Format: Hardcover, 400 pages
Release Date: September 4, 2018
Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company
Genre: Young Adult / Science Fiction
Everyone in the universe knows his name. Everyone in the universe fears him. But no one realizes that notorious outlaw Ia Cocha 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?
In this exhilarating edge-of-your-seat sci-fi adventure—perfect for fans of The Lunar Chronicles—debut author Maura Milan introduces our world to a thrilling new heroine.
Ignite the Stars is the first installment in author Maura Milan's Ignite the Stars series. Ia Cocha is known as the Sovereign of Dead Space, the Rogue of the Fringe Planets, and the Blood Wolf of the Skies. She is the most dangerous criminal in the Olympus Commonwealth. It isn't until she surrenders to save a group of Tawny that people come to realize she's a seventeen-year-old girl. Ia is given zero choices by her captor. She can spend the next 120 years doing hard labor at a penal colory, or 20 years with the Royal Star Force.
The catch is that they put an implant in her head so that if she attempts to escape, she won't get very far. The one thing that I can respect from Ia's character is that she may have done some horrible things in the past, but she's done so because the Commonweath doesn't care for anyone who is in the miniority. She's even gone as far as planning stunning victories over the Commonwealth. Ia, who left her own crew behind, is determined to escape from the school. Ia's capture encourages many to join the Royal Star Force to defend their ideals.
Brinn Tarver is one of those who is inspired to join the RSF. But Brinn has a secret. She is a member of one of those despised minorities. She is half-Tawny though her father is a citizen. Since the Tawny are known for their blue hair, Brinn has been dying hers brown for years. They are also know for their intelligence and Brinn has been deliberately shooting for average in all of her school classes. But, while Brinn is dealing with her own trials and tribulations, prejudices escalate in the Commonwealth against refugees.
Brinn and Ia's relationship is one of many, many twists, and turns and distrusts until they finally start to understand each other. Brinn has bought into the Commonwealth's prejudice and hatred of Ia, and Ia, has no clue who Brinn really is, or what she has been hiding from everyone. When all is said and done, Brinn and Ia make a formidable team. Brinn is the brians, Ia has the experience having had more real world challenges and being labeled as the Commonwealth's number one most hated person. But, Ia also has a come to reality moment that I am sure will be addressed in the next installment.
The third characters view point is that of Knives Adams. Since graduating, he has turned down any and all avenues of promotion. He is content to be the youngest flight master ever at the Aphelion Space Academy. Knives's father has tasked him with keeping Ia prisoner. They have no clue what Ia is actually capable of once she sets her mind on a task. Knives is a free spirt in many ways. He has his own ship which he loves to use to get away. Plus, he's nothing like his famous father. I also appreciated that the author let's readers understand why Knives doesn't want to be like his father.
While I liked the story well enough, it didn't quite get to the level that I expect from science fiction novels. Especially when you are attempting to compare your story to Throne of Glass. In fact, it is fair to say that it isn't until the final chapters of this book, that I didn't feel like I had to reduce my rating any further. Also, it definitely gave me hopes that the author's sequel to this story will be better with more action.