Book Review: Before She Ignites

before she ignites


Mira Minkoba is the Hopebearer. Since the day she was born, she’s been told she’s special. Important. Perfect. She’s known across the Fallen Isles not just for her beauty, but for the Mira Treaty named after her, a peace agreement which united the seven islands against their enemies on the mainland.

But Mira has never felt as perfect as everyone says. She counts compulsively. She struggles with crippling anxiety. And she’s far too interested in dragons for a girl of her station.


Then Mira discovers an explosive secret that challenges everything she and the Treaty stand for. Betrayed by the very people she spent her life serving, Mira is sentenced to the Pit–the deadliest prison in the Fallen Isles. There, a cruel guard would do anything to discover the secret she would die to protect.

No longer beholden to those who betrayed her, Mira must learn to survive on her own and unearth the dark truths about the Fallen Isles–and herself–before her very world begins to collapse.

Pros – Mira, the entire theme of not being silenced (by yourself or others), dragons

Cons – Plot points brought up and left dangling (I know this is only the first book but still), the format, Mira toddled between realistic in her naivety and unrealistic a bit too frequently for me

Review – I am a Jodi Meadows fangirl. And while I want to say that it reflected in my bias towards enjoying this book, I really think what actually pushed my bias was the fact Mira often reminded me of…well me.

Its actually been a fairly good few years for me and finding rep for myself* and Mira just kind of has been the icing on that particular cake. This doesn’t mean Mira was perfect, or that I didn’t find things eye-roll worthy at times, but I found a lot more to like than dislike in the book because at times I found myself strongly identifying with her actions and thoughts.

If you are coming off the roller coaster that is the Orphan Queen duology (there’s a reason we have a support group for it) than get ready to jump back on. While the stakes feel a bit more spread out (this is a trilogy versus a duology), that just means I’m going to spend TWO books shaking a fist at Jodi, rather than ONE book. That said the dragons were not as heavily featured as I had originally hoped and the politics didn’t engage me as much as fantasy politics usually do.

I don’t think it was anything to do with Meadows’ writing – it was, as it usually is – fast-paced, exciting and emotionally devastating at the least expected moments, but maybe because I knew going in this was going to be a three book ride for me, I went in more conservatively than normal. With OQ I had no idea it was going to be two books (I sincerely didn’t), the Newsoul books I read after they had all been released. BSI is the first series of Meadows’ I’ve read where I know I have to wait. It dragged down my enjoyment a little bit.

I did enjoy the friendships Mira had and the troubles she had developing them. Its hard to develop friends when you have anxiety and you’re not in prison with the threat of torture every other moment, so it was nice to see that build up. One of the best things I love about the OQ books is the friendship between Wil and the other Ospreys as well as the friendship between Tobiah and James. Little moments of inside jokes or acknowledgement without big over the top moments.

In the end though what kept me going, and resonated with me the most, was reading about Mira handling her anxiety and her coping mechanisms. While the format was…confusing at first (I apparently am a linear sort of girl when it comes to novels), I have a feeling that when the three books are released as a whole, it will become a much less confusing reading experience.

*as in, representation in the struggles I have with my anxiety, with my sexuality and with how hard I find it to relate to people. I’m a middle class white girl who’s nominally christian, I obviously don’t have trouble finding THAT in books


Want to Know More?

Published by: Katherine Tegen Books
Release: September 12, 2017
Series: Fallen Isles Book 1
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Connect with Jodi: Twitter | Goodreads | Website


Lexie Words

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