit of romance? this book has all of that and more!

The story is told from three perspectives: Ia, Brinn and Knives (horrible name I know). Ia, is the ruthless tyrant the government is trying to capture. Brinn is a young female who is part Tawny, which is a race that is hated. Then there is Knives who is the Generals son and also a Flight Master.

The main character Ia is absolutely ruthless she is known as the Blood Wolf of the Sky and we get to see this ruthless side of her. She has had a pretty miserable life, her parents are no longer around and the only family she has left is her brother Einn. She is quite a complex character, shes ruthless but shes compassionate.. deep, deep down, she is incredibly intelligent and strong, mentally and physically.

Besides Ia the full cast of characters were very likeable, at first I wasn't so sure about Brinn but she grew on me. She went from this scared little girl to a strong and intelligent female. Knives was likeable from the beginning.

The story takes place mainly at a military academy where Ia has been forced to work for the Commonwealth, it was either that or death basically. While here she tries to find ways to escape, unknowingly making friends and alliances that make her question her roles. The story was fast paced and there was never a dull moment, there is lots of action, cool space gadgets and technology.

During Ia's time at the academy there is a new force out in space to be reckoned with, the new enemy came out of nowhere and no one knows who is behind it. There is a pretty big twist to the book that might shock you if you don't pay attention. I figured it out and the next book is going to be so good because of this!

This book was excellent and any scifi lovers out there should pick this up!

I was sent a copy for review via Netgalley

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Think Throne of Glass in space, with a hint of Divergent mixed in. I adored this book,it has everything i could have wanted: a kick ass heroin, explosive action and great character development. This is one to add to your must read lists.

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" She was a dark star, a black hole in the endless sky, and if he got too close, he would surely disappear"

I could think for hours and write a 10 pages review, I think it would not be enough to say how much I loved this book. I am not a sci-fi girl, or more, I didn't use to be. Then, the Illuminae files happened and I gave the genre a chance. It is books like Ignite the stars that make it worth it.
After only a few pages, I was hooked. There is no break or slow time in this book, something is always happening. You can't get bored reading it, you will just want more and more til the last page is turned!
The world building itself is pretty good too, even if I would have loved even more space description: there is a rich vocabulary, technological tools we can only dream ( or be afraid) of, spaceships, darkness...well everything you want to read in sci fi!
Now for the characters! Ia Cocha is a great main character and her sidekicks are just as interesting! They are all a bit infuriating time to time, but it is with that you recognize good characters! Because they will make you feel with them! They just grow in depth with every page, becoming more and more complex with time.
Speaking of complexity, can we talk about how this book will turn your mind? There is no good or bad side here, only shades of grey. You think you have it right, you think you know who to trust and then... you discover that it is not as simple as just having the good ones fighting the bad guys. So in the end, who can you trust?
I will finally speak of another aspect I loved about this book: how relevant it is to what we are living right now with immigration issues and the way immigrants are treated. Diversity is there, and people can be racist, even in space!
So yes, this book will bring you thrills, emotions and much more! GO READ IT !

Review coming on my blog on March 23rd!

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Can we please appreciate the cover first? Because not only do I really like it colour-wise, but there is a POC on the cover. All the thumbs up for that.
But now, let’s get to the story. Even though I needed quite a long time to get into it, I just read 3/4 of the book in one sitting because… wow. What took me so long in the beginning was that the story is told in three POVs and that each chapter is another character. That made it hard for me to get really into that character in the beginning. But the more the plot developed, the more I got to know the characters and because they all interacted with each other, it was then easy to follow their stories.

Ia certainly is one fierce character. Even though she is never described as being of Asian heritage (at least I think so?), I always imagined her that way, thanks to the cover. In the beginning we already get to know her as a killer with a good heart, even though most people only see the killer and not the good heart. When she is captured and brought to Aphelion, her enemies’ military academy, she tries everything to escape at first. But her brother convinces her to stay and get informations. So she stays but things do not go as planned: she finds friendship and also something more.
What I liked about Ia’s chapters was her development and how she herself felt it and described it. How she went from not-caring to caring-very-much. But she stays herself through it all: sassy and brave, smart and quick.

The second POV is from Brinn, Ia’s roommate in Aphelion. She is not exactly happy about this, but she soon finds, that it isn’t all that bad, especially when Ia discovers Brinn’s secret. Slowly trust and friendship blossom between the two girls and even though this friendship has its ups and downs, it is a wonderful one. Brinn is extremely clever and so the two make a great team: Brinn the mind, Ia the fighter. Where Ia is hotheaded and talks with fists rather than her mouth, Brinn is more calm and analytical.
Brinn also gets a great character development: from being insecure, she learns and accepts who she is.

