Friday, February 7, 2014

Thoughts and Reactions on Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi

Ignite me
(Shatter Me #3)
by Tahereh Mafi
February 4, 2014
Harper Collins
416 pages
Source: Purchased


The heart-stopping conclusion to the New York Times bestselling Shatter Me series, which Ransom Riggs, bestselling author of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, called "a thrilling, high-stakes saga of self-discovery and forbidden love"

Juliette now knows she may be the only one who can stop the Reestablishment. But to take them down, she'll need the help of the one person she never thought she could trust: Warner. And as they work together, Juliette will discover that everything she thought she knew-about Warner, her abilities, and even Adam-was wrong.

In Shatter Me, Tahereh Mafi created a captivating and original story that combined the best of dystopian and paranormal and was praised by Publishers Weekly as "a gripping read from an author who's not afraid to take risks." The sequel, Unravel Me, blew readers away with heart-racing twists and turns, and New York Times bestselling author Kami Garcia said it was "dangerous, sexy, romantic, and intense." Now this final book brings the series to a shocking and climactic end. (Goodreads Summary.)

There are ZERO plot spoilers in this review:) 

Opening Line

I am an hourglass.

My Take On It

Well, this isn't going to be a review so much as my reactions on this book--because honestly I don't think I could write a thorough review without spoiling the book to those who haven't yet read it. And I REFUSE to do that disservice to anyone. 

Well here is what my Goodreads Progress Updates from my reading looked like: 

Reading Progress

06/23marked as:to-read
02/04marked as:currently-reading
02/04page 69
02/04page 94
26.0%"Kenji Kishimoto. <3 That is all."
02/04page 127
36.0%"I'm not sure how I'm feeling about everything with Warner/Juliette/Adam yet but I must again reiterate that Kenji is my HERO. Love him so."
02/04page 152
43.0%"WHOA. This is getting intense. And something is feeling not right...."
02/04page 160
45.0%"On this page the magic sentence was spoken. Not gonna say that line but this line might be the most important, defining line I've read yet in the book. So I'm noting it here. Oh and Kenji continues to rock."
02/04page 172
02/04page 291
82.0%"Jesus, there is so much sexual innuendo & tension right now it's killing me. There better be some Action in the very near future. Grrrr"
02/04page 400
100.0%"Holy anticlimactic."
02/04marked as:read

** by the way if you are dying of curiosity about what this "magic sentence" is that I allude to above,  email or message me and I'll be glad to fill you in:) **

And really that about sums it all up.

I'm not going to tell you which boy won the girl. I will tell you that the boy that I think is the best match for the girl was the winner, and for that I am happy. But other than that little bit I'm not going to talk so much about the triangle really.  Instead I'm going to tell you what worked for me in this book and what didn't. And again, I'm going to be about as vague as the updates above--so my apologies to those of you who are wanting a little more detail.

First and foremost, all, and I do mean ALL, my post Unravel Me predictions for Ignite Me fell through. NOT ONE PREDICTION CAME TO PASS. Of course there are upsides and downsides to this. Some things I feared were definitely going to happen didn't. On the downside, a lot of things I wanted to see happen didn't. I don't think I have ever been so outright wrong about how a book would turn out in my entire reading life. So kudos to Tahereh Mafi for keeping me on my toes. But that's not to say that I'm not also a bit disappointed that some of the things I really, really wanted didn't come to be. 

Next up, three main characters do a complete 180 (in my humble opinion.) Now there are quite a few reviewers out there who will disagree with me on this point. But to me the characters of Juliette, Adam  and Warner all ended up COMPLETELY different than how they were written at the beginning of this series. That's not really a bad thing I guess--I mean there is nothing worse than a static character--but I have to say that even though some of these character changes began showing up as far back at the novella Destroy Me--which released prior to book #2, Unravel Me, I sill found these abrupt character shifts to be jarring and unsettling. I kept waiting for the new Juliette, just to give an example, to revert back to the old Juliette. Same with Adam and Warner. It did keep me on edge, so to speak--it definitely drove up the tension-- but it also made me feel off balance, off center and very, very unsettled. You can see that above in the Goodreads progress graph--I kept feeling like something was off--something felt not right. It was hard for me to wrap my head around some of the changes--especially the changes that weren't alluded to earlier in the series--that were just all of sudden upon us in Ignite Me

