Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi

March 13, 2014 Reviews 0 ½

Ignite Me by Tahereh MafiIgnite Me (The Juliette Chronicles #3) by Tahereh Mafi
Published: March 1st 2014 by Allen & Unwin
Format: Paperback, 416 pages
Genres: Dystopian
Source: Publisher
Goodreads0.5 Stars

With Omega Point destroyed,  Juliette doesn’t know if the rebels are alive. But that won’t keep her from trying to take down The Reestablishment once and for all. Now she must rely on Warner, the handsome commander of Sector 45. The one person she never thought she could trust. He promises to help Juliette master her powers and save their dying world … but that’s not all he wants with her.

I am severely disappointed. It’s a miracle I managed to finish this, and the whole time I was filled with despair and rage.

Let us begin.

Somewhere along the way this series stopped being about Juliette and the Reestablishment and her leaning to use her powers to bring it down. Somewhere in the second book, the focus shifted to a massive, annoying love triangle, which eclipsed everything else.

Unravel Me sowed the seeds, trying to make Warner look like a human being, and having Adam pull away from Juliette, because it was killing him to resist Juliette’s powers. The novella Destroy Me tried to convince readers that Warner was awesome-sauce and redeemable, which I think a lot of people believed. The other novella, Fracture Me, introduced the idea that Adam won’t always choose Juliette over everyone else.

It’s been painfully obvious for the while where this series is going.

Read the spoilers

I began Ignite Me with eagerness, wanting to get back to this world and see what kinds of kick-ass action goes down. Surprisingly, one has to read about 75% of the novel before anything of note happens. This is just sad. Incredibly sad. So what happens for the first 3/4 of the novel? Well, we get a tonne of relationship drama that I neither liked nor thought was necessary.

The two boys in question were basically at each other’s throats the whole time, all cave man stupidity, trying to piss all over Juliette to mark her as their territory. About ten pages in it became obvious that this book was going to be all about Juliette and Warner, because we got all these pathetic rationalisations of Warner’s behaviour. Basically everything we thought we knew about Warner was false!

Juliette thought that Warner had made her torture a child, but it turns out that was a simulation. Juliette thought that Warner had killed a soldier for no reason, but it turns out he was a wife beater and Warner wanted to help out the wife and kids. Warner had isolated Juliette during her initial stay with him, and turns out it was because she was afraid she was going to be raped by his monstrous men. Warner is a giant douche-canoe. He is abusive, psychotic, and controlling, but Mafi tries to convince us that he’s amazing and perfect and good and hot and sexy and understanding.

Juliette conveniently forgets that Warner once had Adam tied up and left for dead. This is actually never explored, which is incredibly stupid as it shows Warner is a psycho, but everyone in this book is tripping over themselves to forget it.

To make matters even worse, not only is Warner suddenly a Good Guy underneath the Psychotic Exterior, for some reason, Adam needs to be torn to shreds to make room for King (Shit) Warner. Mafi basically kills off everything that is good and likeable and honourable in Adam, and he becomes this ugly, jealous, rage-filled, pathetic creature that can’t let Juliette go. The sweet, caring, sexy guy who rescued Juliette from Warner ends up emotionally abusing her, and even hurts her physically on occasion, because apparently, that’s the only way the author the author could make the ridiculous love-triangle work.

Three quarters of this novel is about the love triangle. Juliette’s with Warner, then she’s with Adam, who’s turned into a monster, then she leaves and is with the other monster Warner, who’s also giving her the cold shoulder because oh he haz a broken heart, and finally she’s with Adam and Warner, trying desperately to get them to work together and declare a truce when she’s traipsing between them all the time. I have lost all respect for Juliette because she’s not honest with herself for too bloody long, and strings both men along for a while. I will never understand why she couldn’t tell them both to stuff themselves and choose neither.

One of the bright lights in Ignite Me is Kenji, who brings humour to the plot and grounds Juliette in many ways. I like how dependable and awesome he is, but he is also given depth and it’s shown how difficult it is or him to always been so optimistic around everyone. There’s something I don’t understand though – Juliette and Kenji have never been particularly close, and he’s always been Adam’s friend. So I don’t get the whole BFF thing going on between them, and find it highly unlikely that Kenji could take Juliette’s side over Adam’s.

While we’re on the subject of friends, I am utterly disappointed that Juliette never tried to make friends with any of the girls in the group. She’s gone years without any proper human contact, has never had any friends, and now chooses to only associate with two idiotic brothers and her “best friend”? It’s such a waste! I would have loved to see her cultivate a meaningful relationship with a female character, but I guess that would have given her too much agency.

It’s only in the last quarter of the novel that we really get anything resembling action. The training sequences are really cool, but interleaved between them are heart-to-heart conversations that rehash everything that’s happened, which left me feeling that the author was trying extremely hard to convince her readers that the ways she’d contorted her characters was natural. The characters had to keep declaring their love for each other, which makes me think that maybe even Mafi didn’t believe in it and it had to be repeated so often in the hopes that it would convince someone.

The final conflict was ridiculously anti-climatic, and didn’t even take up 10% of the novel (it’s 27 pages long, and Ignite Me is a 408 page novel). And don’t even get me started on Juliette becoming the supreme commander.

I have almost nothing good to say about this book. I personally think it was an absolute waste of my time, and I don’t know where all the amazing things I loved about the first book – the characters, the world-building, the exciting plot – have gone, and I am left with this atrocious pile of crap concerned more with who ends up in Juliette’s bed than fighting a rebellion.

It’s ridiculous. I don’t know why anyone would want to read this.

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