The third protagonist is knives, the Flight Master of the academy and son to a powerful General. Who is also the general who captured Ia. He does not take any shit from Ia and knows just as well where to put a fist, if necessary. Even though the two of them are constantly at each other’s throats, they too, slowly grow together. I liked his character instantly because I liked the way he thinks and the motives that get him going.

But not only the characters were amazing, the plot was as well. Even though I still have not completely understood why Ia has to attend Aphelion, I am glad she did. Because so many components come together to form their story around Ia and her associates. And those plot twists? Damn. They really got to me.
The whole book was fast paced, but especially the last 100 pages were intense and I could not get my eyes away from the pages. So much happened. I just wish I could read how the story goes on right now.

The only thing I would have liked to see more of is the general world building. The essentials were there, but I would really like to know more about how the Commonwealth works, how they treat their colonies, who and what the slaver nations are and who exactly are the criminal associates of Ia’s? And how Dark Space and normal space are interwined and work together or not?

Apart from this, I just loved everything. Even though this is a debut, it did not feel like it. The writing was great and easy to read and understand. The characters were wonderful and so was the plot. What a furious debut. Just… give me more of this.

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This is a space adventure packed with action, tension, mystery, intrigue and a main character who packs a huge punch. In other words, this was a thrill to read!

Ia Coche is the most feared name in the galaxy, one everyone knows and fears. When Ia Coche is finally captured, no one can believe the most dangerous rebel is a seventeen-year-old girl. The Commonwealth gives her two options: life-long sentence in a hellish prison or enrollment at the highly elicit Military Academy. When she walks into the academy, no one is ready for her, but then, she isn't there to deal with any of them. Determined to escape, she starts to work on a plan, but as the layers of intrigue behind her capture, and the real reason she's been enrolled into the school unfold, everything she ever believed comes into question. Still, she is Ia Coche, and all who stand against her will learn the real meaning of fear.

This book captures and shoots off with pure adventure into the stars. Ia Coche is a true space rogue and adventurer. She is tough and will not let anyone get in her way. Her past is violent, and she has tons of blood on her hands. But even in the first chapter it's clear, she's fighting a war for those who can't fight on their own. This lone hero against all odds makes her very easy to cheer for and like, although her personality definitely has its fill of rough edges.

While this story centers around Ia Coche, the other characters have their own personal tales, challenges, desires and obstacles. The books is written from several points of view, allowing each of these subplots to mold and develop as they carefully weave with Ia Coche's. There are characters to love, some to hate, and some who rock back and forth. It gives the story richness and depth, making each character grow on the reader along the way.

Action is key followed closely by intrigue. Ia Coche is a teenager placed in an academy, but this is not the average teenage drama tale. There are friendships, a very light dusting of something which might be considered romance, and rivalries, but this only helps to make the academy scene more realistic. Ia Coche's battle to discover her true enemies and uncover a web of intrigue, while fighting for her freedom remain at the center of the tale—bright and clear. There are emotional moments, ones which get under the skin and make Ia Coche and the others more realistic, but they perfectly balance with high tension and exciting scenes. There is never a boring or slow moment in these pages.

Summed up, this is a fantastic science fiction read with a heroine to root for. Friends of space adventure, tension, political intrigue, evil plots and a heroine to take on all of them, are going to enjoy this one from beginning to end.

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IGNITE THE STARS was a wild book from start to finish. My only complaint is that it felt like too much with the three POVs in the beginning, but later on, they just made the book. The VOICE, guys, oh my gosh, it was so real and so good. I can't wait for book 2!

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Fantastic YA sci-fi - great premise with flawed characters (in a good way!) with loads of action and adventure. Highly recommended if you like YA like The Lunar Chronicles.

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I received a copy of Ignite The Stars from Netgalley. I'm not that much of a space fiction fan, but the cover won me over. I love the colours in the galaxy, it's so pretty. And I also liked the fact that the most famous rebel in the universe is presumed to be a man, and not a girl.

This book is #ownvoices for Asian representation (story is set in space).


Maura Milan has created a beautiful sci-fi story. I seriously don't like stories set in space that much, because I often find that the characterisation of the different aliens is lazy and stereotypical. Not with Ignite the Stars! There were also biracial (as in different alien ethnicities for want of a better word) characters, and I thought that the representation was on point. Since there were two biracial characters, the reader is shown that the way they act isn't how all biracial people act.

While there is a romance, I really loved that the Ia's friendship to another character is more important to her. It's refreshing to read a story where friendship is not undermined by romance.

I like how it was made very clear that this takes place in the future. Ia listens to the classics, which she states is heavy metal. It's interesting to realise that in a few hundred years, the music we consider modern will actually be considered classical. It's surreal!