With all the crazy character shifts I have to say that there was one major exception. Kenji Kishimoto, perhaps the best secondary character ever written, remained Kenji. In fact, I'm going to start referring to him as True North, because he was the one character that I could consistently count on to be just as funny, churlish, flirty, and playfully arrogant as ever.  Kenji has the tendency to steal the show in this series but never more so than in Ignite Me. PLEASEEEEE tell me this is not the end for Kenji, Ms. Mafi. Please tell me you have a novella, or better yet, an entire spin off series planned for him. I read yesterday in Jamie's  interview with Mafi over at The Perpetual Page Turner (read that HERE) that Kenji is her favorite character to write--and that he is actually based on her older brothers in part. Clearly you love him as much as I, Tahereh (well, let's not go overboard here...I mean I really, really, really love him....) so let's have more of this shining star in the future, yes?? 

Ok, enough about the characters--what about the technicalities, plotting and pacing and such? Well here's what you need to know--and I can't put this any better than my friend Jen @ Jen Ryland YA Romantics put it in her Ignite Me Review (Read that HERE), this book is 99% relationship drama- 1% everything else. Now let's again be honest. Isn't the main reason most of us have enjoyed this series because of the romance? I mean--yeah there is definitely a cool story underneath--Juliette has a death touch (and a few other crazy ass abilities it turns out) and the only people who can touch her are two insanely hot boys who also happen to be brothers (though one of them still doesn't know this) and who basically want to kill each other. Have in fact, tried to kill each other on numerous occasions. I mean isn't that stuff--that high drama that could stand toe to toe with any daytime soap opera--what has kept the majority of us enthralled? If I look at it from that line of thought than I should be out of my mind THRILLED that this final book devotes so much time to the romance/ relationship drama between Juliette, Adam and Warner. But here's the strange thing. As I was reading Ignite Me--as I was completely covered, drowning, in this super duper intense, explosive high drama--a very small part of my brain kept about the rebellion? What about taking down the Restablishment? What about the ultimate baddie Anderson, Warner's dad, where is he in all this? And as the pages began to dwindle and the relationship drama monster continued to rage on, I began to worry. I began to wonder if we were going to get the proper ending that this dystopian thriller--like all dystopian thrillers--deserved. Did it happen in the end? Well, yes and no. There is resolution. The conclusion is not opened ended.  But in my humble opinion it could've been better. It could have been longer. It could've been more explosive. It was, to me anyway, more than a little anticlimactic. (As you can clearly see above in the Goodreads graph.) So yeah, that kinda sucked for this reader. 

Ok--so that was a downer paragraph, huh? Let's turn this around (because I always try to end with the positive) and talk about something better. Let's talk about what Tahereh Mafi pretty much always manages to get right: swoony, hot and heavy ROMANCE.  Look, I read a lot of YA. And I read a fair bit of Adult fiction. But I gotta tell you--Tahereh Mafi can bring the steam. She is a bonafide expert when it comes to the 3 "S''s- steam, sizzle and swoon.  Shatter Me was hot (hello, shower scene anybody??) But Unravel Me--for this reader at least--absolutely blew the cover off just about every other YA read out there when Mafi penned the now infamous chapter 62. Fans of that particular aspect of Mafi's writing will be happy to hear that Ignite Me has it's own version of the fabled Chapter 62 (Psst! It's Chapter 55--be on the look out!)

I've seen it written again and again, and I have to agree--Ms. Mafi if you should ever decide to do a little hop over into the adult genre to do some romance writing, I for one will DEFINITELY be reading. 

I loved chapter 55---I did. And I could leave it at that and move on. But listen--and this might just be me: as much as I loved it, I loved Chapter 62 more.  Read into that what you will but here is why: I loved the declarations in chapter 62. I loved the words. I loved those deep, soul baring, panty- dropping words, people. And while there may or may not be some panty -dropping in chapter 55, there didn't seem to be as many words. And I kind of missed that. 

