Ignite the Stars

Ignite the Stars

by Maura Milan

Hardcover

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780807536254
Publisher: Whitman, Albert & Company
Publication date: 09/04/2018
Series: Ignite the Stars Series , #1
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 135,099
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.40(d)
Age Range: 12 - 18 Years

About the Author

Maura Milan received her BA in Film Production from USC's School of Cinema-Television and currently lives in Los Angeles, where she works in video production. Ignite the Stars is her first novel.

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

IA

SHE WAS SEVENTEEN, and her life was about to end.

The girl pushed back strands of her tangled black hair and pressed her forehead flush against the glass window. Outside were twenty starjets from the Royal Star Force, the military fleet of the Olympus Commonwealth. A shimmer of panicked whispers flittered around her, and she realized the other passengers had seen the squadron coming their way, too.

The girl glanced over her shoulder and caught sight of the Elder moving through the crowd of Tawny refugees, trying to quell the growing panic.

"Why the mif is the RSF here?" she called out to him. The

Elder shook his head, his lips drawn into a tight line. "If Deus is on our side today, Girl, they'll wave us by."

The passengers on the ship called her "Girl," which was fine by her. After traveling with them for a month, she didn't know their real names either. Her dark hair and golden skin stood out in this crowd like a crooked screw on a brand-new sheet of metal. The twenty-seven Tawny refugees on the ship all had milky complexions and hair as blue as the deepest ocean. That was what happened in the All Black. You got mixed up with all sorts of different people just trying to survive.

The RSF starjets knocked into the transport ship's hull, and the ship pitched forward. The girl heard the screech of metal scraping against metal, of screws twisting and connecting. The RSF had sealed its docking bridge to the transport ship's air lock.

The Elder held a hand up, attempting to ease the wave of anxiety passing through the crowd. "The air-lock door will hold. They won't be able to board without permission."

The girl held her breath, praying he was right, wishing that door was made from the strongest vinnidium steel instead of salvaged antique metal.

A tinny voice came through the speakers. "The Royal Star Force requests entry to your vessel."

Fear ripped through her. What were they searching for? Weapons? Contraband? She swallowed, her throat tight. The Royal Star Force had a reputation of being rougher out in the Fringe territories. Olympus had no problem taking everything from the many people of the Fringe — their homes, their water, their fuel, and their planets.

The Elder rushed to an intercom speaker and pressed a thumb to a red sensor. "We are outside Commonwealth territory. This ship is not subject to your jurisdiction. Be kind and pass."

But there was no response. Only a gentle hiss permeating through the small holes of the intercom speakers.

Silence settled, and then came some light taps on the metal, one for each hinge on the entry door. From all her years traveling in the All Black, surviving scuffles against pirates and black-market traders, the girl knew what that sound meant.

"Take cover!" she screamed.

A dull tone reverberated from outside, followed by a loud boom. The doorway flew inward, carving a hole in their ship. Passengers scattered as twisted pieces of metal flew their way. Even with a veil of smoke hanging over them, the girl heard the shuffle of footsteps and armor, and she knew. The Royal Star Force was boarding.

The Elder grabbed her shoulder. At such a close distance, she saw the gray hairs speckled throughout his navy-blue mane and the age spots dappling his cheeks. But despite his years, his eyes were bright as starlight.

"Best to stay out of sight." The Elder pulled her away from the windows, and she was swallowed up by the crowd. Around her, everyone's shouts merged into one, and she felt her lungs compress as bodies drew tightly together. The smoke settled, and small orbs fixed with camera lenses flew out from the docking tunnel. It was the Commonwealth's media; they had sent their little Eyes to film and broadcast this entire thing. One camera drone buzzed by so close that it tousled her hair. She glanced at each Eye, watching them change position to find the perfect angle to capture the passengers' distress.

It was then she realized: this wasn't a routine search.

"Where is he?" A thick voice bellowed from the other side of the threshold. A formation of officers emerged from the docking bridge, followed by a large figure. The girl recognized him from the broadcast streams: General Adams, a war hero celebrated throughout the Commonwealth. The medals on his chest — shaped like golden stars and silver olive branches — jingled as he walked.