One part that I found very profound was where a character mentioned that once the Olympus Commonwealth passes the law to send refugees back, it's only a matter of time that people who come from the same planet but aren't refugees will be sent back. This is something that's so important to realise, and it applies to our real world as well!

There is a huge emphasis on the refugee crisis in space, and what is being done about it. This is in connection with the slavery plotline. I hope that the next book will focus on some of the characters who are refugees or slaves.

It's mentioned very casually that the rulers of the Olympus Commonwealth are Queens who are married to each other. It was lovely to read this and not have it become a big issue in the story.

I did NOT see the plot twists coming. The plot is one of the best. I enjoyed it so much. I felt for Ia during every loss, betrayal, win, and success. Not everything is black-and-white in this book, there are so many grays and some things are done better by one group and worse by the other, and vice versa.

There were some ableist words.


Ignite the Stars is a story that emphases belonging, knowing, and finding oneself. It discusses current political topics in a fictional space system.

Trigger warnings: violence, murder, slavery.

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Not just solid YA sci-fi, but some of the best sci-fi I've read in a while! Great characters, plot, everything. Thoroughly enjoyable.

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Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for sending me a digital ARC of "Ignite the Stars" by Maura Milan. I have noticed in recent years that YA Science Fiction has started to blend. Most of the characters and plot are the same but not with this book. It feels fresh and exciting. The book does read more for a teen audience rather than a crossover for adult and that is the only reason I didn't personally feel connected but I know teens will. I will be purchasing this book for the library that I work at.

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This was a fun read. The setup was simple enough to get you to crack open the book. The storytelling's pace is definitely enough to motivate you to read in one sitting. If you thought Potterverse needed to deal more with its geopolitical environment, you'll like how this has a bigger picture of its characters' conflicts.

I have a minor issue with the use of names like "Macross" and "All Black" because of real world copyrights, but that wasn't enough to get in the way of enjoying the book.

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I really feel like this could have been a strong book if a bit more attention was paid to the characters.

As a whole, Ignite the Stars had elements that could have made a wholly enjoyable story. It had space flight, a training academy, refugees, secrets, and three different characters from totally different backgrounds struggling with their identity in the unstable world. On paper, the description is so tantalizing, it's dripping with hot fudge. Somehow, the execution didn't play out in a way that felt wholly successful to me.

This book's description promises Ia, the Blood Wolf of the Skies, and her struggles as she is imprisoned at a military academy. Instead, the reader is given three different POVs. All of these characters are written out as interesting, but none of them really behave to character. The badass talks about being badass and is described in narration as badass, but ultimately does nothing to secure that title for the reader. The strong female character coming to terms with her heritage is presented as a powerful, intelligent young woman comes off as a sidekick needing constant guidance, and Brooding YA Hero?

Well, he's eternally a Brooding YA Hero. I'm not fond of this trope, so that's on me.

There are a lot of different directions this book could have taken to make it a more original and more interesting read, but instead various subplots are pushed to the side to make way for the Grand Plot, which even the characters don't feel wholly committed to. And the Grand Plot is interesting enough - I promise! I'm just had a difficult time believing in it, because it all felt so awkwardly forced.

Ignite the Stars is a book that really will appeal to a lot of readers, but don't jump in looking for too much depth and space adventure. Most of this book happens with two feet on the ground. If the characters were a bit more three dimensional and didn't feel so squished into the confines given them by the plot, I would have liked this a lot. As it was, I cringed. A lot.

It's so close. So very close.

But a lot of people who like YA sci-fi and bad girls gone good and Brooding YA Heroes will really like this one.

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I wanted to like this book, the Throne of Glass in Space had me intrigued...but sadly that's about all that happened there. It was just an ok read. The main heroine was fine, but it lacked in likablility for me. Maybe it was the space setting and the different things thrown in there about that. I adored Throne of Glass, but this book left me not really enjoying it. Overall, it's a fine enough read, just had higher expectations for it.

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I absolutely loved this book. It gave me major Star Wars vibes in the best possible way. Ia Cocha is both fierce and compassionate. I love her moral compass! To me, she is a perfect mixture of Han Solo and Princess Leia – she is fierce, compassionate, a rebel, and a scoundrel! Set in a new galaxy, Ia Cocha brings us with her on her inter-galactic adventures and I am here for it!

On top of such a wonderful hero, Maura Milan also gifts us with two fantastic side-characters who narrate their own sections: Brinn and Knives. I can’t go into too much detail about these characters or their story arcs because I don’t want to give any of the plot away, but I loved both of these characters! In many ways, I really related to both of them and I hope that we see more of them in the sequel.

All in all, this was a beautiful and amazing book and I recommend it to everyone who is a fan of science fiction. I can’t wait to see more of this galaxy and see what’s in store for our three main characters! Fans of The 100 and Illuminae will want to pick this one up!