So, overall my impressions of Ignite Me? I have to say that I am torn as a reader. There were some things that I definitely liked. Some important things. But there were a lot more smaller things that I didn't. And for me at least, all of those smaller things really started to add up once I finished reading and started to mull it all over.  The romance was great--but the characters shifts this late in the game kept me off balance the entire book. The triangle was messy--as triangles tend to be, which is why one of my close reader friends is officially challenging herself to go triangle free in 2014-- and the way that it ended did not sit well with me on the whole. A lot of plot threads that I thought would lead somewhere just didn't at all--and that bugs me because it feels like a missed opportunity in some ways. But I get that Mafi wrote this book to chronicle the evolution of a girl, a girl who started out a frightened shell of a person, and winds up being a leader of a rebellion in many ways. If that was Mafi's ultimate goal with this series than I must admit she succeeded. But for this reader anyway--I had hoped for a little more--and can't help walking away from this series kind of deflated and bummed out. For me, this book didn't compare to Unravel Me in terms of complexity, action, and swoon appeal. 

But that's just me being honest. And my opinion should, by no means keep all of you out there from experiencing this series for yourself. I hope that it won't :)

Find Tahereh Mafi here:  website / goodreads / twitter / facebook / youtube / tumblr

Read more reviews of Ignite Me:
The Perpetual Page Turner
Jen Ryland/ YA Romantics
The Starry-Eyed Revue

 photo HeatherSignaturedeepred_zps3409da14.png


  1. Okay, Marlene. I had very mixed reactions to the first book, but I am very curious about where the story goes next--AND all the crazy reactions to this third installment have me very curious! It sounds like this left you with very complicated feelings, and even if I don't love certain things about a book or series, creating that level of investment and emotion in readers is a really rare and awesome thing. I'm...sorry this didn't quite turn out the way you expected or wanted, but I'm glad the experience hasn't turned you off the author's future books.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

    1. It definitely left me feeling TORN. And deflated. I wanted this to series, which has captured my attention for the last couple of years, to go out with this huge, ferocious bang--not slip quietly into the night (Gosh---dramatic much? Clearly Mafi's writing is rubbing off) But you get what I'm saying, Wendy. I know the pressure to pull off the perfect conclusion to a highly popular series is immense--so I cut the author some slack for sure. It just wasn't what I had hoped it would be. And no--I think Mafi is a fabulous writer--with room to grow, mature and develop--and would gladly, gladly read more by her in the future:)

  2. This is a fabulous review! I loved everything you had to say. Honestly, I'm a bit hesitant to read this book because I'm actually not that into the romance. I think I actually care more about the rebellion and dystopian world.. So to hear that it's barely even about the rebellion kind of puts me off.

    But I love how you gave me a great idea of what to expect from this book without any spoilers.

  3. This is a fabulous review! I loved everything you had to say. Honestly, I'm a bit hesitant to read this book because I'm actually not that into the romance. I think I actually care more about the rebellion and dystopian world.. So to hear that it's barely even about the rebellion kind of puts me off.

    But I love how you gave me a great idea of what to expect from this book without any spoilers.

    1. Thanks Ashley! Well, I don't want to tell anyone NOT to read a book--but if you aren't really that into the romance aspect of this series then this more than likely is not the book for you. I loved the romance but man, this book brought the DRAMA.

  4. I feel like I'm just doomed with series in general. I can count on one hand the number of trilogies that have worked for me and this inevitable sense of disappointment - particularly due to relationship angst - is such a universal issue. I'm not a fan of Mafi's writing style and couldn't make it through Shatter Me, though now I'm glad I didn't try. I know Lauren really didn't like this installment and the fact that NONE of your predictions came true is jarring and strange. Plus, to have the characters make a complete 180 is such an unsettling experience. I'm sorry this one didn't work out better for you, Heather, since I know itwas one of your most anticipated releases this year. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that endings like Ruin & Rising and Dreams of Gods and Monsters wind up making up for this one.

    1. I think a lot of us are beginning to feel that way about series' Keertana! This book didn't affect me as negatively as it did Lauren (who really, really struggled with it, and as her friend that was hard for me to watch) but it definitely was not all that I had hoped for. Which is ironic because, as I said, the boy i think was the best match for the girl got her in the end. Very, very much the same reaction I had to another controversial series conclusion: Boundless.