"Where is I. A. Cocha?" he growled.

As if on cue, Commonwealth holoscreens appeared around them. On the screens was a Wanted banner, one she had seen over and over again, plastered on interstellar gates, projected on travel hubs — anywhere people could see. The banner had an image of a helmet, a red feather painted across its helm like a stain of blood.

General Adams was after I. A. Cocha, a monster with many names: the Sovereign of Dead Space, the Rogue of the Fringe Planets, the Blood Wolf of the Skies. Cocha was the most dangerous criminal in Commonwealth history.

General Adams surveyed the faces of the Tawny refugees. "I don't care much for guessing games. I know he's here. Send him forward."

The girl stayed hidden, waiting for someone to speak. The tension among her fellow travelers thickened, but even with the surmounting pressure, they nodded knowingly to one another, a secret agreement to stay silent.

"So be it." Adams motioned for his soldiers to come forward. All fifty of them were armed with laser pistols lethal enough to burn everyone on the ship to ash. The General's blue eyes glinted like a newly polished dagger. "I'll just have to shoot all of you."

General Adams raised his weapon at the nearest Tawny, a teenage boy. Adams would kill him, just because he could. The girl's heart raced, rage boiling inside her. Surging forward, she grabbed an orb from her side pack and threw it down. A translucent-green energy force field spidered upward to the ceiling, creating a protective wall between the passengers and the RSF.

Across the barrier, General Adams grimaced. "Who are you?"

The girl slammed her palm against a button on the collar of her suit. Her helmet slid on, smooth and automatic. Upon its brow was a blood feather, shining in the darkness. To many, it instilled fear, but to her, it inspired hope. "I think you already know."

The General's eyes widened in recognition. "I. A. Cocha."

Ia stared him down. "It's pronounced Eye-yah. You don't spell my name; you say it."

Gunfire erupted, and the air was filled with a flurry of bright-blue energy blasts. They showered around her, absorbing right into the protective wall of the force field.

This type of force field was called a Carpion shield, designed to block any bullets coming from the other side of the protective wall, but any gunfire originating from within would pierce through. Ia grabbed the energy pistol holstered in her boot and aimed. Shot by shot, her bullets soared through the shield and toward the soldiers. Her aim was precise and clean. But there were too many of them, and she didn't have enough of a charge to pick them all off.

She checked the orb at the base of the shield. The meter showed 50 percent strength. The shield was strong, but it wouldn't last. If she wanted to survive this, she had to act quickly. Ia ran to the overheard bin above her seat and grabbed her pack.

She turned back to the Tawnies. "You have a choice," she told them. "You can get to the escape pods, or —"

She threw her pack onto the f loor, revealing her stash of weapons. No more shields, but she did have more than enough guns.

"This is our ship," the Elder said, stepping forward. "We fight."

Ia pulled out her favorite hand cannons and tossed them to him.

"Aim for the quartered shield." It was the symbol of Olympus, a red-and-white shield embroidered on every RSF uniform, stitched on the chest pocket right at their hearts. The perfect target.

She quickly distributed the rest of pistols to the others in the group, and soon they were firing across the force field.

The Tawnies had terrible aim. Their rounds burst the pipes, dinged the softer metal of the ship, and hit everything but the RSF officers. The Elder and his group weren't warriors. They were civilians.

Ia glanced again at the meter on the Carpion orb. It was at 35 percent. At the state they were in now, they weren't going to win. She had to call in an even bigger gun for that.

She blinked inside her helmet, accessing the ArcLight, a communications system that spanned the known galaxies. A holo-image flickered onto a small panel on the right side of her visor. She sighed in relief at the sight of Einn Galatin's face. It was like hers. Black hair, golden skin. But her brother's cheekbones were more pronounced. Sharper, more angular. And his eyes were a different color, a stormy gray instead of her coal black. An image of two white hearts cast side by side was pinned prominently onto his collar. Their father always told them it was their family symbol. It meant loyalty, a word wasted on the father who had abandoned them long ago, but very fitting for her brother. Einn was the only person she could ever count on.

