Ignite by Sara B. Larson
In this sequel to Defy, Alexa and Damian face a new threat – supposedly from the allies they just made. Can they stop the real bad guys from spreading their magical influence across Antion and prevent a bloody war?
Publisher’s Description: Murder, kidnapping, and forbidden romance abound in this thrilling sequel to Sara B. Larson’s acclaimed YA debut, DEFY.
Alexa continues to harbor a secret love for the newly crowned King Damian, yet she remains by his side as his guard and ever committed to helping him rebuild Antion and reclaim the hope of Antion’s people. However, when a new threat to Damian and his kingdom emerges, and blame is cast on the once friendly nation of Blevon, Alexa knows things are not what they seem. Once again the fate of her country hangs in the balance. Will Alexa be able to protect her king and uncover the true enemy — before it’s too late?
Possible spoilers beyond this point.
Kat Mandu says…
The characters in Ignite are what make this story for me, even more than the engaging plot. We are introduced to familiar faces and also meet a few new bad guys that provide trouble for Alexa, Damian, and the rest of the Antion realm. Tanoori and Eljin are two of my favorites. Tanoori is fierce and heroic, but also charitable as she helps out with the process of rebuilding Antion despite her troubled past. Eljinn is also a character with a hidden past and a scar that bears the burden of that history on his face. He’s a sorcerer and well, he’s a badass.
Also new to the story are the two twin villain sorcerers, Rafe and Vera, who are skilled in mind control. They’re using their power to manipulate both Blevon and Antion in hopes that the two will go to war with each other so that Armando, Damian’s evil uncle, can take over the whole world and gain access to magic that will make them essentially unstoppable.
Though I’m certainly a little bit leery of the romance issue between Alexa, Damian, and Rylan, the excitement of the plot makes up for what that plot lacks. It’s engaging – I especially love the scene where Alexa defies orders and goes to interrogate Manu. Magical fight scenes are always epic and this particular one was no exception. In fact, it was probably my favorite scene in the whole trilogy.
The romance just still doesn’t do it for me. I know that Alexa turns Damian down at the end of Defy, for personal reasons (she doesn’t think she’s good enough for him, or good enough to be queen); but in this, she’s forced to admit she really loves him in order to break him out of Vera’s spell. I just felt like it was a convenient little tidbit that made the story flow. Real mind control doesn’t break like that (for the record, I thought it was weird in Divergent too, when Tobias was under mind control and attempted to kill Tris; this was a very similar scene).
And then Rylan (who is upset for being turned down for the same reason I was upset she turned him down) is naturally, kind of hostile to Alexa. AND SHE’S ALL LIKE “BUT Y U MAD?” and tries to act like things are normal, but they aren’t. And it’s frustrating.
The major moment in this book that I was so incredibly flustered with – and this isn’t really a spoiler because there’s several moments where she’s with Rafe. But this really did it for me and is the reason I give it a three. At one point in the book, Alexa is positioned on a tree where she is overlooking the Daniisian (the enemies in the story) camp, where Rafe, the bad guy, is holding Damian’s half-brother hostage. She’s wearing A FRICKING BOW AND ARROW and is within range of killing Rafe, but doesn’t. She even feels HELPLESS to do anything as Rafe threatens to abuse the child. My thoughts when reading this scene?
WHAT THE SAM H HELL?!!! SHOOT HIM! YOU’RE A BADASS WARRIOR WITH ARCHERY SKILLS. If Alexa would have shot him, half her problems would have been solved. I MEAN, COME ON. I’ve never really felt like Alexa was smart, which might have been okay because she was very involved and fierce. But at this point, I felt Alexa was really dumb.
And I know. If we kill off Rafe, it would have removed one of the major plots to follow in the third book. But Rafe wasn’t the main villain, he was just one of the lead bad guy’s minions. SO THEREFORE SHE COULD HAVE SHOT HIM.
Alas, she did not.
Again, this isn’t a bad story. Rating it a three doesn’t mean I hated it. I just liked it. No more, no less. If you’re looking for a cool follow up high fantasy tale set in the jungle with some pretty cool characters, I recommend this book.
Our reviews in this series…
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Recommended for fans of Kiersten White, Sophie Jordan, and Tamora Pierce.