Before She Ignites by Jodi Meadows

Before She Ignites

BeforeMira 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 compu...

Title:Before She Ignites
Author:
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Before She Ignites Reviews

  • Jodi Meadows

    Lots and lots of dragons. I'm not even kidding when I say I'm working on a dragon guide for other nerds who want to know all the things about the dragons in these books.

    --

    This is a book that I am writing.

    It now has a title. But I'm not going to tell you what it is . . . yet. Soon, though. Soon!

    --

    9/28: I saw a piece of the cover -- an important piece -- and I can't express how beautiful the cover is going to be. I can't wait to see the whole thing!

    --

    9/30: TITLE REVEAL ON MONDAY.

    --

    10/3: And it

    Lots and lots of dragons. I'm not even kidding when I say I'm working on a dragon guide for other nerds who want to know all the things about the dragons in these books.

    --

    This is a book that I am writing.

    It now has a title. But I'm not going to tell you what it is . . . yet. Soon, though. Soon!

    --

    9/28: I saw a piece of the cover -- an important piece -- and I can't express how beautiful the cover is going to be. I can't wait to see the whole thing!

    --

    9/30: TITLE REVEAL ON MONDAY.

    --

    10/3: And it has a title!! BEFORE SHE IGNITES!

  • Laura

    I didn't know much about this one before picking the book up other than dragons. Let me repeat that: DRAGONS. And I am more than pleased with how it turned out. I didn't expect a story filled with politics and imprisonment stemming from a treaty made between islands the day Mira was born.

    I didn't know much about this one before picking the book up other than dragons. Let me repeat that: DRAGONS. And I am more than pleased with how it turned out. I didn't expect a story filled with politics and imprisonment stemming from a treaty made between islands the day Mira was born.

    Mira, a girl of incredible privilege who is seen as the face of the treaty, discovers a truth and is sent to the deepest, deadliest prison in the Fallen Isles for it. Unprepared for the new life before her, she must find a way to survive while waiting for the Luminary Council to realize their mistake. Can Mira survive the pit and keep the very secret that sent her here with a guard wanting nothing more than to find out what that secret is?

    And did I mention the dragons? Because that's a large part of the world in this book. While there could've been a lot more with dragons in these pages, they do appear in a few scenes. Even when they aren't present, the dragons are discussed a good amount. Mira

    dragons. They are her passion regardless of what is expected out of someone of her stature. This made me admire Mira because she truly cares. I enjoyed learning about the different species of dragons. I just wish there had been more scenes. Something tells me future books will make this happen.

    I wasn't sure how to feel about the protagonist at first because it takes a moment to get to know her and really see her personality. It doesn't help that we get to know her at her lowest point being put in prison, pretty much the last place she's equipped to be in. Growing up, her mother always pointed out what she viewed as flaws while stressing how lucky Mira is to be pretty causing Mira to think that's all she is: a pretty face. Her arc is one of growth throughout the novel. I appreciate the development she goes through as she finds strength. Mira is incredibly caring and empathetic. Oh and did I mention her crippling anxiety? It is written very well. And she has OCD and counts compulsively. The panic attacks Mira has are very realistic. This was my other favorite aspect of the novel.

    I was a bit put off by the before and after stuff only for how often it jumps around in the timeline. It is hard to keep track of the when of things with how often it would jump further into the past, go back to present day, and then go to just a month ago. No, let's go back ten years this time. Now we're going back seven months. It just felt like a lot and had me constantly flipping between chapters to see where said chapter fit into the timeline.

    While I really enjoyed what world building there was, I want more. There is still so much we don't know about. Things and places were mentioned but not explored even remotely. And I'm a bit unclear as to how exactly Mira's father was the one to write the treaty, yet the Luminary Council had all the control when it came to Mira's situation. I'd like more detail on her family, as well as the political system. Plus, am I the only one who didn't fully understand these noorestones?

    It's exciting to see a fantasy series with a POC protagonist who is also an excellent mental health rep. And the entire storyline involving the dragons is so fun. Mira's friendships are wonderful to read about. There are a couple big twists. And the book definitely leaves you in need of the sequel - making it easier for me to forget about the issues I had.

  • Korrina  (OwlCrate)

    Love love love!

  • Nina (Every Word A Doorway)

    My reactions to the premise:

    And that's how you turn around a premise from mainstream garbage to something I actually take an int

    My reactions to the premise:

    And that's how you turn around a premise from mainstream garbage to something I actually take an interest in. And if the heroine is a person of colour, as the cover has us believe, then all the better.

  • Cait • A Page with a View

    4.5 stars. It's illegal DRAGON TRAFFICKING + politics with a truly wonderful main character.