"Ia." Her brother crinkled his forehead. He did that when he was angry. "Where the mif have you been?"

It had been months since she'd seen her brother. With the end of the Uranium War, the Commonwealth's leaders had increased their efforts at hunting down the criminals on their Most Wanted list. Ia had gone into hiding, hoping the heat on her would eventually die down. It never had.

"I'm in some deep mung, Einn. The Bugs found me."

That was what everyone on this side of the galaxy called the officers of the Star Force: Bugs. Ia had spent her whole life swatting them down, but no matter how many she killed, there were always more who took their place.

"What?" Einn asked. "How?"

"Don't know. I cloaked my signal with Alary tech, but that miffing general still knew I was here." She grunted, firing another round across the force field.

Her brother's eyes darkened. "Ia, get yourself out of there."

She shook her head, beads of sweat dripping down her forehead. "It's not that easy. There are innocents onboard. Tawnies." She kept her eye on the firefight, watching the Tawnies as they attempted to defend themselves. Their firepower and skill weren't even close to being enough. "We need your help."

"You don't have to save every refugee who crosses your path."

"Einn," she whispered. "Please."

Her brother shook his head in resignation. "Ping me your location. Try to hold them off until I get there."

Her heart leaped. "I owe you one, Brother."

"Just survive. That's all you need to do."

Ia nodded. "May your eyes be open, Einn."

Einn said the words as though they had been programmed into his heart. "And your path be clear."

It was their farewell, the lines they spoke to each other before they parted at each mission. A secret prayer to keep them safe. As he signed off, Ia reminded herself that he was right. She had to get through this. She would find a way. They didn't call her the Blood Wolf of the Skies for nothing. With their viselike jaws and mighty wings, Lavisian blood wolves were vicious contenders in the Dead Space betting pits. And just like those fierce creatures, if anyone backed Ia into a corner, she was going to bite right down to the bone.

Ia took aim, gunning down as many RSF soldiers as she could.

One down.

Then another. And another.

Ia smashed her palm against the butt of her pistol, but her ammunitions chamber hummed to silence. She was about to ask someone to toss her another gun when she realized the gunfire on her side of the ship had gone quiet. Their ammo had run out. They had nothing else to use to defend themselves. She breathed heavily, her eyes shifting from the never-ending fire coming from the Star Force's side. Each bullet further drained the strength of her shield.

The media's Eyes flew to the front lines, pointing straight at her.

"It's over, Cocha," General Adams hissed. His white teeth reflected the lights of the cameras. "I don't even need to wait until that flimsy shield of yours runs out. I can just gas this entire ship and end it now."

Ia's heart pounded deep inside her chest. She glanced back at the Tawnies. This was a passenger ship, which meant there would only be one grav suit, maybe two. They'd never withstand a chemical attack.

"I see you figured it out." The General's voice interrupted the zigzag of her thoughts. "You have enough air in your helmet for what? Two hours? All these Tawnies will be long dead by then." His quiet calm slashed like a razor into her skin. "Or, you can surrender."

Ia gazed out the window. Five more RSF battleships had joined the others, completely surrounding the Tawny ship. Each one of them was big enough to house fifty starjets. Even if Einn was on the way, he wouldn't be able to break through them.

General Adams turned to one of his lieutenants. "Get the gas ready."

Ia heard cries of panic from behind. She glanced back, her eyes landing on a Tawny woman holding her child and shielding his eyes so he wouldn't have to see their fate. The Elder stroked her hand, trying to keep her calm.

Ia took a deep breath as a decision shook her bones. General Adams might have won, but there was still something she could do.

"I'll surrender. On one condition ..." Ia said. "Name it."

She dropped her pistol, nozzle clanging sharply on the floor. "Take me, but only me."

A smile slithered onto General Adams's lips. "Done."

Ia ripped her helmet off, her eyes searing into the general. "We have a deal."

The general looked back to the one of the officers. "Tell the ships to clear a path."