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with an advanced copy of this book. (All opinions are my own)

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I am like, at least 99% sure that they updated the synopsis, because when I first came across this book, I swore it said:

"Think Throne of Glass set in space".

Although it definitely succeeded in catching my attention, I also became extremely wary. Throne of Glass? Those are some very big shoes to fill. Never the less, I still try to give this book a chance, because how am I going to pass that up?

I'm going to start off first by saying that I think they made the right decision to get rid of the line comparing it to Throne of Glass, because personally, this book does not live up to that title. Not because this book was bad or not fun to read at any means, just that I cannot find any real similarities between the two on the top of my head. The only one that I can think of immediately is that this book has multiple POVs. That's it.

Setting a work to be one thing when it's not and getting expectations in the wrong place is a perfect formula for failure. It will disappoint the audience even if the work itself is not bad, and I've seen so many books and movies destroyed because of this false marketing. So I'm glad they got rid of it.

But don't leave it! Do not give up on this book now that I said I don't think it's like Throne of Glass at all. 

I was really, really scared this is going to be a bad, or worse, just another mediocre book. I just finished a really good book, and so I was expecting this one to be bad because usually, right after you've hit a jackpot, the next one is not as good (or really bad).

I was (I'm not exaggerating) shocked that this book is actually...good.

Oh my god, this book is actually good.

Aside from how well constructed this science world building was as well as those FANTASTICALLY written character developments (I'll elaborate on those later), I first really need to praise the portrayal of Ia. 

Ia actually seems like who she was supposed to be. Her portrayal actually made it believable that she would be the most wanted criminal (and the best one) in the entire galaxy. I am so surprised about that.

Now it may seem like "why are you so surprised about that, isn't that something that was just expected?". Here's the thing, the idea of Ia is actually a really common trope. How many young adult books out there are featuring a main character that is "the best in (something) in the (somewhere)"? It's even more common for them to be something like "the best criminal" or the "best assassin", because since these two professions are a bit more aggressive, it'll make them easier grounds for an author to portray a real savage and bad - a** heroine. Also, a lot of people like these tropes, so these books are definitely targeted toward that audience.

But more often than not, none of those characters really live up to their reputation up to a believable level. In other words, the author fails to actually execute the portrayal enough for them to truly be believable. The mannerism may not fit, the attitude and narration tone may also not have lived up. You'll also be surprised that the authors so many times just plain out fail in letting these "masterminds" reach the level of ability that actually makes sense and proves why they're the best. These are all technical character portrayal problems.

There are two things the authors did that aid her in successfully excluding herself from that category of authors. First off, she used the perspective of Ia to its absolute complete filled-to-the-brink potential in letting us understand how her mind works (and in result shows lets us see for ourselves why she was the best). It was actually the first thing I noticed about her narration, and that was how she actually thinks like a criminal. The fact that I felt like her narration and mindset was different than a normal person made me realized how used I was to criminals that are not like criminals like all. It was because this was finally different, finally like a criminal that I noticed. She definitely had the out-of-ordinary precision and the habit to observe and memorize everything in her surroundings that a criminal (should) always have, and her pristine calculations she makes under pressure proves itself why she is the best. 

Another thing that stood out in her narration is her (definitely rightfully earned) arrogance/confidence (depending on your perspective). She was actually confident, and she knows she's good. This truly made me realize how much the other books are lacking this specific tone with their criminals. Those characters are literally legends, and there's a reason why they are so widely known (and most wanted). They should be confident, if not just plain out cocky. It doesn't mean the protagonist is a trash person. Is just that they know they are the absolute best, which they freaking are. 

This also reminded me to mention how the author did a great job in not making all the characters have the exact same tone in their narrations for the different characters. Great job on that too, I can actually tell the difference in the tone and attitude when reading them. That indubiously reflects on superb writing. The multiple switching POVs were also well-constructed and organized, so it did not feel like it was a whole jumbled up mess. Excellent  Job.

The author also nailed her goal in having a complete character arc for three different characters with three different perspectives. She was also smart enough to make it work by intertwining those arcs together so that it can all work, while at the same time it would not have to last too long. 

Everything about this story just screams to me excellent technique and excellent writing. You also know this book is good when this book doesn't even have that good of a hate-love relationship, and I still couldn't put the book down. Because for once, I really enjoyed this book not because of the relationships, but because of its story. 

And this is coming from the person that 9/10 like a book if it has a really good hate-love relationship (because an actual interesting story has been kind of hard to come across these days). SO YOU KNOW HOW BIG THIS IS.

Let's just say that no one can be more surprised than me to how much I actually enjoyed this book (and how good this book is).

