Monday, February 17, 2014

Review: Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi

* SPOILER WARNING: This review contains spoilers for Ignite Me, as well as for the previous books in the Shatter Me series. *

Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi
Ignite Me (Shatter Me #3)
By Tahereh Mafi
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased

To Sum It Up: Juliette is lucky to be alive after taking a bullet to the chest, but the news that Omega Point—and possibly everyone in it—has been destroyed gives her little time to process what’s happened to her. She vows to obliterate The Reestablishment and its Supreme Commander, and she finds an unlikely ally in Warner. To carry out her mission, Juliette must finally learn to control her power because if she can manage to do so, not even the might of The Reestablishment will be able to stop her.

Review: This is going to be one of the messiest reviews I’ve written to date, and it just can’t be helped. Every time a series that I love comes to an end, I can’t assemble my thoughts for the review. I’ve had a few days to mull over Ignite Me, and I cannot. Find. The words. I try to go into every review with at least a rough outline of what I want to cover, but this book has thoroughly scattered my brain. Something else that I’m finding can’t be helped here: spoilers. I attempt to avoid them whenever possible, but I really don’t think I can discuss anything about this book without referring to specifics. I’m not even sure I can discuss anything coherently, so let’s see where this review goes.

In any other book/series, I don’t believe I would care much for Juliette. She’s often insecure, whiny, and too wrapped up in her own thoughts to notice much else. Granted, she’s had a miserable life and her parents locked her up in an asylum, but after two books, I really needed her to pull herself together. At the end of Unravel Me, it appeared that she was finally going to ditch the moping and start taking some action. And she does—eventually. I’m still up in the air with my opinion of Juliette’s character progression in Ignite Me. Despite her vow to avenge the destruction of Omega Point, Timid Juliette hangs around for a bulk of the book. When the time comes to plot the overthrow of The Reestablishment, Juliette volunteers herself as the post-Reestablishment leader. Umm . . . what? This announcement was on the of the last things I expected from her, and maybe that was the point, but given how wrapped up in herself she is for most of the novel, I was rather skeptical of her leadership skills.

As I said before, in another book, Juliette would have tested my patience, but the series has always maintained an awareness of her flaws, mostly in the form of Kenji. I love Kenji. He’s become one of my favorite secondary characters ever for his sarcasm and frankness. Most importantly, he calls Juliette on her wishy-washiness. Every. Single. Time. Kenji has been the voice of reason throughout the series, and he doesn’t limit himself to getting on Juliette’s case, either. There’s another character for whom Kenji has a stern word or two (or three), and that character is Adam.

The biggest shock of Ignite Me was the absolute drubbing Adam’s character takes, and I say this without even being a member of Team Adam. There’s some definite foreshadowing of his transformation in Fracture Me, but I’d really believed that his doubts about his love for Juliette in that novella were meant to fuel the mystery over the resolution of the love triangle. I was so, so wrong. Almost everything he says to Juliette in Ignite Me is laced with eyebrow-raising viciousness, and although I might be able to cut Adam a bit of slack for being upset over a certain turn of events, I can’t excuse all that he says and does. I do feel bad for his fans because he started out as such a decent guy in Shatter Me.

I’ve always been somewhat confused about what’s going on in this world, and I have to say, it’s become less and less important as the series has gone on. Normally I would take a dystopian novel to task for a shortage of details about the world, but I didn’t fall in love with this series for its dystopian elements. I fell in love with it because of Tahereh Mafi’s beautiful prose and because of one man: Warner.

I lost any ability to rate this series based on non-Warner factors way back in Shatter Me, when he first arrived on the scene. And I make no apologies for that. Never have I become so obsessed with a single character in a book or series that I lived to read every page he was in. I really didn’t give two hoots about whether or not the resistance succeeded as long as Warner was okay. I also wasn’t really fazed by the slow build-up to the finale, and then the book’s hurried efforts to wrap everything up. I know I should mind these little things, but they didn’t take anything away from reading about Warner. I can’t help finding him utterly, utterly fascinating. I can't. Bravo to Mafi for writing such a complex, mesmerizing, and unforgettable character. Believe me, I could have easily devoted this entire review to Warner and why Ignite Me deserves five stars because of Warner.

So yeah, I’m giving Ignite Me five stars. Because of Warner. This wasn’t quite perfect in all areas, but it was in the one that counted, and that was enough for me. Reading Ignite Me made me extremely happy, as five star books usually do.

All in All: It’s all over! *Sobs* I’m going through a denial phase right now, where I keep rereading my favorite parts (*Ahem* Chapter 55). Reading this series has been a fantastic experience (Thank you, Warner!), and now you’ll have to excuse me because I need to go reread Chapter 55.


  1. We had some very similar feelings Lee. My review goes up later this week but I also touch on the fact that Adam becomes...almost a villain and the ending was strangely open and rushed. Regardless, I loved the book. I'm sure most of that comes from Warner too, as he truly shows what he is all about in Ignite Me. And I love what he is all about.

    1. I do, too; oh man, do I love what Warner is all about, as if that weren't obvious already from all of the times I've declared my love for him in every review. I'd expected a little more from the ending, and Adam- I was so surprised by the direction his character went in. I can't wait to check out your review!

  2. I gave up after book two and by the sounds of it that was a good thing because I thought Adam was a decent guy so I doubt I'd enjoy this book - how weird to change his character so drastically.

    1. I found the shift in his character so surprising. I'm so used to love triangles keeping you in suspense until the very end, but Adam had already begun exiting the picture in Unravel Me.

  3. I agree with just about everything in this review. I loved this book even though it and the series had a few flaws. When reading it I saw the flaws and I knew I should have been annoyed with them, but I wasn't . Mafi's writing is so compelling that I couldn't care about the flaws.

    I was also really surprised with how Juliette nominated herself as the leader, not just for the rebellion but also for the new government if they won, and everyone just went with it. Castle didn't object that a 17 teen year old girl would take his place. None of the other characters had any objection or fears that she would lead them at all. I was just really surprised about that.

    Another thing I was surprised about was Adam. It was like suddenly he's a jerk. When reading Fracture Me I was questioning whether or not he really loved her, but I would have never guessed he would turn into a jerk in .02 seconds. He changed so suddenly that it threw me off when reading this book.

    I should probably end this comment now before it turns into a full blown review, but I agree with this whole review. I loved this book and I'm so sad the series is ended *starts crying*.

    Great review :D

    1. I'm crying right along with you over the series being finished! I became so wholly engrossed in the romance, which is highly unusual for me, that everything else, like the resistance and Adam's drastic character shift went by the wayside. I know I looked away from things that would have bothered me otherwise, but you're right-these books were so compelling that I didn't care. For me, this series was about one character, and there was plenty of Warner in Ignite Me, and so I was very, very happy.


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