The Elder looked over at her in alarm. "What are you doing, Ia?"

"You helped me," she whispered, just loud enough that the Elder could hear her. "You didn't have to, but you did." She glanced at all the Tawny refugees. There were twenty-seven of them, enough to fit into the two escape pods built into the ship. "Get to the pods. My brother will find you." She looked back to the Elder, and she paused, her heart heavy with guilt. "I should have told you who I am."

"We knew, Girl. You can't outsmart a Tawny."

"Then why take me in?"

His eyes shone at her. "Not all the stories of I. A. Cocha are bad ones."

All this time, they'd known who she was, and they regarded her the way she always wanted to be seen. Not as a monster, but as a person, just like any other.

She fought back tears. "Thank you," she said. Then she jutted out her chin, telling them to go. The shield wall blocked the Star Force from the starboard side of the ship where the escape pods were located. In her head, Ia counted to thirty, giving the Tawnies time to get to the pods.

At the end of her count, she put her pistol on the floor, and with her foot, she tapped the Carpion orb. The shield flashed green as it deactivated. The soldiers punched through the fading sheen of the force field and surrounded her, their pistols pointed at her head.

As she raised her hands in surrender, she felt a brush of air as cameras whizzed around to film her at all angles. One of them stopped, hovering in front of her, blasting its bright-white light into her eyes. She squinted at the lens.

After today, everyone in the known universe would know Ia's face. And no matter where she went, she would no longer be safe.

Mif. This was going to suck.

The soldiers grabbed her arms and bound them behind her back. As she struggled against the binds, she turned to the windows. One of the escape pods had cleared the blockade as promised, its silhouette now a mere speck in the distance. Ia sighed in relief.

But just as the second pod was about to pass, an RSF battleship closed in, blocking the pod's escape. Her gut twisted. She had been a fool to think the general would keep his side of the bargain.

"You agreed to let them go," she screamed, lunging toward the General. Before she could dig her shoulder into his chest, someone kicked the back of her thighs, forcing her to kneel.

A young soldier approached the General, whispering low, yet loud enough for her to hear. "What about the other escape pod, sir. Should we pursue?"

"Don't waste your time," General Adams told the soldier and then nodded over at Ia. "She's the one we want."

Still seething, Ia whispered a silent plea, praying Einn would find the first escape pod. He would see that those Tawnies were safe. And after that, he would come to rescue her. Guns in both hands, he would board the ship they were in and shoot the General right between the eyes.

(Continues…)


