Before She Ignites (Fallen Isles Series #1)

Before She Ignites (Fallen Isles Series #1)

by Jodi Meadows
4.3 9

Hardcover

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Before She Ignites (Fallen Isles Series #1) 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Anonymous 28 days ago
This book is really intriguing the plot keeps the twists and turns coming. The book has Dragons in it which is always a plus because who doesn't love dragons? And the author does an amazing job of creating a character that has a mental illness (anxiety) without it being too overbearing on the plot (some might not even notice it) but it also being relatable to those suffering from anxiety in real life. I would definitely recommend this book. I love the story it tells about a girl with secrets and how she is taken out of her life of luxury because she chose to stand up for what is right in her book, she stood her ground nomatter what and the world needs more strong female characters like Mira.
LoLaJam 29 days ago
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.
AsDreamsAreMade 4 months ago
Dragons and politics and prisons–oh my! Mira Minakoba is famous for having the Mira Treaty named after her.  A treaty that assures the alliance of all the Fallen Isles under one banner and outlaws the capture of dragons.  She is the voice and image of the treaty and thus is expected to act accordingly.  However, when she discovers a sinister plot she can’t stand by idly.  Instead of finding the aid she thought she’d receive, she is thrown into the Pit–the most sinister of Prisons in all the Isles.  There, she must survive and find a way out with the help of her new friends before the fate of the Dragons–and the Fallen Isles–falls. I really enjoyed this one! I’d been looking forward to it for a long time.  I mean, dragons?! HELLO I’m so there.  Also, Jodi Meadows.  SOLD. Mira is an interesting character.  She suffers from anxiety and often involuntary counts to help deal with it.  She often gets panic attacks and puts her trust blindly into people she shouldn’t.  Her world is rocked when she’s thrown into the Pit and she must reevaluate everything she thought she knew.  At times she makes decisions that had you going girl, please! But by the end of the novel she comes into her own and learns to trust her own voice.  The secondary characters are diverse and well developed.  Her fellow inmates in the Pit give a harsh perspective to prison life.  I love Gerel’s no-nonsense outlook at life and Aaru’s gentle strength was amazing to witness. Jodi Meadows does a lot with only one main setting.  The world of the prison truly comes alive through Mira’s eyes.  Her dealings with her cruel and complicated jailer, Alton, make for some twisted reading material. The plot was a bit confusing at the beginning.  That was the only real issue I had with it.  It took me a while to get into it because the time of events was all over the place.  Almost every chapter would jump from flashbacks from years ago to present day to flashbacks from only a week prior to present day events.  It made for some confusing narration.  It gets better as the story progresses and more secrets are revealed, but you do need to stick through till the middle of the novel for things to really clear up and have a distinct timeline of events. The ending leaves you with a variety of questions and has you anxiously waiting for the next installment. If you love dragons (and who doesn’t?!) and a diverse main character who learns to find her strength against impossible odds, pick this book up! It will capture you with its complicated world filled with intrigue, conspiracy, wonderful characters and vivid imagery.