    I've been a bit hesitant going into the first books in new series recently because a lot of them set up interesting worlds and a list of characters but don't actually do a lot with the page time. This was a well-rounded story that delivered some great character growth & action while building a truly impressive world. So I'm really looking forward to the sequel now since there's a great cast of charact

    4.5 stars. It's illegal DRAGON TRAFFICKING + politics with a truly wonderful main character.

    I've been a bit hesitant going into the first books in new series recently because a lot of them set up interesting worlds and a list of characters but don't actually do a lot with the page time. This was a well-rounded story that delivered some great character growth & action while building a truly impressive world. So I'm really looking forward to the sequel now since there's a great cast of characters and a strong plot to build on! Plus, I really appreciated that the dragon smuggling and political conflicts had depth to them. The author clearly put a lot of thought into the politics, religion, and history of everything.

    And I was totally expecting Mira's best friend/bodyguard to instantly be the love interest & main focus, so it was a nice change to not see so much page time spent on the flecks of color in his eyes or how he smelled. (I'm sorry, I really don't mean to bash other YA books to praise this one. I love those books, too, but this was definitely a refreshing change).

    One thing I really loved about the whole book was the author's ability to really capture a moment. Most of the story took place in the prison, but it totally worked because that place felt SO REAL. Mira has anxiety (and OCD? not sure) and you could completely

    her struggles and determination to persevere. I really liked her character. She's been told her looks are her main asset, so throughout the story she finds her own power/voice and chooses to be more than a political puppet.

    AND DID I MENTION THERE ARE DRAGONS.

    Thank you to the publisher for sending me an ARC!

  • Cesar

    Thank you all for the nice reviews and likes! If you're interested in more of these talks, I made one for

    . Check it out!

    **********************************************************************

    The link that was supposed to go to Justina's blog won't work because Justina deleted all of her blogs and even her Twitter after she got some heat for berating an author which backfired on her. So the link won't work.

    ***********

    Thank you all for the nice reviews and likes! If you're interested in more of these talks, I made one for

    . Check it out!

    **********************************************************************

    The link that was supposed to go to Justina's blog won't work because Justina deleted all of her blogs and even her Twitter after she got some heat for berating an author which backfired on her. So the link won't work.

    **********************************************************************

    This is something I've been meaning to talk about for the past few days, but I was a bit worried about how I should write this. After some thinking, I decided I'm going to write this. This isn't a review or thoughts on the book per say, it's about what Justina Ireland had said about the book.

    Now, I mean no disrespect to Justina or her work. I may disagree with her on some things, but she does help the YA community when it comes to problematic situations. Case in point,

    . I'm mainly talking about how she felt about the cover of the book as well as the publishing industry.

    Now, as you can see, the girl on the cover is Black. You might also notice that Jodi Meadows is white. To me, when I saw the cover, I thought: "Cool. A POC main character on the cover!" Then when I found out Mira, the main character, has anxiety, I was even more intrigued. What sealed the deal for me was that this book has dragons and illegal dragon trafficking.

    I'm really looking forward to this book! It's got political intrigue, a POC main character,

    What more could you want?

    ... Then I read Justina's post on this on her blog and my reaction to it was: *Deep sigh* I'll leave a link to what she was talking about.

    Here's what she said that I kind of agree/disagree with: "But the fact that the cover appears to be the first of it’s kind and it belongs to a white author serves to reinforce the absolute whiteness of publishing. Because even when it wants to increase representation, publishers look to white authors to fill that need."

    Basically, what she's saying is is that white authors get a better rep when they're writing a book with a POC as the main character. And while I agree with that, a part of me doesn't. Here's why.

    I'm Mexican-American (if my name wasn't that obvious about my ethnicity) and I love to read. It's been my passion ever since my freshman year of high school and continues to be to this day. The more I read, the more I got to read about different characters. Sure, some are white, but I've also read books where the main character is Black, Chinese, Mexican, Japanese, etc., and I very much enjoyed them! I knew that some of the POC characters came from white authors and some who are POC write outside of their race. That didn't bother me. It might to some people, but not all. If a white author decided to write a book where the main character is Mexican, my first thought is: "Cool, someone is writing a book where I'm the same ethnicity as the main character." Not: "Ugh. A white author writing about a character who isn't the same race/ethnicity as them." I am not that type of person. I'm the former, not the latter.

    I understand that it's a big responsibility for white authors to learn and understand a race outside of their own. That's why there's research, talking to POC, and having sensitivity readers. I agree with that. What I

    do is get flustered if a white author writes outside of their own race.