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I write this review as a high school teacher-librarian.

This book belongs in the hands of students and in classrooms. While I wouldn't use it for a whole class read, this is perfect for books clubs, reading groups and individual reading programs. The action takes off right at the beginning and the characters are engaging.

Perfect teen read.

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Ignite the Stars is a fast-paced sci-fi adventure with strong female characters. If you can suspend disbelief to get past the idea that a 17-year-old girl has been the most wanted criminal/rebel in the universe for several years, then this book is a fun ride, with a side of social commentary on immigrants and refugees. It's a strong and very bingeable debut.

Ia Cocha is a "criminal mastermind" and talented pilot who has been hiding both her identity and her compassionate heart. When she allows herself to be captured in order to save the lives of Tawny refugees, she ends up imprisoned at a military academy. She is thrown together with Brinn, a student with her own secret who wants nothing to do with the notoriously brutal Ia. Cue political intrigue, teen drama, and spaceships!

This was a quick read and while it wasn't exactly ground-breaking, it was done pretty well for a YA sci-fi adventure. We've seen characters like this before, and Ia reminds me a little bit of Celeana Sardothian from Throne of Glass, except in space and without the royal heritage. I appreciated some of the snarky dialogue, the focus on female friendship, and the LACK of a love triangle! (And part of me wanted to see a romance develop between Ia and Brinn even though it didn't go that way. Fanfic anyone?)

But probably the best part of this book is the way it handles the othering of refugees and people from minority ethnic backgrounds. It feels very relevant to the world today, and comes with a strong message of accepting who you are and being proud of your heritage, even when people around you are hateful. And that is a great reason to read this.

Overall, while this isn't a perfect book, I enjoyed my time reading this and think it's worth picking up. I agreed to review an early copy of Ignite the Stars received via NetGalley. All opinions are my own.

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Ia is a rebel, a soldier, the protector of the disenfranchised. She's out to save the world from the corrupt Commonwealth. Her world is very black and white; what she believes to be the right way, and everything else is evil. And she is willing to do whatever it takes to bring down those who go against her.

And then she is captured. Her punishment? To train with the Royal Star Force, the very entity that she has been fighting all these years. And while she attends classes with other students, her world becomes more shades of gray.

Ignite the Stars is a masterful tale of justice, friendship and courage. One of the subplots is that Ia's roommate isn't what she claims to be. She is hiding a secret about her identity that threatens to destroy everything that she has worked so hard to achieve. I think students will connect Brinn's situation with what is currently happening in our own country, and that will lead to some great discussions!

I loved Ignite the Stars, and I think it will appeal to a variety of readers! There is just enough romance to satisfy romance readers. All the girls are kick-ass, which will appeal to readers who like strong girl characters. And there are detailed descriptions of jet fighters and epic battles to appeal to readers of action and adventure! I am definitely purchasing this title for the library, and I think my readers are going to keep it off the shelves!

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Ia shocks the universe when her true identity is revealed. She is the infamous rebel, criminal mastermind, and fierce pilot the Olympus Commonwealth has feared and pursued. With no other choice, she is sentenced to be enrolled in the empire’s most elite military academy. Here she meets Brinn, her roommate with a secret, and Knives, the handsome flight instructor with a past. Ia deserves to be a treasured sci fi icon. She is fierce, smart, and resolute.

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After reading a lot of fantasy, I needed a change and nothing better than a bit of SF.

A universe colonized by a government that continues to want to acquire new planets, peoples who are bullied after an old war that killed thousands of people, injustices ... Here is the universe of this book that mixes genres. Because yes, the starting point is clearly science fiction, planets, ships and everything I like in the genre. The fun part is the elements that the author integrates as the injustice toward a specific kind of people which gives a novel a bit of dystopia vibes and a message deeper than could be expected.

The book is narrated by three characters, we have our criminal space Ia, she is a well-built heroine, but a little classic, she lost everything because of the government and wants revenge, her evolution is well done, but a little predictable. We have next, Knives who is in charge of keeping her well-behaved in the academy, he is the most interesting character of the three, he has lost faith in his government and he is built with more layers and of course the romance between the two characters are super well done and slow burning and I'm waiting to see what will happen in the sequel. Brinn is a character who hides a secret, her mother belongs to the people that everyone hates, she refuses this heritage and her story will allow the author to talk about racism, identity and other stuffs. It's a pretty interesting character that will reserve us surprises in the sequel.

For the story of the novel, a lot of action, a lot of character development and a first tome that I find very successful. After, in all honesty, I think this novel remains in the things we could expect in a SF+YA book, the final revelations are promising, but still a little predictable, this is my only downside.This being said, this book is still very catchy and distracting and I hope that the sequel will be a little more suprising.

