Ignite by Sara B. Larson

Title: Ignite
Author: Sara B. Larson
Series: Defy #2  
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release Date: December 30, 2014
Source: ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review (thank you Scholastic!)

Summary from Goodreads:
Murder, abductions, and forbidden romance abound in this thrilling sequel to Sara B. Larson's acclaimed YA debut, DEFY.

Alexa remains by the newly crowned King Damian’s side as his guard, ever committed to helping him rebuild Antion and reclaim the hope of Antion's people, despite continuing to harbor a secret love for him. However, when another threat to Damian and his kingdom emerges, and blame is cast on their newly forged allies from Blevon, Alexa knows things are not what they seem. With the fate of her nation hanging in the balance once again, will Alexa be able to protect her king and uncover the true enemy -- before it's too late?


As I mentioned in my review of Defy, I was lured into reading this series by the promise of Ignite being so good (and a surprise ARC from Scholastic). Although, Ignite wasn't quite AS good as I had hoped, it was definitely a stronger novel than Defy and thus, I enjoyed it more so.

Larson definitely kicks things up a notch this time around. The peace that was so hard fought in the first book, doesn't last long and soon Antion faces a new threat but this time it wears a pretty face and has a evil twin brother. The magic in this novel was  definitely cause for suspense and kept me turning pages. Ignite had more surprises, higher stakes, and a quicker pace. The plot was more intricate and maintained that political intrigue. And Alexa is as badass as always. I can't say this book is wholly original but it definitely weaves a lot of elements of a strong fantasy together and had some really great moments.

But as much as I loved the story, Ignite is still very much romance-focused, which was my main problem with Defy and remains my main problem with Ignite. If there is to be romance in a fantasy, I'd rather it be second to the fantastical stuff.  But that is solely a preference. Then again, preference aside, this wouldn't have been my favorite romance anyway. The love-triangle is gone, but Alexa's insecurities lead her to act foolishly. And she makes an age-old mistake at the end by withholding information from Damian. (When will our MC's learn!?)

If the romance was handled differently, I think I would really, really like this series. However, it still falls a little short for me. But the ending of Ignite, and the progression of this story, promises an exciting 3rd book to come and I will definitely be reading it.

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