    Look at

    , and the upcoming movie by Pixar,

    . The Book of Life and Coco center around the Day of the Dead, a Mexican holiday, whereas Moana is about Hawaiin mythology. I know that the team creating these movies were white (some, not all), but they did their research well. Obviously, they didn't just write the plot for these movies without research. Hell, the team behind Coco went to Mexico to learn more about the culture and Day of the Dead. To me, if an author or movie team does their proper research and makes the book/movie great, I don't see a problem with it if they're white so long as they did their research and didn't do anything problematic.

    This brings us back to Before She Ignites and Justina. Yes, Jodi Meadows is white. Yes, the MC in the book is black. But if Jodi her research well and has sensitivity readers, I don't see a problem with it. And Justina's blog post does bring up some

    about black authors in the publishing industry. By no means am I saying I'm an expert at this when I know nothing about what's going on in the publishing world. I have seen from different posts of how PoC, especially women, get the short end of the stick and that does bother people. I do not think I'm right. Do not take my word 100%. I don't know the struggle, so don't assume I know. Because I might be wrong about this and if I am, I will apologize and say I messed up, not delete the comments or review.

    Recently, I've been seeing POC authors writing books that have been successful. The

    duology by Renée Ahdieh.

    by Roshani Chokshi. And most recently,

    by Angie Thomas. There's also another book by a PoC author called

    by Nic Stone. There have been lots of diverse books recently that are becoming popular. It shows that diversity is good and promotes learning about a different culture and groups of people. Also, Nicola Yoon, anyone???

    (Also quick update,

    by Dhonielle Clayton has a WOC on the cover wearing a dress and the book is by a WOC.)

    One other thing: I notice how some people aren't exactly fond of the idea of Jodi writing a black character. I thought that people wanted inclusion. Meaning all authors of any color/race/ethnicity writing characters outside of their own race. That's a good thing because different types of people exist and the world isn't just white. But when an author does that, specifically a white author, the reception is mixed. Let me ask you this: What if a Nigerian woman decided to write a book about a Finnish man? Is it a bad thing if she writes about a white character even if she's black? No, because she is free to do that. Anyone, and I mean

    should write their characters how they want to write. Maybe Jodi pictured the MC as a WoC because that was the first thing she thought about. I'm all for inclusion and diversity. But when people are mad or not happy with a white author writing a book with a POC, that is not diversity. If anything, that's a counter-productive way of wanting diversity. Be happy more POC are being represented in media, not mad.

    And while Justina has done some good and has valid points, I do wish she wouldn't make a big deal out of this. I've been looking at some written posts about Before She Ignites and some POC are excited to have a Black female main character dealing with a mental illness. Hell, I'm excited to read the book! I just don't understand why Justina has to talk about Before She Ignites with such animosity. When it comes to the publishing industry, that I understand because it's not perfect. But Jodi is not the publishing industry. She's an author. While there are improvements to the publishing industry, I do think they have some work to do when it comes to diversity. I want there to be an improvement, and not let it be a house of just only white authors. We need diversity.

    This book has a POC female character dealing with anxiety disorder. The anxiety is also important because a lot of people can relate to the main character. Sure, her anxiety may be different than those of others, but we don't see a lot of it or rather, it isn't seen as often. I see potential in this book. I don't want both sides to argue. Let's just wait until the book is released.

    We can just meet somewhere in the middle.

    Also, I think it's pretty rude and immature to rate this book 1 star just because Jodi is white and her book has a WOC on the cover. (You think I'm joking, but I'm not. There are people who will rate books 1 star because why the fuck not?) Unless you have gotten an ARC and read it, I don't think it's right to rate a book 1 star just because. It's frankly childish to do that. To all those who are like that: You're better than that. Listen and learn. You may not agree with some, but it's best to listen first.

    Like I said, I may disagree with Justina, but I don't think she's wrong. As mentioned, she has pointed out several problematic issues in some books. I applaud her for that and think she's a great person. I don't mean to say she is wrong. I'm sure she's a great, nice and wonderful person. You may agree with me or not. You may agree with Justina or not. That's fine. Obviously, everyone has different opinions and are free to talk about them. This is just my two cents on the issue and by no means did I intend to insult anyone. And if I did, kindly point it out so I can learn and apologize.

    If you want, feel free to leave a comment talking about this. I only ask for respect and no insults. We're all mature people here. I'm more than happy to discuss this.

    Thank you.

  • Francina Simone

    There is a review on my channel where I discuss the book and the little bit of controversy around it:

  • Val ⚓️ ShamelessBitchySKANKY ⚓️ Steamy Reads
  • Melissa ♥ Dog Lover ♥ Martin

    I'm not really sure how I feel about this book. I loved some parts and others I'm not too sure about so I'm going to go with 3 stars for now. I will do a re-read before the next book comes out and maybe that will be better =)

    Mira is friends to dragons but the dragons are being hurt in this book. Mira also goes to prison because of reasons. She meets some cool peeps there.

