Monday, 17 February 2014

REVIEW: Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi

Pub. Date: February 4th 2014
Publisher: HarperCollins
Pages: 408
Readership: Young adult
Genres: science-fiction, dystopia

Juliette now knows she may be the only one who can stop the Reestablishment. But to take them down, she'll need the help of the one person she never thought she could trust: Warner. And as they work together, Juliette will discover that everything she thought she knew-about Warner, her abilities, and even Adam-was wrong.

In Shatter Me, Tahereh Mafi created a captivating and original story that combined the best of dystopian and paranormal and was praised by Publishers Weekly as "a gripping read from an author who's not afraid to take risks." The sequel, Unravel Me, blew readers away with heart-racing twists and turns, and New York Times bestselling author Kami Garcia said it was "dangerous, sexy, romantic, and intense." Now this final book brings the series to a shocking and climactic end.

I'm going to be honest: I have absolutely no idea how I feel about this book. For a year I was eagerly anticipating Ignite Me. I was so very thrilled seeing everyone's ecstatic reactions after they finished it. I quickly snatched up a copy when my local bookstore got it a few days after the release and immediately tore into it. After that, I just became confused.

Juliette was the same old Juliette: growing stronger, braver and more sure of herself as the pages turned. Kenji was the same old amazing Kenji: funny, loyal with a heart of gold. But then Warner entered the picture and after that, Adam. Right away, both felt out of character to me. Warner only slightly but Adam felt like a completely different person. He honestly felt like a pod person for a third of the book. This wasn't the character I fell in love with in Shatter Me and it wasn't the character that I adored in Unravel Me. It felt like he had done a complete 180 and I wasn't sure why. I just couldn't figure it out. I still can't. On the one hand, it almost felt like character assassination, a way to make Juliette and Warner more viable. Adam felt too melodramatic, too ridiculous, for me to take any of what was happening seriously with him. He felt too harsh. He felt like a parody with his over the top brattiness and immaturity which was waved off as "he's going through some stuff". With Warner in the beginning, he felt like stranger to me as well. Not the sector leader we met in Shatter Me and not the boy we grew to love in Unravel Me. As the book went on, I understood why and I like why but at first it's a bunch of confusion and just all around bitterness. All of the horrible things he had done in Shatter Me were rectified. He was made to be a saint among sinners which still has left a sour taste in my mouth.

However, despite my irritation at Adam and Warner's characterization, the plot was great as usual. There was just enough action, just enough intrigue and just enough romance to make it all blend wonderfully together in a way that only Tahereh knows how. We got to see Juliette rise up and become this strong, independent woman. She is a far cry from the scared girl we met in Shatter Me and boy, does she know it. It was great to see Juliette kicking ass as much as she did in Ignite Me. As much as a lot of characters were off, Juliette was spot on.

The ending, though... I felt like the ending was a little too rushed, a little too easy for my liking. When I reached the last 30 pages, there was still so much to be done that I had no idea how on earth it was all going to finish up so fast. I thought hey, maybe there's a secret book four on the way because how the heck is this going to all finish?? But it did and I was left with my head spinning. It all wrapped up into a neat little bow with shiny wrapping paper. A lot of the conclusion felt rushed, like Mafi didn't quite have enough time to flesh things out as she wanted to so this ending happened.

When I say I'm confused and unsure on how I feel about this book, I really mean it. I loved it but at the same time, I'm not quite satisfied with what I read. This final book had so much potential to go sky high but really, all it did was was sizzle out. The first two will remain one of my favourite reads but I'm not sure where Ignite Me will land when I have digested everything.



1 comment:

  1. Hi Becca,
    I just finished this book a few days ago and for me, the characters' transformations were kind of logical. Did you read Fracture Me? I think that story was a revelation. While reading it, I finally understood the way the two boys were seeing Juliette (and their thoughts about her were so, so different!): Warner sees the power within her, her potential, all the great things she can do and tries to encourage her to become that kind of person that she really is, even if even she doesn’t know it yet. Meanwhile, Adam sees her as a sad, dangerous, insecure and instable girl who will never accomplish more, who must be protected in a wrong way even by herself and there’s a moment when he even thinks about her as a burden. When he finds out about her captivity, Kenji is the one that has to remind him, to suggest him that they must save her! If you think at the way their relation evolved during Unravel Me, you can also see clues that suggest this things…
    And also, in Fracture Me, we discover the fact that their portraits (Adam’s and Warner’s) from Juliette’s mind were not their real ones. I mean… we were looking at them through Juliette’s eyes, we weren’t seeing their real guys. So in the beginning, the scared girl sees Adam as a Prince Charming who’s going to save her and Warner as the big, bad monster, who wants to destroy her. But when she starts to become herself, the real, powerful and determined Juliette, she starts to see them different, to understand why she had those kind of feelings for them. Also, thinking back (at Destroy Me for example) you can now see the clues that Warner was never the monster we thought he was in Shatter Me.
    In conclusion, I think that we already had the signs that were announcing all those changes (of the characters and the relations between them) that we read in Ignite Me.
    Hope you don’t mind my comment :D
    I’m always reading your reviews, even if I rarely comment.
    Have a nice day,