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Ignite the Stars is a fast-paced sci-fi adventure with strong female characters. If you can get past the idea that a 17-year-old girl has been the most wanted criminal and rebel in the universe for several years, then this book is a fun and quick read.

The best part of this book is the way it handles the treatment of refugees and people from minority ethnic backgrounds. It feels very relevant to the world today and comes with a strong message of accepting who you are and being proud of your heritage, even when people around you are hateful. This is another great reason to read this story.

I really enjoyed reading this book and think it’s worth picking up. I would like to thank NetGalley for the opportunity to review this book for Professor Owl’s readers.

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Ignite the Stars is a strong YA science fiction novel that will have readers hooked from start to finish. There is plenty of action, adventure, political intrigue, and even a bit of romance that only enhances the plot. The relationships feel authentic, while the characters feel real and flawed. I'd have to agree with the Throne of Glass in space comparisons. Highly recommend to those who enjoy The Lunar Chronicles.

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I was blown away by how easy it was to get into the story. Usually with sci-fi it takes me a few chapters to understand the world or the story itself, but with this particular book I found it extremely easy to understand everything that was going on. The information given to us at the beginning about the world building and the society wasn't confusing or boring, and I as kept reading the story things became better and better.

I would say, that though it had a nice and interesting plot, it was more a character driven type of story, because the book was more focused on the relationships and interactions between the characters and their overall development, which was pretty well done in my opinion. I adored the cast of characters and their evolution throughout the story, so I didn't mind a weaker plot.

Like I was saying, the characters were the strongest part of the novel. Our main character Ia was such a great and badass protagonist, and I absolutely adored her even from the beginning. The relationship she had with her roommate was so well written, and I actually really enjoyed the dynamics and interactions they had going on during the book, and how her friendship evolved and became a much stronger one at the end of the novel.

Though I feel the romance was a bit to rushed, I was glad to see that it wasn't the main focus of Ignite the Stars whatsoever. I liked the relationship between these two characters, and how the grew and changed as I kept reading the story, and mostly that it was a nice addition to everything that was going on in the book.

There were a few twists and turns from the middle to the end of the book, and though there were some that I was shocked and pretty surprised to read, I admit there were others that were a bit more predictable, but nonetheless it was still a very fast paced story with lots of action packed scenes.

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THAT “no one realizes that notorious outlaw … is a seventeen-year-old girl.” GOT ME, OKAY?!

Lately I have been automatically picking up female pirates and females in space. So I was instantly DOWN for this tough female lead sci-fi, and man, I was not disappointed. It was very easy to get into this story! Ignite The Stars is centered around our three protagonists (who are also our three narrators). Ia is an awesome, tough heroine, Knives is the slow-burn love interest who probably has the most character development, and then there is Brinn who has a big secret! The character development was all very complex, and the plot was action packed and fun to read! The evil, manipulative government system gave me Hunger Games vibes, but I loved the sci-fi spin to it!! Definitely looking forward to the sequel!!

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This books has a diverse cast, POC main characters and takes place in space! Do I need to go on?

The plot was very fast paced and had some twists and turns. One of the overarching themes is war and prejudice, and how it not only affects those displaced by war, but the reactions of citizens of the countries the refugees are fleeing to. One scene also touches upon how war affects both sides, those who survive battles and their loved ones. While I really liked this book, I am looking forward to book 2 to see how everything plays out!

The story is told from 3 points of view, which was unexpected but all views had a different tone. I wish the world building was fleshed out a little more. I got the general gist of the politics and locations but could have used some more description on the difference between the Commonwealth and Dark Space.

I recommend for people who like Throne of Glass (relating to how Celaena and Ia are similar in their methods - they have a sense justice though how it is meted out falls well into a gray area), The Lunar Chronicles, Illumine series, books set in space.

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for a free arc of this book in exchange for a review. This does not affect my opinion.

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I loved this book. It caught me right in the correct mood and I was hooked on page 2. Not many books can do that. The writing style went rather unnoticed so I don't feel like I can judge it properly .... the whole book just flew by and my mind was so caught up in the story that I did not notice I was reading it anymore.

I loved the strong female characters and the development of all characters. I really enjoyed that no character was set in stone, they all were strong in very different ways and they all went through a development, which in most cases was really believable (only Angie felt a little forced). I enjoyed the world with all its complexity and I feel like this universe has so many more stories that could be told! I am honestly surprised how flawless the worldbuilding just happened without me noticing. I am usually the type of reader that, in non-earth-settings, has to fight through several pages of confusion until the world comes together - not in this case. And by the end I was surprised how much I was shown from this world and its history in so little pages.
I even enjoyed the love interest and how they all struggled with heart vs head. I don't often ship, but these two I totally did.