Excerpted from "Ignite the Stars"
by .
Copyright © 2018 Maura Milan.
Excerpted by permission of Albert Whitman & Company.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Ignite the Stars 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Jennifer Holt More than 1 year ago
10% in and I knew I was hooked! That doesn't happen near as often as I would like. I'll be the first to say that I am not a big sci-fi YA fan. I can probably count on one hand how many YA sci-fi books I have read and actually enjoyed it. Not my favorite genre, BUT Ignite the Stars is certainly and most definitely the exception and I am so happy that I took the chance. The basic plot honestly reminded me of Divergent in the beginning - a girl is sent to a training "facility" and eventually falls for one of her instructors/teachers. Granted there are probably a lot of books that I haven't read with that same plot, but Divergent was the one to stick out for me. Having said that, the basic plot is where those similarities end and it becomes its own animal. This story had everything - a fierce heroine and a flawed/conflicted hero that were amazing characters by themselves, but when they got together: chemistry AF and delicious banter (enemies to lovers!!) that would..well..excuse the pun, but would ignite the stars. ;) And if that swoony side piece isn't enough, there's friendships, family, betrayals, loss, a twist that I SO should have saw coming (argh!!), and not 1, but 2 bad guys with very punchable faces - all wrapped into a sci-fi experience really that left me ticked that I read it so early, but also SO excited and ready for the sequel! Gah, I need it!
thereadingchick 3 months ago
For those of you who love swashbuckling action, you’ll LOVE Ignite the Stars! Ia Cocha is the scourge of the stars. Fighting against the Olympus Commonwealth, Ia is part terrorist, part Robin Hood. When the story starts she is trapped on a Tawny ship and is being taken captive. When it is found out that she is just a 17 year old girl and not an adult man, it’s determined that it would be better to bury her in an Academy of students in an unknown location than to put her on trial and kill her. That would look bad, I guess? When she gets to the Academy she is a prisoner of sorts, but able to roam free. She is kept from flying but her mind is always looking for an escape. Brinn, Ia’s roommate, has a secret. One that she is desperate to keep, but Ia figures her out pretty quickly and blackmails her into doing something for her. Through the sharing of this secret Ia and Brinn develop a friendship of sorts. Brinn, who is kind of prickly because she doesn’t let herself get close to anyone, can let Ia close because she knows her secret. It is this friendship that drives the book. We learn that no one is who we think they are. Ia the terrorist actually has empathy and fights for the underdogs and Brinn the loner comes face to face with her heritage and embraces it. When it finally happens, these two are a powerful team. There are a whole other cast of characters in this novel. Heroic figures and villainous ones fill the classrooms. Flight Master Knives, just out of school himself, is Ia’s jailer and love interest. Not as gruesome as that sounds, I swear! He has his own issues with the Olympus Commonwealth, most notably his father who is an Admiral and a not so nice character. This love connection between he and Ia is PG rated, but it does allow both of their characters to show another side. I love a fast moving plot and Ignite the Stars was quick, emotional, and fun. It’s hard to believe this was Maura Milan’s debut novel. It seemed like every character had their own hidden battle they were fighting. I’ll admit that Brinn was probably my favorite character, but Ia was a close second. They were both underdogs, and I do like to root for the underdog.
Anonymous 3 months ago
Well written and paced. Dsm
BlotsofInk 3 months ago
*sobs in asian* this was EVERYTHING I expected and more. I love the cover so much, even the vague and general space nebula background behind the model. Ignite the Stars was the manifestation of everything I’ve wanted in a sci-fi novel: → a badass Asian protagonist → a found family → a slow-burn-as-hell romance → subtle current-day political themes Seriously, Ia is amazing and she knows it. Also, why was this pitched as Throne of Glass in space? This has a similar premise, but the plot goes in a very different direction?? (If you don't like this because it's pitched as Throne of Glass, let it be known that this is a lot more diverse!) Sure, she killed people, but those people had killed hundreds before she got her hands on them. It was a bloody, bone-breaking kind of justice, but it was still justice. Ia is a teenage outlaw who’s basically ruthless and untrusting of anyone except her brother. She’s like Kaz but in female, Asian form and in space. And YOU BET she goes through an arc where she finds friends that won’t betray her. Brinn is hiding the fact that she’s half-Tawny, part of a widely discriminated against group, by dying her hair brown from its natural shade of blue. She’s basically a freaking genius and I love the subtle political theme behind her patriotism vs. her identity. Knives has a weird as hell name, but I still love him nonetheless. He’s an instructor at the space academy that literally just wants to lay low and do the bare minimum until Ia is thrown in his face, aka the most relatable character ever. This story starts with Ia being captured by the Olympus Commonwealth who decide that the best idea to deal with her is to have her train as a cadet for their military. (The Olympus Commonwealth