by Jodi Meadows
Read: September 7 - 10, 2017
Published: September 12, 2017 by Katherine Tegen Books
Source: Galley from publisher (TY!)
Category: YA, fantasy, dragons, prison
Find: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | Indiebound
Mira Minkoba is the Hopebearer. Since the day she was born, she’s been told she’s special. Important. Perfect. She’s known across the Fallen Isles not just for her beauty, but for the Mira Treaty named after her, a peace agreement which united the seven islands against their enemies on the mainland.
But Mira has never felt as perfect as everyone says. She counts compulsively. She struggles with crippling anxiety. And she’s far too interested in dragons for a girl of her station.
Then Mira discovers an explosive secret that challenges everything she and the Treaty stand for. Betrayed by the very people she spent her life serving, Mira is sentenced to the Pit–the deadliest prison in the Fallen Isles. There, a cruel guard would do anything to discover the secret she would die to protect.
No longer beholden to those who betrayed her, Mira must learn to survive on her own and unearth the dark truths about the Fallen Isles–and herself–before her very world begins to collapse.
This is my third beginning of a Jodi Meadows series and as always, I was invested right from the start and could not put the book down. I wouldn't consider Before She Ignites to be high action, although it definitely has its moments. But that doesn't mean this story lacks intensity. In fact, there is a creeping sense of danger and urgency that underlies the entire story, and it continues to build as Mira spends more time in prison, and more is revealed about her past and the political climate of her world.
The first thing I fell in love with was Mira's voice, which is a good thing, because the story centers so much on her. Mira begins this novel naive and pampered, accepting her role as the public - and pretty - face of the Mira Treaty. She's been told that her looks are important and so she centers much of her self-worth around them, believing she doesn't have much more to offer. The only things she loves fiercely are her friends Hristo (who is her body guard) & Ilina, and dragons. It is the dragons where she gets herself into trouble.
Mira spends the majority of the story locked inside a prison, suffering mental and even physical abuse that could be difficult to read at times. But it is through this powerlessness, when her public voice and freedom is taken away, that Mira discovers her own power - to speak up and take action and do something . In many ways this book is the personal, internal story of one girl coming to terms with herself and her own strength. It is a tale that I found to be extremely compelling.
As Mira is coming to terms with herself, she's also uncovering secret government plots and lots of political intrigue. Many of these revelations were equally surprising to her as to me. I'm excited to see how all of this information plays out into plot action in the future. For the slow reveal of why Mira's in prison and what she learns about what's happening to her island nation, this book is centered on a lot of information gathering. But it is all a strong set up for the action that is to come in the future books.
Mira meets a lot of characters while she is in prison, some allies, some definitely not, though it's not always clear which is which. I am looking forward to getting to know many of these characters more deeply in the future books. This story also features the beginnings of a sweet romance. The kind of romance that Jodi excels at. But within the sweetness are jagged edges and differences that will continue to create tension going forward. I cannot wait to watch more develop between these two. Absolutely is no love triangle is to be found in these pages.
I loved this book so much because I connected with Mira right away and was rooting for her all along. I cannot wait for more of this series. More Mira and friends. More romance. More intrigue and action and revelations and definitely more dragons.
Love Triangle Factor: None
Cliffhanger Scale: Low/Med. Definitely the first book in a trilogy. But no painful cliffhanger. The book ends in a hopeful place with the anticipation of a lot more to come.
Two extra things!
2) This book is the subject of the latest Owl Crate, which was my first to get ever, and I'm very impressed. I haven't taken a good picture of it yet, but it includes a different cover than the standard hardback, and it's absolutely gorgeous!
See this and other bookish instagram pics at @loveisnotatriangle