The ending killed me - I should have seen it coming but I did not. And it was tearing at my heart.

Overall I truly had fun reading this book. Any book that I am able to forget everything around me and are completely in that story deserves a 5 star from me although I am quite aware that this is no literary masterpiece.

I believe people who might enjoy Throne of Glass and Enders Game should give this one a try.

Disclaimer: Copy provided by the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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 received a copy of this ARC from NetGalley for my honest opinion.

This novel succeeds in keeping the main cast count low, allowing for more development in the main characters. One of the things I enjoyed was how vast the development of the characters was from the beginning to the end of the novel. While the characters start out looking out for themselves and are mostly immature, they develop into complex characters who look out for the good of others. Ia, herself, is pretty whiny in the beginning but gets alot better as she matures!

While romance is not the main focus of this novel, it does still exist in the plot. One of the main focuses, however, is female friendship. The relationship between Brinn and Ia starts off very rocky and turns into something beautiful and complex. This relationship is really the star of this book and I can't wait to see how it unfolds in the next book.

As there are 3 main characters in this book, it is told from 3 perspectives which were written in a way where nothing was lost. The beginning of this book gave me Throne of Glass vibes which I enjoyed because it took inspiration from that novel without ripping it off. Another thing I enjoyed was the way the main Villain was revealed. I knew there was going to be a twist with the villain but I did NOT expect it to unfold how it did.

Overall, I was quite impressed with this sci- fi novel. This story was enjoyable and kept me guessing throughout. I really Loved the diversity among characters and the way that this played out in the story. This story wrapped up really well and I'm intrigued to read the second novel. You should give this a read if you enjoy space adventure and post apocalyptic sci- fi!

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Ia Cocha, Blood Wolf of the Skies, is the most feared criminal in the Commonwealth - so no one can believe their eyes when they find out this notorious outlaw is a petite 17-year-old girl. In order to avoid going to the worst prison imaginable, Ia agrees to join the Royal Star Force academy, living and working among her sworn enemies; the people who have been conquering the galaxy and contributed to the destruction of her home planet. Ia's every thought is directed towards escape, but over time doubts begin to encroach as she gets to know Knives, the academy's flight master, and Brinn, a cadet who shares a room with Ia.

Ignite the Stars is a fast-paced YA novel that mixes timely themes such as refugees and terrorism with fun science fiction. Each character is relatable in their own way, and the action pulls you through the story. I look forward to the next installment in the series!

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Guys! This book! 😍 The synopsis immediately grabbed my attention; the cover reveal (Asian model!) made me yearn for this book! So when I saw it on NetGalley, I ignored my looming (physical) TBR and requested the book! It was such a pleasant surprise to know I’d been approved.

Thank you, Albert Whitman & Company, for giving me a free, digital copy in exchange for an honest review!

I’ve been looking for a book to appease by craving for more sci-fi adventure after I finished Obsidio, and let me tell you that Ignite the Stars did the trick! You’re dropped right into the action, and it doesn’t stop until the very end. I fell absolutely in love with our cast of characters and adored how each had their own unique story that eventually intertwined.

One of my favorites parts of the story evolved around Brinn, one of the three main characters in Ignite the Stars. She’s biracial, which immediately drew my attention to her, and it’s something she struggles with through the course of the book. She even goes to some lengths to hide the parts of her that the people of the Olympus Commonwealth look down upon, especially with increasing tensions between the commonwealth and other planets. Yet the part Brinn tries to hide is the very part that becomes essential to the plot of the story, and it’s amazing to watch her transformation and acceptance of that fierce, strong part of her.

I also enjoyed the deep family ties both Ia and Knives had, Ia with her brother and Knives with his sister. In a sense, these two things brought the characters together in ways they didn’t imagine. And truthfully, I think Ia has depended so long on her brother, Einn, that when things take a dramatic and twisted turn, she has to be quick on her feet even more than usual. I also really liked the premise of Ia being one of the Commonwealth’s most sought after criminal and then everyone’s surprise that she’s a teenager. While I would have liked to see more of Ia’s antics, I definitely enjoyed her wit and strong personality while she’s at the military academy.

As for Knives… Looking for another smol book boyfriend? Just add Knives to your list. What’s not to love about him? He puts on a strong front, but he’s a total softie. I loved his interactions with Ia, and how the author chose to bring these two characters together. However, I did find some of the romantic bits between certain pairs of characters a little slow, and think perhaps it happened too quickly, especially for Brinn. Maybe because I just wasn’t expecting it?

In terms of the writing style, I found myself drawn to it and completely immersed in this galaxy. I know this book just released a few weeks ago, but I’m eagerly awaiting the next one just so I can return!

