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.
The beginning was a little slow for me to get into. I think a map with all the islands, the people, and a guide for dragons would be helpful. There was a lot to pay attention to and I spent a lot of time just trying to remember everything.
But the book pace really picked up about halfway through. Mira can be tough to like at first. She’s very insecure (I blame her mom) and often times thinks that she’s pretty, but not smart or strong. I found her anxiety to be almost refreshing. I don’t think I’ve seen that a lot with fantasy books. Mira is a counter which I can relate to. I often times count, even when I don’t want to. It’s a way to control the situation and relax at the same time. I liked Mira a lot more after she was in the pit for awhile. She seemed to find an inner strength and will to survive.
While this is a fantasy, I found that certain things related to us, especially now. The Mira Treaty ensured that everyone from all islands was created equal. But the Luminary Council wanted separation. Basically a ban on immigration. They wanted each group to stick to their own islands and Mira was supposed to be the one to deliver that news. She is the “Hopebearer” and expected to do as she is told by the council to help them.
The time spent in the Pit was the most interesting to me. I found that I really liked the group of friends Mira made there. Gerel, Aaru, Chendra, and Titra, though one isn’t what they seem. Mira puts her faith in trusting them and doesn’t want to leave without freeing them, too. While in the Pit, something happens to Mira that no one understands. Not even Mira herself.
Another thing that endeared me to Mira was her love for the dragons. I breed reptiles, so this was something that stood out to me. She didn’t see them as something to fear, but as something to love and protect. Having a pet dragon is a dream for most reptile keepers.
Overall, I really loved this book and gave it 4 1/2 stars. It’s a great start and I’m looking forward to what the trilogy brings.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher through Edelweiss+ for review. This in no way influenced my review of the book.
A bit political with some revolution.