Disclaimer: I received an Advanced Reader Copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Today I am reviewing Ignite by Jenna Terese, an epic superhero novel full of meaningful themes, compelling characters, and a rollercoaster plot!
I’m so excited to tell you guys my thoughts, so let’s jump right in!
This review is completely spoiler-free.
What if superhumans weren’t considered heroes?
When Scarlett Marley is attacked by an illegal super with fire powers, she doesn’t get burned, but now she has a fire-like glow flickering in her eyes.
With superpowers criminalized, she has no choice but to turn herself over to the Superhuman Containment Facility, or risk hurting everyone she loves.
Her normal life seems lost forever, until she is selected to be one of the first to receive the experimental cure to destroy her powers. In exchange, she must first complete one mission:
Infiltrate and capture one of the largest gangs of supers in the remains of once-great Rapid City.
With the cure and all her future at stake, Scarlett is prepared to do whatever it takes to bring these criminals to justice so she can return to her family. But this gang and their leader, Rez, aren’t what everyone says, and Scarlett begins to question everything she was ever told about the SCF and the fire flowing in her veins.
The cure is her only hope for returning her life to what it was before, but is that life worth returning to after all?
I’ll start off by saying that I give Ignite all five stars. It was thrilling, plot-twisty, and totally heartrending!
Personally, themes are always the deciding factor in whether I’ll keep reading a book or put it down. Ignite did not disappoint! It incorporates these wonderful themes:
- found family
- embracing the unique and special person God created you to be
- God gives each of us gifts, which are to be used for His glory.
I connected deeply with each of these themes, and it was awesome to see them handled with Biblical truth and honesty.
The themes of equality and found family are two of my favorites that I absolutely love reading in Christian fiction!
I loved how the supers of Rapid City are true family to one another, perfectly showing God’s intention for family: Those joined by the true blood-ties of Christ’s crucifixion.
The theme of equality was just as powerful. On first glance at the cover, I supposed the novel was only speculating on what it would be like if superpowers were illegal. And I thought, How fun! But as I read Ignite, I realized it is so much more. So much more. This story brought me to tears because it reminded me of everything happening in our world – all the discrimination and hate. The theme of being who God created you to be is so relevant for today. The best thing? Ignite tells a story of hope, love, and redemption. It showed me that love wins over hate, and I appreciate that so much. This story taught me to have more hope and to share that hope with others. Just like Rez did.
I also loved the theme of using the gifts God has given us for His glory. We are each special and valuable to God, as Rez told Scarlett. We can – and are called to – use our gifts to help others see Him, to change the world for the better, to embody love over hate.
Jenna Terese employs these powerful themes and messages in a way that is not preachy, but entertaining and encouraging. As such, everyone can enjoy them and be reached by them, which I love! I just love everything about these themes.
Oh my goodness. The characters, the characters, the characters!! Each character was compelling, from those who appeared in only a couple scenes to those who appeared in nearly all of them. But I’m gonna limit myself to reviewing only the main ones, ’cause y’all will have to read Ignite yourselves to meet all of them!
*attempts to stifle my fangirling and fails* REZ WAS MY FAVORITE CHARACTER IN THIS BOOK BY FAR!!
He’s compassionate, kind, gentle, understanding, and just… UGH. How can you not love a man who carries children on his hip, looks after a certain shady and rebellious someone, and READS THE BIBLE AND LOVES THE GOSPEL OF MARK?!?
If you don’t love Rez the most, you’re insane.
*takes a deep breath and calms down somewhat*
Rez is the mentor character of Ignite, but Terese made him completely unique and different from all other mentor characters I’ve ever read. I loved how he never preached at Scarlett or anyone else, since I find that too many mentors are just like “You should shape up” and ramble on about that for an entire page, and then expect the protagonist to listen. Instead, Rez shows by his actions that he is a man of the Word, and therefore I was not at all surprised when it was explicitly revealed that he is a Christian. Sure, I stopped reading for a moment to clutch my heart and squeal even louder over him, but I was unsurprised. Now that’s how you write a mentor character, people! After all, Christians should live in a way that others can immediately tell we are different. Scarlett and her gang were already reflecting that Rez was “different” way before he actually whips out the Bible.