      I am RIGHT THERE WITH YOU in hoping and praying for more from the series conclusions of The Grisha and Smoke & Bone Trilogies! I think we will all breathe a collective sigh of relief once all of these series are out just so the apprehension and crazy excitement finally comes to an end. Well, or until the next series pulls us under...:)

  5. I'm just not sure what to think about this series Heather! I enjoyed the first one and I was firmly Team Adam, but then I simply could not escape all the Warner buzz when the second book and the novella came out, so then I got wondering what he would be like, but I didn't want to read any further because I really dislike when characters do a 180. Which, as you said above, is exactly what the three main characters do and I can't agree with you more that it's unsettling when that happens. I'm curious to see how everything turns out, but I have a feeling I'll be nothing but frustrated in the end. Thanks so, so much for this review, it was extraordinarily helpful!!!

    1. I know what you mean, Jenny. I started out totally, totally feeling one way about one of the boys only to change my mind completely. It's tough because really both of the love interests in this series are SO COMPELLING and well written. I have several friends who remained Team Switzerland throughout because they just could not decide who they liked more.

      I really disliked feeling so tense and suspicious the whole time I was reading--I mean if I'm reading a suspense, or a mystery or a thriller--that's cool--I expect it. But in this case it was not only unexpected it was just handled badly. There was nothing subtle about it--it was just IN YOUR FACE. I do hope you'll finish this series at some point and I hope you don't struggle with certain aspects as much as I did:)

  6. I think it's just you and me on Team Liked It -- everyone else is on Team Loved It or Team Hated It.
    I really did enjoy the swoony parts a lot but after I'd fanned myself off there were definitely things that I wondered about. I'm hoping that these Death Match Love Triangles are on the outs in YA. I'd love more complicated relationships, like those in the Shadow and Bone series. I just have no idea where that's headed!
    Jen @ YA Romantics

    1. Team Liked It--perfect description. And yes--after finishing the book, and writing down some thoughts, some of those nagging issues I felt really came to the forefront. I definitely wish it had just been MORE.

      Amen to The Death Match Triangle (Winner takes all! Loser gets SQUAT!) hitting the road. I'm ready for that as well. Let's drop this ploy to create more tension and just get back to the story at hand:)

  7. I only liked this book. I finished it last night and I honestly feel the same way as you did (and Jen...I agree with you as well). Add me to team I liked it. I wasn't blown away, I missed more of the main story arc, got tired of love drama, but overall it was an enjoyable read. Will I reread this series? No prob not :-( I love Mafi's writing--and her swoony scenes are the best...but I felt the characters changed dramatically and I think I might have missed the growth part. Seemed like they just switched. Anyway--beautiful review!

    1. That's 3 for Team Liked It ! :) Woo Hoo, our numbers are growing ;) Yeah--I doubt I'll ever do a full re-read of the series either--but I do have Ch 62 of Unravel Me marked and noted for any time I'm needing some serious swoon in my life :)

  8. I have to agree. Chapter 62 > Chapter 55 because I missed those gorgeous words, too. Chapter 55 was all about actions and maybe it's because the words had already been spoken, but I still prefer Ch. 62. Also, even though I loved this book, I felt like there should have been less focus on the romance and more on the revolution. The showdown with Anderson was kind of lame. :( Anyway, great review. I would also read Mafi's adult books...just imagine the swooning she could induce! :D

    1. I totally, totally second that Jen--while I appreciated the Action--i sure did miss the lead up--those amazing words. Maybe it is like you said--the words had already been spoken--but hey wouldn't it have been nice to have the words AND the Action at the same time? isn't that how it normally goes down? Ah, well. It is what it is.

      Perhaps Mafi will take not of those of us hoping she breaks into the adult fiction market--because Mafi writing no-holds barred adult romance?? Holy Smokes. That would be insanely good stuff ;)

  9. You helped make this book bearable for me! Thank you, friend. I like this review a lot, and I think you highlighted the positive and negative points very well. I think Mafi WAS trying to do what you describe in your last paragraph - "chronicle the evolution of a girl, a girl who started out a frightened shell of a person, and winds up being a leader of a rebellion in many ways." Though I have a lot of mixed feelings about how that happened, and Juliette in general. She never brought out the warm fuzzies for me. I just think lot of my sadness has to do with letting go of what I thought was going to happen in this book, and feeling like this book tries to erase all of emotional reaction to the first book. Thanks for being there for me through this process!

  10. Kudos to all of you and your awesomeness at being spoiler free in your reviews and getting your thoughts across so well! I haven't posted mine yet but I had to stick a big fat 'SPOILERS' at the top. I just couldn't do it any other way. lol I'm glad you at least still liked it. :)


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