Ignite the Stars – Maura Milan

Title: Ignite the Stars
Author: Maura Milan
Series: Ignite the Stars #1
Genre: YA, Science Fiction
: September 4th, 2018 (Albert Whitman & Company)

: 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?

Ia Cocha is a criminal mastermind feared throughout the Commonwealth. Of course, no one realizes that Ia is actually a seventeen year old girl, and when the Commonwealth captures her, they send her to Aphelion, their elite military academy to be trained. Ia is determined to escape as soon as possible, but finds herself unexpectedly making acquaintances, maybe even friends at the academy.

Science fiction space operas seem to be the theme for me this year, and Ignite the Stars is a marvellous addition to this shelf. The three character POVs are well written and I found that the narration flows very smoothly between chapters. Character wise, I though Brinn was the most interesting, and her struggle with being biracial in a society that looks down upon people of her heritage was so well portrayed, along with her transformation throughout the book as she eventually embraces that part of her. Ia is familiar as a character and her arc is somewhat comparable to other protagonists in YA fantasy, so while her’s was an entertaining and enjoyable POV to read, nothing particularly stood out to me so far. Brinn and Ia’s friendship is beautiful though, and one of my favourite things about this book. The plot twist at the end was definitely unexpected and a great addition. I’m looking forward to seeing where this goes in the sequel.

The one aspect that I felt was a bit lacking was the world building. I would have liked to know more about the Commonwealth than the basics outlined so far, and what information we are given is all over the place. Add to that, I’m still a little confused about the ending, (mild spoiler!) namely why the situation with her brother would mean Ia siding with the Commonwealth, regardless of her loyalty to Brinn and Knives. Ia hates the Commonwealth for completely different reasons and this really shouldn’t be enough for such a drastic change.

Overall, this was a well done sci-fi adventure that kept me guessing throughout and is worth a read. For a debut, this was remarkably well written, and perfectly paced. Definitely recommended!

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Keep an eye out for my review of the sequel, Eclipse the Skies, coming soon!
Other reviews in this series:
Book 2: Eclipse the Skies



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