Rez is absolutely precious. I LOVE HIM SO MUCH. AND HE’S MINE. NO ONE ELSE CAN HAVE HIM.
*takes another deep breath*
I did an entire post on Instagram about Rez a while back just ’cause I love him so much! Y’all can read that right over here if you’re interested.
I found Scarlett extremely relatable, which is the first thing I look for in a protagonist.
Scarlett hates her powers. She doesn’t see them as gifts. She believes that superhumans shouldn’t exist, that the SCF’s cure is the answer to getting rid of them forever.
Scarlett is relatable because she doesn’t understand that God has a purpose for her life and is planning something beautiful for it. I definitely get that feeling. More than once in my life, I’ve disliked being different, I’ve wished God could have done things the way I wanted, I’ve scorned the gifts He has given me and neglected to use them for His glory, and I’ve feared that He doesn’t have a beautiful plan and purpose for my life.
I found myself really caring about Scarlett and her journey. I’m so glad that her journey is one of finding hope and coming to believe in God. That is so inspiring.
I seriously loved every moment of Dr. Bailey’s “screen time.” He was so complex, and I thoroughly enjoyed Terese’s portrayal of him.
I think he may have supposed to have been the villain, but I actually didn’t perceive him as such. In my thinking, Crynn was the real villain. (More on her later.) Dr. Bailey was more of an antagonist. He kind of came across like he was just doing what he thought he had to do without particularly enjoying it.
I had mixed feelings on him throughout the novel. When his past was revealed, I softened toward him. He seemed quite broken, and that made me very sympathetic. Although I didn’t like his actions one bit, I could understand why he believed these lies about supers. But then something more was revealed, and I was thrown into turmoil once again. In the end, I still felt sympathy for him, even after we find that he didn’t tell Scarlett anything close to the whole truth. The way it struck me, Dr. Bailey does actually care, and he thinks he’s doing the right thing. He’s lost, and as a result he makes terrible decisions. I don’t love him for it, but I don’t loathe him either.
As previously stated, I believe Crynn is the real villain of the story.
Of all the characters, she was probably the one I liked least, simply because we don’t learn very much about her or her motivations. We get a tiny peek into her mindset, but that’s about it. I was waiting on edge to find out more about her connections with Dr. Bailey and her relationship with Rez, but very little was revealed.
However, her relationship with Rez was one of my favorite subplots of the novel. And I believe she will be returning in book two, so I’m not too worried over the lack of information on her. We’ll be getting all the tea in the next book, which I am insanely excited for!
Ares, Nadia, and Seth
Ares, Ares, Ares. What else can I say? #aresfanclub
It’s fun that Scarlett and Ares have opposite powers to one another – ice and fire – so they have to stay far enough away so as not to cancel each other out. I loved that little detail!
I loved Nadia right at the moment we meet her. It was a thrill to see her go from shy, quiet, and withdrawn at the beginning to strong and courageous by the end. I connected with her on so many levels because of that. Her development was superb, and I can’t wait to see more of her character arc!
I didn’t like Seth as much as the other two. His changing moods had me confused at points. From Scarlett’s POV, I gathered that his character is meant to be like that, but it was a bit difficult to keep up with. One second he felt one way, then the next second he felt another way, and it didn’t make much sense. But I’m sure we’ll get to know his character much more in-depth in the next book!
Overall, these three characters were awesome! I loved how Terese gave them each their own journeys, goals, and complex backstories. Some authors tend to neglect the side characters and give the MC wonderful development while the sidekicks are cardboard props for the MC. And some authors make the side characters way more interesting than the MC. Terese absolutely knocked the creation of her sidekicks out of the park! They weren’t just props for Scarlett – they were their own characters. And they were equally as interesting as Scarlett, not way more interesting or way less interesting. Love it!
Ignite is a beautiful story with spectacular themes, messages, and characters! The plot was engaging and drew me right in. The superpowers were epic.
Please read Ignite right now! You won’t regret it, I absolutely promise you. I needed this wonderful novel in my life, and I’m so glad I read it! You can head right over here to buy it.
Tell me in the comments below, are you planning to read Ignite? If you already read it, what did you think? Please fangirl over Rez with me! XD
Love you all, my fellow disciples who write!