Book Review: Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi

About the Book

The heart-stopping conclusion to the New York Times bestselling Shatter Me series, which Ransom Riggs, bestselling author of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, called “a thrilling, high-stakes saga of self-discovery and forbidden love.”

With Omega Point destroyed, Juliette doesn’t know if the rebels, her friends, or even Adam are alive. But that won’t keep her from trying to take down The Reestablishment once and for all. Now she must rely on Warner, the handsome commander of Sector 45. The one person she never thought she could trust. The same person who saved her life. He promises to help Juliette master her powers and save their dying world . . . but that’s not all he wants with her.

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My Thoughts

Read my review of the first book, Shatter Meand second book, Unravel Me.

Can I just start by saying how much I utterly adore Kenji? He's my main man, my favorite friend, just the absolute best. I love that Juliette is only ever friends with him and there's no romantic tension or anything, you know, the platonic mixed-gender relationship that books so rarely get right. But man, if I had to choose a date from these books, forget the love triangle. I'm going straight for Kenji, no question.

Plot: we start with romance and feelings and drama... and eventually, after much much of the Feelings and Drama, get to the training and planning... and then, at the very end, the action comes in with a bang.

Some readers, many readers, probably felt that this book was too slow. I mean, it kind of almost reminded me of the dreaded "middle book" in most trilogies. Except, I still loved it. The Drama and Feelings at the beginning were annoying and dragged on, but I didn't feel like it was a product of slow writing. I felt like it was the characters (well, one character mostly) being... let's just say, the best way to describe him would be with words I don't use on this blog. So, yeah. I wanted to wring Adam's stubborn, self-absorbed, entitled little neck.

The first chunk of this book is focused on the love triangle, which is why it's all Drama and Feelings. I read through it pretty quickly, desperate to just get rid of Adam already, which was so weird since I was 10000% Team Adam when this series started. How did I get from just-kill-Warner-already to just-ditch-Adam-already? This is what character development does to me, people.

Drama and Feelings on pause, the characters get to the Training and Planning. The major let's-overthrow-the-government-and-save-everyone assault plan in book two failed colossally. Most of Omega Point is gone, and the few survivors are left with the choice to trust Juliette and her faith in Mr. Psycho Murderer, or slowly starve to death in their cramped, freezing hiding place. Juliette, a changed woman after her near-death experience last book, has finally reached a point where she just doesn't have time for Adam's emotional bull and won't let her friends fall apart like she did before. So, by some miracle of love and friendship and incredible determined focus on her goal, she brings together the people she wants and needs and gets them to work together to Save the World.

(The next two paragraphs aren't super relevant so if you don't want to watch me process my feelings, skip ahead.)

Of course, Drama and Feelings are never completely gone, and certain revelations from book two make some big waves in book three. I spent a lot of time closing the book to just process all the relationship stuff going down. I couldn't believe how terrible Adam was acting, but I also could; he fell in love with the soft, quiet, timid little girl that he could save, and he wanted her back. Instead of accepting that Juliette wasn't that person anymore, he insisted that she had lost her mind and Warner was manipulating her and she just needed to listen to him and love him and forget about saving the world because that doesn't really matter. UGH. Anyway. Like so many first loves, Juliette and Adam had lots of hormones and feelings and intense novelty in their relationship, and they became totally absorbed in each other and their ideas of who the other person was. But now that they're getting to know each other for real, it's obvious that they don't work, they don't belong together, and neither is who the other person expected. I just wished Adam could be honest with himself and process his pain and move on instead of being SUCH A-

Whatever. Also, I felt so conflicted about Warner. It took me a while to warm up to him, just like Juliette. But like she tries to tell her friends, he's just so incredibly human. His past is so dark, it's heartbreaking. His circumstances don't excuse his behavior now, but they make him seem less awful now, somehow. I'm a little hesitant to accept his "I don't need to change and I won't" party line, but I also get what he means when he says he's the same person he always was, Juliette just has new information that changes her perspective. I'm still processing a lot about him, but I so enjoyed watching his and Juliette complicated relationship develop.

Moving on.

(If skipping, resume here.)

I appreciated all the training scenes. Too many books and movies show characters kicking butt and saving the world without addressing the fact that they literally just got powers/met their mentor/discovered their destiny or whatever like two weeks ago. Juliette's team also doesn't have a lot of time, but they spend every moment they can for several weeks training, and seeing that described rather than skipped over felt really satisfying.

I won't spoil the ending, but it was cool. The plan fit so well with everything leading up to it. My only complaint is that it ended too quickly. Anderson threw a curveball at the last minute, but in the heat of battle there was no time to really explore that. The limitations of Juliette as narrator felt most constricting in this section, since there was a whole battle raging elsewhere of which we saw nothing at all. And the ending felt so abrupt, with no epilogue or flash-forward. Which works in light of the upcoming fourth book (Restore Me, releasing March 6), but if I'd read this when it came out and there were no plans for more books... I would not have been satisfied with that last page. I don't want to end with "we won the battle," I want to see them put together new life after the war.

So, like the rest of the series, this book is not for everyone and would not stand well on its own. But again, if you're committed to the series and willing to keep reading after "the end," this book is a lot of fun with so many feelings.


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