Book Review: Before She Ignites

Before She Ignites (Fallen Isles Trilogy #1)
Published By: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication Date: September 12, 2017
Page Count: 400
Source: ARC Kindly Provided by Publisher via Edelweiss
Young Adult - Fantasy

Mira Minkoba is a symbol of hope for the people in the Fallen Isles. She has been paraded in front of crowds since her father named the famous Mira Treaty after her. It's odd for Mira to know that people see her as an example when she feels like a pretty face hiding anxiety and self doubt. She feels that aside from her looks, she may not have much worth, so she throws herself into her friendships and spending time with her beloved dragons in their sanctuary, but everything shifts when she discovers a secret that shakes the core of her foundation. Mira finds herself thrown into prison and must learn to survive on her wits and strength.

Mira was easy for me to like from the beginning of the novel. I understood her feelings of uncertainty and anxiety. To find your life completely upended is difficult enough, but Mira must also learn to stand on her own when she has always been taken care of and sheltered in the past. A life of privilege does not prepare one for life in a prison cell.

As the story comes together, Mira's secrets come to light and her imprisonment begins to make more sense. Secrets never stay buried and Mira begins to learn more than she could have possibly imagined about her government. I loved watching her view of her world shift. It also seems incredibly timely to read a YA novel that has the main character questioning what her government has told her.

The setting and characters make this a worthwhile read. I also can't resist dragons. My biggest complaint with this one was pacing. The first third of the novel took some effort on my part. Mira's first few days dragged, but the pace began to pick up around the middle.

If you're looking for a fantasy novel that explores mental health and political intrigue, I'd recommend picking this novel up.

One Last Gripe: As mentioned in the review, the beginning felt super slow.

Favorite Thing About This Book: Mira's character development

First Sentence: I shouldn't have told the truth.

Favorite Character: Mira

Least Favorite Character: Altan 


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.