taramichelle 5 months ago
Before She Ignites was one of my most anticipated reads of this month. After finishing it, I’m somewhat conflicted about how I feel. There were aspects of it – namely the dragons, the mental health representation, and the POC protagonist – that I absolutely loved and I would recommend this book based on those alone. There were some parts that I felt could have been stronger but overall this was a good series opener. It left me intrigued enough that I’ll definitely be continuing with the series. When I first picked up Before She Ignites, I wasn’t sure what to expect other than dragons. This book absolutely delivers on that promise and I loved how in-depth it went into different types of dragons and their care. I do wish that they had been described a bit more in detail and that they had been included in the book more but that’s probably my inner dragon nerd speaking. One of my favorite parts of this book was how passionate Mira is about dragons. Even though she’s been told her entire life that it’s not appropriate for a girl of her status to love them, they’re the one thing she refuses to give up. In fact, most of the plot revolves around dragons, one way or another. It was really hard for me to connect with Mira at first. Her focus on beauty seemed a bit shallow to me, although it’s eventually revealed that her mother taught her that her only value is her beauty. Additionally, since the reader isn’t given any details initially regarding why she’s in the Pits, I wasn’t entirely sure if she deserved to be there or not. However, as the story progressed, I grew to really like her as a character. She is compassionate, kind, and determined. Plus she suffers from OCD and anxiety (both of which the author did a fantastic and realistic job portraying). It was wonderful to see Mira’s character growth throughout the novel as she developed into a strong young woman who knows that her true value lies in more than just her looks. Also, I adored who the love interest was and how their story developed. While I loved many aspects of this book, the storytelling style just did not work for me. It bounces back and forth between time periods, telling the dual stories of how Mira ended up in the Pit and how she survives there. It was incredible hard to keep track of where each chapter fit in the overall timeline. I also wanted way more details about the world earlier on in the story. Of note is that the synopsis pretty much summarized a majority of the story. While there was tension and intrigue in individuals chapters, I didn’t feel as if there was much of a sense of suspense overall. However, the story really started to pick up and get truly interesting toward the end. There was political intrigue, uprisings, dragon smuggling, and just a hint of romance. The story was wrapped up perfectly. Plus there was just enough suspense to make me want book two. Before She Ignites was a series opener that set up a fantastical new world full of dragons and political intrigue. There were some flaws but they were relatively minor compared to the strengths of this novel. I’m definitely going to be picking up book two! *Disclaimer: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
ruthsic 6 months ago
Meadow’s new series imagines a world where fallen gods are revered in specific islands, and dragons are protected as an endangered species. In Before She Ignites, we get to know the world through Mira, called the Hopebearer because her father was one of the architects of the treaty that unites the fallen gods’ isles and named it after her. She has been brought up like a politician’s kids – basically, all the smile and wave and look presentable at all times. Only, she has anxiety and OCD, and tries not to let it show for fear of not living up to her mother’s tough standards. Throughout her life, she has been held as a prop – and the one time she uses her position for a cause, she is put behind bars. The story starts with her in prison, and most of the plot arc is there – her fear of her prison guard, Altan, and the friendships she forms with the other inmates. She has been sheltered all her life, and now she is being physically and mentally tortured for the sake of information. As we get through the story, both in the present and the past, the truth about the treaty itself starts to reveal itself. And second to that, Mira’s own powers start to manifest. It gets a bit confusing at times, with the different facets of the fantasy element – the dragons, the noorstones, the powers confered on certain individuals – so it is hard to make out how they are linked, but I am hoping future books clarify that. The good things about the book start with representation – with Mira being a POC (I mean, just look at the cover), and having mental illness. It also has themes of xenophobia with one isle’s inhabitants being constantly picked on by other inhabitants. It also has disabled character rep in Aaru (I’m still watching how it develops, though). There is the utilization of the ‘pure virginal girl’ as a symbol, and how politics capitalizes on that. However, there are some part of the book that don’t make much sense plot-wise, like her council sentencing her to another island when they were afraid of her speaking up (why would you send your own prisoner to where your secrets could be leaked?), rather than, I don’t know, quietly putting her under house arrest. And as I said before, the link between the various elements and her powers is not explained yet. And the pacing is slow. Shortly, though, I think this is a good start to the series but could have been stronger. Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review from Katherine Tegen Books, via Edelweiss.