colonizes a ton, btw.) Ia decides that she'll pretend to go along with this training, but she would gather information to try and break out. She ends up being roommates with Brinn, our half-Tawny. This was really refreshing as a science-fiction because unlike a lot more common science-fictions set in space, this still has many touches of the current world; like the presence of mass media as well the heavier themes of colonization. I feel that a lot of fans of Starflight would really enjoy this book. Her eyes narrowed at him. One day, he would realize that deadly things also come in small packages. Honestly, this had a fairly shaky beginning but by the ninth chapter/around 60 pages I was completely invested in the storyline, the characters, and their relationships. The romance wasn’t a huge plot point as much as our plot was about our characters learning to accept each others/themselves but I still really enjoyed reading it! I want to talk about the growing friendship between Ia and Brinn because it’s my favorite thing on. this. earth. Ia helps Brinn get in touch with her identity as a Tawny by teaching her things she didn’t even know about herself, like their abilities. Ia encourages Brinn to love the Tawny part of herself and I just? And then Brinn helps Ia care for others and stays by Ia’s side even through Ia’s personal problems and I just? The character development and relationships are seriously the highlight of this entire book and make up for the less original plotline/premise!! (...I saw the plot twist coming from the first chapter.) She'd go along with being a cadet for now, until they'd all forgotten about the Blood Wolf within their r
CrossroadReviews More than 1 year ago
Notes and Opinions: First off this is totally NOT Throne of Glass in Space! Just No I have no idea where they got that one. Holy crap readers! This book blew me away! Don't get me wrong I love sci-fi but usually for books I find them confusing or boring. But this one, this one was pretty much perfect! This one starts out with a bang and ends the same way. We have 3 POVs for this story and they all worked out well. I did think that one thing could have been changed. In this one, Ia (eye-ya) falls for Knives which is one of the other POVs and well for me I just kind of thought she should fall for Brinn. Don't get me wrong I loved Knives but with the interactions between Brinn and Ia, I just thought that sounded more plausible with how the story was going. But hey its ok Brinn, Ia, and Knives are happy with how things turned out in their love lives so who am I to judge. The story in this title flowed so well! The author did an amazing job of intertwining the 3 POVs each one had their own voice and adds to the story at large. The most amazing things about this title were the twists, action, and the #OwnVoices part of the story. The action in this one started off on the very first page. You come into this story learning about Ia and how to say her name and learning that she stands to help others who may not be able to help themselves. She is also very arrogant in the start of this title. The action in this book was top notch and really blended well with how the author went about it all. The twists in this one were spot on! I didn't see them coming and man this author knows how to make you gasp and be surprised. I can't wait to see what she does with book two! I am hoping to get even more surprises as the story unfolds. Last but not least is the #OwnVoices aspect of the story. In this one there was a lot of discrimination that dealt with things like immigration and refugees which of course is something our world right now is dealing with. In this one, we have Brinn who is hiding who she is because she knows first hand how cruel people can be. I really loved her and how she grew over the course of this story. I do wish that we would have gotten something along the lines of heritage with Ia though. It was very interesting to get this kind of aspect from a side character. Because that is not usually what happens. Ia was so badass in this one! I really kind of hated her to start. She was pretty much a bully in some aspects which I understood because I mean really she was being tortured and held against her will. (ie. being arrested) but still, she could have been a little nicer about it. Ya I know that sounds really really weird. But something about her really just made me want to slap her upside the head. I really loved how she grew as a character through the story. And I would love a prequel novella about her life in her early days of being Ia. Brinn, as stated above, was awesome she had a true voice and really knew early on in the story what she wanted to do with her life. Which I have to say that we should all be as lucky. I really can not say enough about her. She is so strong by the end of this story and really came into her own. Knives is Ia's love interest which rounds out this 3 POV story. For me, he was kind of the light if you ask me. I don't really know a lot about him other than what we were told early on in the story and well I think that Ia could do so much better. For me, I just think th
