Ignite by Sara B. Larson
Book Two of the Defy series
Publication Date: December 30, 2014
Rating: 4 stars
Source: ARC sent by the publisher
Summary (from Goodreads):
Murder, kidnapping, and forbidden romance abound in this thrilling sequel to Sara B. Larson's acclaimed YA debut, DEFY.
Alexa continues to harbor a secret love for the newly crowned King Damian, yet she remains by his side as his guard and ever committed to helping him rebuild Antion and reclaim the hope of Antion's people. However, when a new threat to Damian and his kingdom emerges, and blame is cast on the once friendly nation of Blevon, Alexa knows things are not what they seem. Once again the fate of her country hangs in the balance. Will Alexa be able to protect her king and uncover the true enemy -- before it's too late?
What I Liked:
I know I gave this book and Defy the same rating, but this one is definitely better than the first book (and I mean that nicely, not snidely). I liked Defy a lot, but I wanted more from the story, and less from the romance. One reason why I loved Ignite as much as I do is because the romance is much more clear-cut (thank God).
In Ignite, a new threat has arrived. Blevon seems to be threatening Antion, burning villages and sending parties to attack the king. Meanwhile, a beautiful noblewoman named Vera has been given refuge at Antion, someone much more suited for King Damian. But Alexa knows that Vera has a secret motive to seduce the king, just like she knows that Blevon can't be behind the attacks - someone much more powerful must be manipulating the country. But how many players are in the game, and how many threats can Alexa uncover?
Larson up the ante in this book, putting Antion and Blevon at odds. Everyone in Antion wants to go to war with Blevon, but Damian (and Alexa) don't believe that Blevon is at fault - perhaps a black sorcerer is. All the while, Damian is falling into the web of Vera, who seems to have power of her own - or is Damian just that captivated by her? Not to mention that one of the royals is held for ransom, and by a very powerful enemy... who wants Alexa in exchange for the royal.
Phew! Lots of crazy going on. Plenty of deceit, ransom, murder, angst, heartbreak, and action. I read this book in two sittings (only getting up for lunch and things), and it went by really quickly. The plot is very fast-paced and interesting.
The romance - let me talk about that for a bit. It might seem like the romance is all sorts of twisted, right? Damian, Alexa, and Rylan were locked in some sort of weird love triangle in Defy, but no longer. Personally, I didn't think it was much of a love triangle at all - to me, Damian always seemed to have Alexa's heart.
But then there's the matter of Vera seducing Damian in this book - pshh. We can deduce that this is a plot twist of a sort, with no real feelings involved. I'm all for Alexa and Damian in this book (and series), though I don't mind Rylan as much as I did in Defy (hate Vera though). The romance between Damian and Alexa is very angry and passionate and raw and sweet all at once - love!
I like Alexa more in this book. She continues to show her toughness, her strength, her grit, but she also breaks down a little and shows a softer side. To Damian, whom she really loves, but she pushes him away, thinking of what's best for the kingdom. To Jax (Damian's little brother), who wants to learn to be as brave as she. To her friends, and even those who aren't her friends. I like that Larson really spearheaded the issue of Alexa being a female in the King's guard - the author brings this up a lot, which makes the issue more authentic and plausible.
I really like Damian, though sometimes I find it hard to believe that he is the King. He seems and acts too young sometimes - not in an immature way, but in a, well, young way. However, I so want my own Damian. Is that too much to ask for?
The book ends on an okay note, though there is definitely room for another novel. It's not a cliffhanger, not quite, but there NEEDS to be more to the story, to resolve the conflict at the end that wan't quite wrapped up. The book has a bit of a bittersweetness [is that a word? Should be] to it, but not to the point where you like OMG THIS SUCKS. Just... book three. There needs to be a book three.
What I Did Not Like:
I can't think of anything specific that I didn't like - I wish the author could have included just a little more background of the events that happened in book one? Only because I really could not remember many things. For example, Alexa's parents, their death... this comes up again, in Ignite, and I wish I had remembered more from Defy. Of course, this could just be me!
Would I Recommend It:
If you read book one, you MUST read book two. It gets better in book two - take that as you may. If the romance bothered you in book one, relax, it clears up in book two (in a really obvious way). If the fantasy bothered you, then keep reading because things get rocky between countries. Basically, it wouldn't be a bad idea to keep reading this series, whether you liked book one or not!
4 stars. I really hope there is a book three, because this series just CAN'T END YET. I mean, it could, but I feel like there is a much more fulfilling ending to come... so, everyone, cross your fingers for a book three announcement!
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