Aditi-ATWAMB 6 months ago
In a nutshell, why you HAVE to read this book: 1) DRAGONS. (Flying, fire breathing, fluffy, BEST MYTHICAL CREATURES EVER - dragons) 2) Main character suffers from Panic attacks (MENTAL HEALTH IN YA FANTASY. FINALLY) 3) MAGIC AND DRAGON TRAFFICKING AND WAR AND FINDING YOURSELF AND FRIENDSHIP. You’ll have to forgive me if most of my review is filled with capital letters because I just finished this book a few hours ago and everything – EVERYTHING, I TELL YOU (but especially the dragons) – about this book made me SO HAPPY. I missed Jodi Meadows’ writing and her way to twist the very world she introduced to you and EVERYTHING. And now I’m gushing, and sad it’s over and waiting desperately for book two. YOU NEED THIS BOOK IN YOUR LIVES. Let’s break it down: WRITING: Jodi Meadows’ writing has always taken me by a storm. It’s simple and sophisticated and totally eliminated that time you take to get used to a fantasy world, and allows you to simply slip in and out seamlessly. I loved how Mina was scared and made mistakes but she was pure of heart and her character came alive with the writing. IDEA: Let’s be honest – in a book with dragons, HOW CAN YOU GO WRONG? This book incorporates a main characters with mental health problems, in love with dragons even though she shouldn’t be and her growth as she learns about the real world locked in a prison underground. It was a gorgeous idea, and written really well and DID I SAY THERE ARFE DRAGONS? WHAT MORE DO YOU NEED? PLOT: While the idea and writing were really good, I feel like the plot could have been better? The book kept switching from past to present and not in a uniform way which slightly shook me. For a majority of this book, Mina is locked in a dark cell. Everything is done SO SO WELL – from the madness that ensures when she’s locked, the starvation and thirst and the need for human contact and communication and the lists in her head and her hallucinations. Jodi managed to capture the intensity of being a prisoner in harsh conditions very well. I can’t shake the feeling that BSI could have had a LITTLE less time in the prison and a LITTLE MORE out there in the real world, actually advancing the plot. I understand why all of it was essential to her character development but I wish a little more happened as well. CHARACTERS: The character of Mira Minkoba was BEAUTIFULLY brought out. The peace treaty between the islands was written with her as the ‘Hopebearer’ and all her life she’s been a pretty doll for the ruling council until she speaks up and gets thrown into a prison for life. She suffers from panic attacks, her self-image is in shambles and she’s never had to survive on her own until the prison, and how she grows (slowly but surely) was an amazing journey to witness. ALSO, SHE LOVES DRAGONS AND I LOVE HER. I loved her best friends as well – every good book needs good best friends and she had friends that would risk their lives for her. Mina’s prison cell mates and the evil guards were also done really well. Her relationship with Aaru was one of the highlights of this book – I loved their method of communication, how they bonded and the powers of theirs that we got hints of. I’m very excited to see how everything goes in book two. CONCLUSION: I LOVED THIS BOOK. It had dragons and mental health and friendship and love and politics and conspiracy and YOU NEED THIS. Another masterpiece from a Queen of Fantasy. 4.5 stars.
YAandWine 6 months ago
BEFORE SHE IGNITES is absolutely a game changer in the fantasy genre. I have never before seen mental health as such a focus in a fantasy novel, and it was so refreshing and inspirational. This book is a wonderful demonstration of the fact that there is more than one way to be strong female character. Plus, there are DRAGONS in this book! It's been wonderful to see so many contemporary novels focusing on mental health recently, but this is the first time I've seen it focused on to this degree in a fantasy novel. Mira's struggle with severe anxiety is so important for readers of this genre to see, and I hope to see much more of it in fantasy novels in the future. As readers, we have been talking a lot about strong female characters over the past years, and I think it's absolutely crucial to recognize that strength is not limited only to being a kickass character. In this novel, Mira truly demonstrates the degree of mental strength it requires to cope with a severe anxiety condition. The setting in this novel is also quite stunning. I loved the Fallen Isles and thought they made for a beautiful backdrop, and I also felt that the political corruption and machinations added a really fascinating element to the story that I can't wait to see more of in the next book. The story itself was captivating. I loved the pacing and the way Meadows brilliantly blends the past and present timelines. The conclusion of the story was gripping and has me absolutely itching to get my hands on the next book. The supporting cast of characters is also fantastic, and there are hints of a sweet romance blossoming that I found absolutely charming. This is definitely one of my favorite fantasy novels of the year. It is original and important, and I definitely cannot recommend this book highly enough.
