Before She Ignites by Jodi Meadows (Fallen Isles Trilogy #1)
Published by Katherine Tegen Books on September 12th 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Action & Adventure
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 peace treaty named after her, an agreement which united the seven islands against their enemies on the mainland.
But Mira never felt perfect. 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.
** Received an ARC from HCC Frenzy for an honest review **
Before She Ignites by Jodi Meadows is the first book in a new fantasy series with not only dragons, but also stars an MC with an anxiety disorder! Honestly, the synopsis had me had dragons, but then they released the cover and I was hooked! I’ve read Meadow’s previous duology, The Orphan Queen, and I quite enjoyed it, so I went in with high hopes for this one!
I have somewhat mixed feelings about this Before She Ignites. I enjoyed the dragons, the mythology and the characters, but on the other hand, I found the pit (jail) portions of the book rather tedious and boring. So lets start with the good.
The author pays exceptional attention to detail in every aspect of her world – from the histories, cultures and politics of the people, to the individual isles and their attributes. Damina is depicted as a peaceful place with its scents, sights and sounds. The Heart of the Great Warrior is a magnificent, holy temple of the Khulani people and a huge underground training complex for warriors. It also contains the Pit, with horrific living conditions for its prisoners. The drakarium or sanctuary, with an enormous wall 17 stories high, is impressive. The descriptions of the various species of dragons, their colors, sizes and how they communicate, is fascinating.
Mira is spoiled and soft in the beginning of the book and suffers from severe anxiety. We see many times, that her anxiety takes over her body no matter how hard she tries to stop it. I hoped that we would be able to see her grow as a character and that her anxiety would be true to the representation. And that is what we got. But what I loved most about Mira and her growth is how realistic it is. Mira gets tougher, and it takes time. Mira does change but she also longs in a way for (parts of) her old life. Mira as a character felt real, her emotions felt real. Her growth and longing to a simpler world felt real. Mira proves that sometimes ignorance is bliss and there is NOTHING wrong with acknowledging that.
Now just a warning to the readers. Mira spends a good 2/3 of the book in the pit which is this world’s version of a dungeon or jail. Here she meets new allies and learns to grow stronger and that she doesn’t have to be a pawn to be used by everyone. I wish Meadows didn’t spend so much time with this portion of the book because it did feel a bit tedious and dry, but I can see the benefits it took on the story.
Meadows wrote a gripping story that I found mesmerizing. It is about trust, betrayal and standing up for what you believe in. With its complex protagonist, diverse collection of characters, political intrigue and array of fantastic dragons, I absolutely adored Before She Ignites. I’m very much looking forward to reading the next installment of the series.
I highly recommend this one if you like dragons, MC’s with disabilities, and beautifully built worlds. Let me know what you guys thought of Before She Ignites by Jodi Meadows! I would love to hear your opinions as well!
Until next time,
Jodi Meadows wants to be a ferret when she grows up and she has no self-control when it comes to yarn, ink, or outer space. Still, she manages to write books.
She is the author of the INCARNATE Trilogy, the ORPHAN QUEEN Duology, and the FALLEN ISLES Trilogy (HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen), and a coauthor of MY LADY JANE (HarperTeen). Visit her at http://www.jodimeadows.com