Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi
Series: Shatter Me #3
Published by HarperCollins on February 4th, 2014
Shelve It: Goodreads
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.
Ignite Me was everything I have ever wanted to say to Juliette. It was everything I had hoped for Juliette to become. And it was everything I wish this entire series had been. While parts were quite info-dumpy and there was very little in actual character development, I still found I really enjoyed Ignite Me for finally giving me the heroine I had been seeking since Shatter Me.
Ignite Me wastes absolutely no time informing Juliette of how cowardly and ridiculous she has been. As Warner shares his secrets, secrets that I think some readers will have a hard time coming to terms with, Juliette begins to see not only Warner, but more importantly, herself in a new light.
For so many years I thought my life was difficult; I thought I understood what it meant to suffer. But this. This is something I can’t even begin to comprehend. I never stopped to consider that someone else might have it worse than I do.
It makes me feel ashamed for ever having felt sorry for myself.
I absolutely loved watching Warner give Juliette the verbal lashing that she has needed for the past two books.
“You didn’t react against my threats. You wouldn’t respond to the things that mattered. You acted like an insolent child,” he says. “You didn’t like your clothes. You wouldn’t eat your fancy food.”
“Here I was, prepared to defend my life against an uncontrollable monster who could kill,” he says, “kill a man with her bare hands – ” He bites back another laugh. “And you threw tantrums over clean clothes and hot meals. Oh,” he says, shaking his head at the ceiling, “you were ridiculous.
What surprised me the most, however, was how quickly Juliette took what Warner was saying at face value. The first 70-odd pages of Ignite Me are conversations between Warner and Juliette that mostly centred around three topics: what he says happened to Omega Point and her friends, how he says she misperceived him for the first two books, and how he isn’t the monster she always pictured him to be. While I was quick to want to believe him, because I’ve loved Warner since Destroy Me, I was also waiting for Juliette to stop being so naive and question whether he might be telling her further lies; whether he might have ulterior motives. Warner even admits, at one point, that he’s the same person he’s always been; it’s Juliette who has changed, not him.
Not-so-surprising was Adam’s anger toward Juliette’s new-found compassion for Warner. What was surprising, however, was how quick he was to verbally assault Juliette, becoming this cruel and bitter version of himself I didn’t recognize.
No gun, no sword, no army or kind will ever be more powerful than a sentence. Swords may cut and kill, but words will stab and stay, burying themselves in our bones to become corpses we carry into the future, all the time digging and failing to rip their skeletons from our flesh.
And it’s because of his cruelty, in the face of her compassion, that Juliette begins to question what their relationship really meant.
I’ve worried so much about Adam these past weeks – the effects of his training, the news of his father – but I don’t know if it’s been out of love, or if it’s been out of guilt. He left everything for me; because he wanted to be with me. But as much as it pains me to admit it, I know I didn’t run away to be with him. Adam wasn’t my main reason; he wasn’t the driving force.
I ran away for me. Because I wanted to be free.
Adam was the first and only person who’d ever shown me compassion. The first, and, at the time, only person who was able to touch me. I was caught up in the impossibility of it, so convinced fate had brought us together.
Being with Adam gave me a new kind of strength. I was still scared and still very broken and Adam cared for me, giving me a reason to stand up for myself when I was too weak to realize I had always been reason enough.
Maybe we both fell in love with the illusion of something more.
View Spoiler » While I loved that Juliette finally took her destiny in to her own hands, I am upset that it was at the expense of Adam’s character. Instead of allowing Juliette and Adam to work through their problems, to allow them a few moments for Juliette to explain that her rejection of him had very little to do with Warner and much more to do with her new-found inner strength, Ignite Me turned Adam into a vicious and bitter person. Ignite Me made Adam into an unlikeable person, I think, so that his fans would be more willing to accept Warner as Juliette’s new romantic interest. Considering his importance to Juliette throughout the first two books in this series, even if he was important to her for the wrong reasons, his treatment in Ignite Me is pretty cold. « Hide Spoiler
I loved watching Juliette work through her feelings for Adam. I loved watching her recognize that what she initially called “love” might have been mere attraction, born out of a desperate need for human contact with the one person she could touch; born out of a lack of options. And I loved that she was finally strong enough to separate her personal life from what was more important – finally defeating The Reestablishment. While Adam was screaming that she needed to make a choice, she was calmly telling him that their personal drama could wait, and that it would wait, while she sought to free future generations from living in fear.
While there is a lot of talking/thinking about romantic entanglements, most of Ignite Me is spent training for the final showdown between Juliette and co., and Anderson, the Supreme Commander of The Reestablishment. So while Juliette spends lots of time working through her many and varied feelings, for both Adam and Warner, she’s more focused on how to achieve her end goal: killing Anderson. I appreciated Juliette’s commitment to finishing what Omega Point had started, I loved her growing confidence and that when it came time to act, she was ready. While I found their plan to be shaky, at best, I enjoyed watching Juliette finally kick some ass, the way I always knew she was capable of. And I love that she did it on her own! My biggest issue with her new attitude, however, was that it was born overnight. The first few pages of Ignite Me scared me; Juliette was the crying, shaking, sobbing, broken mess from Shatter Me and Unravel Me. And then after a few revelations and a little encouragement from Warner, she was suddenly confident in her desire for justice. It was all very sudden and is the biggest reason I said that Ignite Me had very little in terms of character development.
I really enjoyed Ignite Me. Sure, it wasn’t without it’s issues, but I mostly wasn’t bothered! I loved that Juliette finally became the heroine I had been looking for since Shatter Me; my only real complaint is that it took her three books to get there!