ahyperboliclife 6 months ago
3.5 Stars “I had knowledge. I had power. I had a voice. And it was my duty to use them all.” Dragons and mental health rep in a fantasy is the recipe for a good book. Mira Minkoba is told she’s special, so when she uncovers a dangerous secret that threatens the Treaty that keeps peace between the Fallen Isles, she thinks the council will listen. Betrayed and alone, Mira is imprisoned and must battle her own demons to discover the truths that will save her world. Things I Liked I love that we got to see some mental health represented in a fantasy story. Mira has severe anxiety and compulsive counting. We see her struggle with both through the story and dealing with panic attacks as well. It’s always awesome to see more neurodivergent representation in YA literature, and it’s inclusion in a fantasy setting is something I definitely want more of! Dragons are always a bonus in any books. Now we don’t get to see as many dragons as I was expecting and that was a bit disappointing, but they do have a presence in the story. They are upheld as vital to the peoples of the Fallen Isles. The dragons in the story are approached in a very scientific manner, with proper classifications, which was different but kind of cool. I would have liked more dragons/dragon interactions, but I liked what we got. I feel like we got a very focused sort of worldbuilding in the story. We really only got worldbuilding that was relevant to the plot at hand, but I did like everything we learned. I liked learning about the Mira treaty and its implications for not only the seven Fallen Isles, but the mainland Algotti Empire. I like the bits of information we got about the different cultures and beliefs of the Fallen Isles - how some beliefs are transcendent like the Great Abandoning, and others are independent to their respective islands like how the people of Idris communicate or how the people of Bopha worship. I like that each of the Fallen Isles represent a god with their own views and ways of living. Aaru is such a kind and gentle soul. He was probably my favorite character. He was so easy to latch onto and care for. I loved him a lot and I really loved the friendship that develops between Aaru and Mira. Things I Didn’t Like This was my first encounter with a Before/After format in a fantasy novel, and I have to say it wasn’t my favorite. I felt like the format disrupted the story for me and kept all of the worldbuilding pieces farther apart. For me, worldbuilding is such a huge part of fantasy stories, that I wished it was more cohesive and fluid. I had to remind myself of what I knew, when the characters learned certain informations, It just wasn’t my preferred style. The biggest issue I had with the story is that I wanted more. This goes beyond having some unanswered questions, but I felt like I was just missing some information. I didn’t feel like we learned a lot about some of the Isles, or the mainland, Algotti Empire. For noorestones being a pretty important feature in the story, I felt like they weren’t explained very well, so when they behave differently I didn’t know why I was supposed to care. I also felt like the political system wasn’t clearly defined. While I did enjoy parts of the story, I was underwhelmed by the whole thing. I love Mira’s journey and the neuordivergent representations. Before She Ignites is a fun story in an exciting world, and I can’t wait to learn more about it in book 2. Received from the pub. for honest review.
Barb-TRC 6 months ago
Before She Ignites by Jodi Meadows is the first book in her new YA fantasy Fallen Isles Trilogy. Mira Minkoba, our young heroine, is the face of the Mira Treaty; someone whom the people believe in and trust, even if she is only a teenager. In reality, Mira doesn’t really understand the political aspects of her role and is only a chosen spokesperson that is given a script to read to the public. Mira spends most of her time with her guard and friend, as they help train and take care of Dragons, who are protected, as part of the treaty. Mira adores her two little dragons, LaLa and Crystal. Mira accidently learns some truths about the Dragons that seem to be disappearing, and is thrown into prison (Pit), which is the lowest depth of humanity. Mira has always had anxiety, and when she sits in her prison, trying to understand what is happening, she begins to hyper ventilate when the lights go out. Mira must find her courage, and learn to make friends with her co-prisoners to find a way out. After a month in the worst conditions, Mira is unexpectedly released to one of the Fallen Isles leaders, and taken to another area where they want to her talk to the people. Mira learns more, seeing some of the dragons killed and used for illegal trafficking; she surprises the leaders and warns the people that they are being lied to. Mira will with the help of her guard and friend, manage to escape, but she is determined to help save the inmate friends who she met and helped her. What follows is an exciting and interesting adventure, where Mira will rise up and learn that she has powers she never knew existed, and with her friends they will fight an all out battle for survival to escape the prison. I really liked Mira, as she was a simple girl, who followed what was expected of her; but had her own flaws (anxiety), and insecurity. It was nice to see her grow in maturity and strength during the course of their adventure. The secondary characters, her guard, friend, inmates, including the villains were well written. As in most first books of fantasy, there are some slow parts, which is necessary to allow us to learn the new world and meet the main characters. Early on, I was not enamored with the flipping around between many time elements, which did cause some confusion. I did like the Dragon storyline, but would have liked a lot more. Meadows has done an excellent job of creating this world, and I look forward to what she has in store for us in the future books. The ending, which did have a few twists, is not truly a cliffhanger, but it is left open for continuation of the story. Before She Ignites was a good start to this series, with an excellent leading character, good secondary characters, exciting, bad villains and dragons. If you enjoy fantasy in a different world, I suggest you give Before She Ignites a try.