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a solid science fiction adventure that was a lot of fun to read. You really need to suspend disbelief that whole premise of a 17 year old being the dreaded notorious outlaw Ia Cocha, and that once she is caught she is sent to a military academy as her punishment, you are in for a really good story with some great female characters and a light romance. The story starts off with Ia’s capture and even though there is some slight surprise that she is a seventeen year old girl, there is not a lot of comment or discussion about it. Then the next thing we know she is off to the military academy as her punishment. Hmm, not sure if that works for me, but if I can disregard that premise, it is a very good story. I ended up really liking Ia. She is smart, but can also hold her own in a fight. She is also compassionate and passionate about her cause. She doesn’t want to make friends with anyone at the academy, she doesn’t think she will be there long enough, but she does, and she comes to their aid when it is needed. The tentative friendship she develops with Brinn is very sweet. I liked Brinn a lot more than Ia. She has a secret, which we know from the start, but she doesn’t want others to know. She is very bright, genius level even, and believes that her government is right and the rebels are wrong. Her story arc is the more interesting one. Learning the truth and changing her opinions about what she always thought was true was far more interesting. She also has compassion for others and has a slight crush on another student. Knives, ok what is up with that name! It is not a nick name, but there is no other explanation for it. Maybe the next book. Knives is also a likable character. He is the youngest teacher at the academy, and he has a distrustful relationship with the military and refuses to fight for them, even though he is one of their best pilots. The slow burn relationship between him and Ia is also good. They both keep trying to deny their feelings, but you know how those things go. Except for the shaky premise and the overly quick beginning and set up of the main plot, it is a really good story. It is fast paced for the most part, and there are some plot twists that kept things interesting. The space academy sounds like a cool place to go to school, and some of the more scientific things are kept simple enough to understand, but still complex enough to sound genuine. Lots of political intrigue towards the end, and probably that will continue into the next book. This is a very well done book by this debut author. I would recommend this book to sci-fi fans and to those who want to expand into the science fiction genre.
Kennedy Vega More than 1 year ago
Overall thoughts. OH. MY. GOD. Give me a moment to pick my jaw up off the floor, because even three days after I finished this book I am still in shock. WOW. *Takes a deep breath* Okay, if you are looking for a morally grey POC main character whose badassery knows no bounds, you want to read Ignite the Stars. If you crave action, angsty introspective searches for the thin line between right and wrong, and an MC who actually lives up to her title as a the Blood Wolf of the Skies & Sovereign of Dead Space, you NEED to pre-order Ignite the Stars. Betrayal, a dash of romance, and world building that makes me want to get on the first shuttle to space, Ignite the Stars is THE YA sci-fi of the year. THIS BOOK IS JUST THAT GOOD!! The plot was well paced, I read it in one day and wish I had the sequel in my hands right that moment. My love for this book knows no bounds. I RARELY ever give out 5 star reviews, but this one was such a well rounded read! Plot This book starts off with a bang as Ia Cocha is captured in a fierce battle against the Olympus Commonwealth. From there the book just RUNS with it. You know that feeling when you are riding a rollercoaster and you get to the very very top, that moment when your heart is in your throat and your pulse is skyrocketing because you’re about to drop and you know it’s going to be a crazy ride? THAT is the feeling this book gave me. Every plot point in this book, played out like a movie. Maura’s writing style allows to the reader to become one with the pages of the novel and when you read this book you forget that you’re on earth instead of an alien planet. While the book is pretty action packed, there’s a good balance between external and internal conflict (which I LOVED). Ia struggles to find her place in an enemy's military academy and is confronted with the realization that not everything is as black and white as she once believed. All the meanwhile, Ia plans her escape and the vengeance she will exact on those who captured her. The world building was superb, everything from the tech to the planet systems was fantastic. Even though the story is set in the familiar genre of Sci-Fi, the details that Maura crafted felt crisp and new. Characters Ia Cocha isn’t one of those characters who only had a badass reputation, she proves it. She doesn’t pull her punches, she says it like it is. While she is deserving of her criminal title, Ia Cocha is more than just a law breaker. She’s a complex character hardened by the trials of war, trying to figure out what’s right and what’s wrong in a world that constantly tells her she is the enemy. Despite her criminal nature, there’s a depth of compassion and honor to Ia that makes her a character you can root for. In addition to Ia, the novel features the POV of two other characters, Brinn and Knives. While I noticed some readers mentioned that they didn’t think that Brinn’s POV was necessary, I thought that all three of the POV’s worked together beautifully to create a well rounded view of the narrative. The three POV’s melded together seamlessly, allowing the reader have an even more insightful reading experience. I loved all the characters, their backgrounds and characteristics heightened the authenticity of the story and promised much more drama in the next novel. Concluding Thoughts. AHHHH! I absolutely LOVED this book!! 5 star ratings are not run of the mill for me, but Ignite the Star totally deserved it!