Everyone in the universe knows his name. Everyone in the universe fears him. But no one realizes that notorious outlaw Ia Cōcha 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?
The story is about this most wanted criminal in the universe, and everyone fears the name I. A. Cōcha. When the Commonwealth captured the notorious outlaw, they discovered that I. A. Cōcha is only a seventeen-year-old girl. Hoping to benefit from her skills and potential, instead of throwing her in prison or death, she was now trapped in the military academy. While plotting her escape, she didn’t expect to build a bond with Brinn and Knives, which might be a hindrance once she found a way out.
“That girl was trouble. Big trouble.” – Maura Milan, Ignite the Stars
This is the first book of the author that I’ve read, and Ignite the Stars is also the first in the series. Guess what? I’m still in a book hangover because of this, and I can’t start reading another book yet. Can I say that it’s a good read? HELL YEAH! I enjoyed reading this because aside from its plot, the protagonist is also an Asian, which I can only see in a few books that I’ve read so far.
“One day, he would realize that deadly things also come in small packages.” – Maura Milan, Ignite the Stars
I love how the story started. The narration already gripped me on reading the book. The action is kicking me to flip more pages, and it reignited my adrenaline. Excitement built up as more pages were turned. And yes, I loved this book. This is one of the science fiction that I loved so far.
“I learned a hard lesson when I first arrived on Aphelion. No one is unbeatable, Tarver.” Ia’s expression grew mournful. “Even the mighty will fall.”
The story has three POVs, and let’s start first with our badass protagonist.
Ia Cōcha. The girl who made the Commonwealth have her as the most wanted criminal in the universe. The person behind the helmet with a crimson feather etched through the middle of its visor. And the fierce girl who makes everyone shivers in fear when they hear her name. I like her character. She has a strong and brave stand on what she believes is right and wrong. But, of course, not everyone is safe from having a mistaken view, right? She also talked about how she changes in the story, how everything she had been going through, and whom she connected with contributed to those changes in herself. Well, I’m glad to see how she developed throughout the story even if the people around her believe she is only a killer that deserves a cruel punishment from what she had done.
“I know I’ve done bad things. Regretful things,” Ia admitted. “The only way you can live with your past is to recognize that every decision you make in your life will make you stronger. There’s no such things as right or wrong, Brinn. Not in this universe.” – Maura Milan, Ignite the Stars
Brinn Tarver. The girl who shows herself as an average girl. The girl who tries to stay away from the spotlight to avoid having her long-kept secret spilled. And the unlucky girl who became the roommate of Ia in Aphelion. I love Brinn, especially with how she acts as a sister to Faren and how she tries her best to keep her family from being harmed because of her lineage. Her character’s development is also good, just like Ia. I like how courageous she is from taking a risk that might put her in harm. And oh, she rocks! I love the skills she has. I hope I have it too!
“She was a dark star, a black hole in the endless sky, and if he got too close, he would surely disappear.” – Maura Milan, Ignite the Stars
Knives. The Flight Master of the academy, Aphelion, where Ia was staying after being captured. The son of the respected general in Commonwealth who also caught Ia. And the person whom Ia needs to stay away from. I like his view. I like him for staying true to what he feels like. And I liked him more when he doesn’t want the other feels what he felt like before. Isn’t he a caring guy?
Angie’s voice rang out in the empty corridor. “All you need is one person who thinks that you are. And those are the type of people you have to protect.” – Maura Milan, Ignite the Stars
What I like most in this story is the friendship that Ia and Brinn have. Even though they don’t really speak about it, I know that they consider one another as friends. They are like the two sides of a coin, which won’t be a coin without the other side. They ideally can make the best team, Brinn as the brain and Ia as the strength. Literally, I can say that they bring the best out of each other. They are already great being themselves, but if you put them together, I think they will be unstoppable. That’s how I see them.
The world-building is okay. Though there is some stuff in the story that I want to see more in the next book. I like the author to include more of it, like describe them or give us an idea how it started – e.g., the traditions, the culture, etc. that might give me more insight about the Commonwealth and other planets.
And, don’t let me start talking about the romances in the story as I’m not yet prepared to talk about it haha! But, it is a slow-burn so if you like this type of romance, then seatbelt on and get ready to feel it in the story.
Overall, the author does a beautiful job of writing a twisted, fast-paced, and action-packed novel. I am recommending this book to everyone, especially if you like science fiction. If you also like a book about family, friendship, diverse protagonist, politics, and space, then I also recommend that you read this novel.
Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company
Publication Date: September 4, 2018
Series: Ignite the Stars, 01
Genre(s): Young Adult, Science Fiction
Maura Milan currently resides in Los Angeles, where she can be found hanging out in cafes and drinking matcha lattes. In her free time, Maura enjoys watching Korean dramas and hanging out with her schipperke, Thor, who she believes should become a professional comedian.
To this day, Gilbert Blythe is her ultimate boy crush.