I am absolutely loving this series! It's very well written with great characters and an action-packed storyline. The Coven of Fire still has plenty to overcome in this second book, some of it being the secrets they keep from each other. This one is just as good as the first with its snark, witty dialogue, characters that will drive you crazy even while you root for them, and so much action that you can barely catch your breath. I can't wait to see what's next for this crew of misfits.
@DavisKaitlyn, #Young_Adult, #Paranormal, #Romance, 4 out of 5 (very good)
In a dystopian future with civilization all but destroyed, Emperor Donovan, a wicked, evil, despot rules an area that includes London Ruins. His DRT (?) agents control the impoverished subjects with ruthless violence and the help of digital implants embedded in each person at birth (?) that identifies who they are and where they are.
Jacks is a homeless, pickpocket in her early teens. Her parents, branded as rebels, were murdered before her eyes when she was just a child. Her hatred for the Emperor and his agents is only slightly less than her will to survive.
When she is asked to see what has happened to a friend she stumbles on a roundup of subjects by DRT agents looking for rebels. To save them from execution she creates a distraction only to find she's not the only one on a rescue mission.
Members of The Flames, an underground movement fighting against the tyranny of the Empire, are there as well and their members and Jacks form an uneasy alliance.
Gradually Jacks becomes accepted by The Flames, which consists of only five members all in their teens. However, the group's leader, Zira, feels uneasy about the new recruit.
As the rebel group fights to save innocents as well as themselves from the malevolent Emperor Donovan and his henchmen, Zira's apprehension comes to the fore as she is forced to reveal secrets of her own that involve Jacks.
As dystopian fiction goes Ignite is not very original but it does have potential. Unfortunately, that potential is squandered by lack of craft including amateur writing, lack of plot structure, one dimensional characterization and chapter after chapter that do little or nothing to advance the plot or develop character.
For example, the Emperor and his agents are without exception evil, nasty, cruel and stupid. The Flames are without exception good, nice, friendly, and exceptionally smart especially for teenagers living in a society that has collapsed.
They are constantly one up on the bad guys even though there are a lot more of them and they have unlimited resources including weapons.
Hold on, two of The Flames are from a wealthy "shiner" family. Their father was thrown into the dungeons for consorting with rebels but apparently the Emperor forgot to confiscate the family wealth and throw the wife and children into the street, so now the kids use their father's money to undermine the Empire.
If you think that's dumb, the DRT agents of the Empire are so stupid they don't even think to have paid or coerced informants in the general population considering everyone is starving and they'd likely sell their mother not to mention The Flames, for a meal.
But no they wouldn't because in Rogland's dystopian future everyone poor is honest, noble and loyal to The Flames, starving or otherwise.
In addition to attaining more writing (and reading) experience what author Danielle Rogland desperately needs is a good editor. Someone who can tell her that using adverbs to describe the delivery of almost every sentence of dialogue she's written is the mark of an amateur. If your dialogue needs to be described it likely is weak and needs to be rewritten using a stronger verb.
A good editor would cut back on the tedious descriptions of setting suggesting she leave it to the readers imagination. Most importantly, her editor would tell her to delete or significantly cut the chapters that are basically redundant chit chat and do little or nothing to advance the plot or develop character.
In the end, Ignite would be tight, entertaining and about two-thirds as long as it is now with all the superfluity eliminated.
I received this e-book free from Inkitt in return for an honest review.
Inkitt says its mission is "to ensure fair publishing and objectivity for authors. Who are we or any editor in the world to judge whether your book is worth publishing? We don’t think that we or any so-called “expert” is in a position to judge your work. You write your book for your readers, and the most important factor is whether your readers like it or not. That is what we measure at Inkitt."
And how do they do this?
"We built artificially intelligent algorithms that have the ability to analyze reading pattern data and engagement levels. This allows us to make objective and data-driven decisions regarding a novel's potential to become a bestseller. "
Apparently none of the above, as copied from Inkitt's site, has anything to do with good writing, but hey, who am I to argue with artificially intelligent algorithms, or how many people you can persuade to click on your online book and add it to their "reading list".
All the same, and despite being approved by artificially intelligent algorithms, I'm giving Ignite two stars.
Something pretty bad happened to the world (at least Europe) -- we're not really told what precisely, but it was fairly significant. From the rubble of society a man named Donovan raises and restores some order and stability -- it doesn't take long for him to become some sort of horrible despot, and becomes Emperor Donovan.
We come into New London some decades after this and meet a young pickpocket named Jacks. She's been living on the streets for years now, after Donovan's agents have killed her parents. She's confident, scrappy and strong -- but she knows her limits. One day, she's trying to help some people from her neighborhood and encounters the legendary group The Flames. The Flames are known throughout New London (and further, actually) for standing against the Emperor and his agents. Where they strike, the leave burning candles behind -- a symbol of hope -- a literal light in the darkness.
Jacks can't believe that she's run into them and actually aids them. Slowly, she's brought into their confidence and becomes one -- just in time for The Flames to uncover a large new initiative about to be launched to eliminate Donovan's enemies. The only question is: Are they too late?
In the midst of this, the Flames have to grow and evolve both as they bring Jacks into the fold, but as that results in secrets and weaknesses come to light. It's not just Donovan's troops that are a threat to the group, but problems from within could actually destroy The Flames. When Rogland is dealing with the relationships, the backstories and what those mean for the characters futures that she really shines.
We don't get a clear picture just what makes Emperor Donovan worthy of being overthrown -- other than bringing some sort of stability to the post-disaster world, we learn nothing about how he runs things as a whole. We do know that he's horrible (at best) to the people that live and work in his household, and that he has his goons publicly execute dissenters. The Flames uncover an even worse solution that Donovan has for dissenters/protesters/rebels, too. But that's all we're given -- I'm not saying that's not horrible, but it's not exactly a hugely oppressive general environment (that we know about).
The other thing we don't know is how The Flames actually accomplish much -- yeah, they have heart, they have a strategic whiz of a leader (I guess), and a heckuva computer guru -- but beyond that, without getting into details, it's hard to believe that the group you read about can be as effective as we are told they are. And really, we don't know what The Flames (or any of their allies) are really for -- we just know they're anti-Donovan. But there's nothing they're rallying around, no principles, or guiding philosophy or anything.
Still, in the moment you don't notice any of that much (if at all) -- what you do notice is Jacks finding a place in the world -- a place where she's not alone, trying to scrape by. Rather, she has a family of sorts, people who care, people looking out for her, and who need her in return, people she can help. Moreover, she has a purpose, she's part of something bigger than herself. I could say the same for most of the people in The Flames, actually. The flaws of the book fade into the background in the midst of the characters and their lives.
Could this book be better? Yeah -- the plot, the internal logic, etc. could use some real work. But I'm not sure that Rogland could give us that while maintaining the experience of this book. Would I have preferred something more developed? Sure -- but I really can't complain about what we have here. It's a very satisfying read, with a strong emotional hook, and that's good enough for me. The ending begs for another volume or two, hopefully they're forthcoming. But, unlike others of the type, it doesn't demand a sequel, it could work as a stand-alone. I just hope it isn't one.
Disclaimer: I received this novel from Inkitt in exchange for this post -- thanks!