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~~I was provided with an ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review~~

I didn't know what to expect from this book. The Throne of Glass made me hesitant, but I'm glad I picked this book up. Ignite the Stars tells the story of Ia Cocha, one of the most feared intergalactic rebels and her sudden change of plans. I like that the characters in this story are completely nuanced and there is room for emotional depth. Although a teen novel, the story isn't too trope-y, and I definitely enjoyed the twists in the story. A good start for a series, I can't wait to see what the next book brings.

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As an Asian-American female, the cover of Ignite the Stars by Maura Milan absolutely took my breath away. YAS! Own that cover! Own the stars and space! This book is full of action and features a realistic science fiction world that I could actually get behind- it’s rare for me to not be cynical about sci-fi settings- and I can’t wait for more readers to get this in their hands! Note: I received a digital e-galley from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Ignite the Stars is much more than it seems, and while it may share similarities with Throne of Glass, The Lunar Chronicles, or even Red Rising- at its core, it’s a science fiction novel that celebrates strength in diversity, brains over brawn, and the dangers of segregation. Oh yes, it’s a jam-packed science fiction novel with starfights, plenty of innovative tech, and new futuristic slang, but there are some complex underlying themes that tugged at my heartstrings. Here are a few of the highly relevant topics addressed: amnesty for refugees, feeling ashamed of one’s race and identity, the aftermath of colonialism, and the grey moral compass of a military body. During a week where domestic politics has been packing a punch, reading a book that is able to take some of the grief I’ve been feeling and put them into context within a fictional world has been enormously therapeutic. It becomes a type of grief that I can now process.

Beyond the complexity of Ignite the Stars, the main characters are wonderfully dimensional. Ia is a fierce fighter and flyer and has terrorized the Commonwealth using her brains. She is unabashed about her kill count and celebrates her heritage as a Tawnee, a minor race of people identified by their navy blue hair and superior intellect. Brinn hides her true identity and tries desperately to fit into Commonwealth society- craving acceptance so much that she enlists in their military academy with hopes of becoming a hero- the type of hero who might capture a criminal like Ia someday. Both of these young women are flawed. But as a reader, you hope for them. You rally for them. I certainly did. Milan describes their fears and desires in a way that makes you understand why these women do what they do, and I empathized with them.

Admittedly, the first 25% of the book is somewhat slow as it builds up this brand new world that the book is set in. The wait is worth it, because the rest of the book is packed with action, both the close combat and space fighting type. I also really loved the world that Milan creates because it’s believable! There are lavatories! Unhealthy chocolate desserts! Borgs that need to be charged once in awhile! There are some unique properties to this setting that I also found hilarious- when the current generation refers to classical music from Ancient Earth, they are talking about rock ‘n roll.

I rate Ignite the Stars 4/5 stars!

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I adored Ignite the Stars so much. It deserves all the stars in the galaxy that's how much. In fact if you think our tastes intersect in any way, go find this book today. You will love it. Maybe not as much as I do (is that even possible?) but damn close. Seriously. Every thing from the Ia, her friendships, her vulnerabilities, her relationship with her brother. I can't even get over how much I adore this book. This the new review style from now on.
World Building

Let me start with a very easy thing to review (and keep my cool over): the world building. I could almost feel the metal beneath my feet as I read this. Even though a lot of this book takes place on this space station (and some other places I will not spoil for you), I could see the hallways. I could taste the chocofluff on my tongue. And I could feel the feelings of the characters so acutely. Ia's love of flying, the rush under her fingers, and the thrill under her skin. They were tangible, and very real to me. I could smell the smoke in the air.

But what I adored even more than that were the characters. Ia is my obvious choice for my love. She is so strong, intelligent, and arrogant. At the same time, when we are able to see into her thoughts, we sense her tenderness, her vulnerabilities, her guilt. And that makes her this rich three dimensional character. The way her shields come down as these people worm ways through cracks in her armor. We want to simultaneously protect her, support her, and, sometimes, yell at her. Just like all my favorites.

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Ignite the Stars is set in 8921 in the Olympus Commonwealth, the most powerful force in the galaxy. Ia Cocha, a criminal mastermind whose planet was destroyed by the Commonwealth, is captured and sent to their Royal Star Force academy on planet Apehelion. At first she is determined to escape, but slowly she begins to care about her cohorts, including Flight Master Knives, whose father captured her, and Brinn Tarver, Ia's roommate, who is hiding her half-Tawny heritage, which would endanger her safety. As Ia learns to trust her new friends, she discovers her brother, who she has always worshiped, is plotting against her. Chapters alternate between the three protagonists' perspectives as they discover that all is not as it seems in this action-packed sci fi adventure, which is filled with thrilling space battles and political intrigue.

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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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