    Then she gets out for a bit and gets back to her best friends only to be sent back to prison with her friends. It's all craz

    I'm not really sure how I feel about this book. I loved some parts and others I'm not too sure about so I'm going to go with 3 stars for now. I will do a re-read before the next book comes out and maybe that will be better =)

    Mira is friends to dragons but the dragons are being hurt in this book. Mira also goes to prison because of reasons. She meets some cool peeps there.

    Then she gets out for a bit and gets back to her best friends only to be sent back to prison with her friends. It's all crazy.

    Most of the time is spent in the prison but I'm hoping that with the way things were headed at the end that the next book will be even better!

    And it has dragons! And I hope something good comes out of it =)

    Mel ♥

  • Melody

    I want black teens to know exactly what you're getting into with Before She Ignites. I'm concerned that a black girl will see this gorgeous cover in a library or bookstore and pick it up thinking it will empower and entertain her.

    Does that sound like a fun YA fantasy story to you? It's not to me.

    The plot: BSI is about Mira Minkoba, a political figurehead named after an influen

    I want black teens to know exactly what you're getting into with Before She Ignites. I'm concerned that a black girl will see this gorgeous cover in a library or bookstore and pick it up thinking it will empower and entertain her.

    Does that sound like a fun YA fantasy story to you? It's not to me.

    The plot: BSI is about Mira Minkoba, a political figurehead named after an influential treaty that united the island-nations her people come from.

    Mira doesn't want to do politics though, she just wants to hang out with dragons and her "friends". When Mira and her "friends" (her bodyguard & a dragon trainer assigned to her) stumble upon a plot to sell dragons to their enemies on the mainland, she feels obligated to stop it. The dragons were put on the islands by the gods and the island people are supposed to take care of them and whatnot. Selling them is illegal thanks to the treaty. Mira goes to the adults, unaware they're part of the scheme, and gets thrown in prison where she must come up with a plan to escape and save the dragons. Because saving the dragons will in turn save the islands from the wrath of the gods.

    Now I admit this is a cool concept. Unfortunately the author doesn’t fully explore any of the above.

    While Mira is played up as ~*special*~ and ~*perfect*~ and The Chosen One, she doesn't get treated that way.

    Our heroine is diminished by almost everyone she interacts with. Everyone is using her or hurting her in some way.

    Her mother is overly critical and thinks she's stupid, her sister is jealous of her, her mentors betray her

    , her cellmate ignores her for a while and then blames her when things get bad, her work detail boss

    on her first day, and the only real female friend she makes in prison betrays her too. It's appalling because sisterhood is taken seriously in black girl world. We look after each other. Why is there absolutely no one looking after Mira? Why is she completely alone in this?

    Her makeup artist is nice to her, but she's a servant. Her doctor is nice, but she only exists in flashbacks and is more of a vehicle to teach the audience about mental illness than an actual character in the narrative. Her dragon trainer "best-friend" from the island is nice to her too but that chick technically works for her (even Mira acknowledges that she's not like a real bestie).

    Even if it wasn't intentional, this is a book where all the black women are mean to the vulnerable black girl.

    So! Why does Mira go through all of this? Well, Mira wants to show everyone that she's strong and unbroken.

    Mira is naive and does dumb shit cause she has no street smarts. But Mira is book smart, she's empathetic, she's good with numbers, she catches on fast. All of these things seem secondary to having the tenacity to stand up again after being literally beaten down to the floor.

    The stereotypes from our world should not be showing up in a high fantasy book. From a racial and mental health standpoint, publishing a book in 2017 with the strong black woman trope hurts black girls. It takes away their humanity. It makes non-black people think their suffering is a virtue or how they push through pain is inspirational instead of a crying shame. Black girls are MORE than just pain and suffering.

    -- There are several long, detailed panic attack scenes. Like 2-3 pages long.

    -- About 75% of the book is set in an underground high security prison and no, there aren't any deep, profound statements presented about the prison industrial complex

    -- If torture upsets you, don't read this book. Seriously

    -- The main villain who does the most heinous shit in the book is a black man. Of course

    -- Other reviews mentioned she may have ripped some elements from The Mortal Instruments

    -- The ending is pretty to visualize but makes no sense

    -- NOT ENOUGH DRAGONS! If homegirl is willing to destroy her life for dragons I need more of them on the page! How are dragons the main plot point and barely show up on the page?????!!!!!!!!!!


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