Title: Ignite the Sun
Author: Hanna Howard
Release Date: August 18, 2020
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Summary: Once upon a time, there was something called the sun… In a kingdom ruled by an evil witch, the sun is just part of a legend about light-filled days of old. Luckily for everybody in the kingdom, Siria Nightingale is headed to the heart of the darkness to try and restore the light–or she will lose everything trying.
Sixteen year-old Siria Nightingale has never seen the sun. The light is dangerous, according to Queen Iyzabel, an evil witch who has shrouded the kingdom in shadow.
Siria has always hated the darkness and revels in the stories of the light-filled old days that she hears from her best friend and his grandfather. Besides them, nobody else understands her fascination with the sun, especially not her strict and demanding parents. Siria’s need to please them is greater even than her fear of the dark. So she heads to the royal city–the very center of the darkness–for a chance at a place in Queen Iyzabel’s court.
But what Siria discovers at the Choosing Ball sends her on a quest toward the last vestiges of the sun with a ragtag group of rebels who could help her bring back the Light … or doom the kingdom to shadow forever.
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“Being afraid doesn’t make you a coward…Everyone’s afraid of things. It’s how you react that makes you a coward.”
Ignite the Sun is one of those stories that’s unique and easily captivating. It’s brimming with bursts of beautiful prose and extravagant worldbuilding. The chapters end in a way that grasps your attention and guides you to the start of the next chapter. It was hard to put this story down, mainly for the fact that I needed to know what happened next. Ignite the Sun is a YA fantasy debut that someone could finish reading in two days, if not one. It’s the first book in a while that I’ve been able to devour in less than two days.
“I could not–would not–bu ruled by my fear. I could not use it, I could heed its advice, I could even let it fuel me…but I could not allow it to control me.”
Siria could easily be described as a delicate flower, in my opinion. It takes her most of the book to develop a hard shell, to understand that she’s not the weak girl she was made out to be. It also took her awhile to become acquainted with her new life and the powers hidden deep inside her. Siria does grow constantly throughout the story, but it’s only her growth I saw through the pages. The secondary characters, her companions, are not illustrated as strongly, but still represent the important roles they play in Siria’s life. My only big downfall with Siria was her constant questioning of everything and everyone. She’s uprooted from the only life she’s ever known and in an instant, she’s painted as the kingdom’s number one enemy, and must flee with those that kept her true heritage hidden from her. I understood her frustrations and why she questioned them, but it took awhile for her to come to peace with their choices and her lineage.
One thing I will say about Siria is that she is wholeheartedly devoted to her friends and newfound family. Originally, she’s devoted to the Queen and her kingdom, but her journey proves that those closest to her are more worthy of her heart. She’s definitely one of those characters that thinks with her heart, which is what made this story more personal. I could tell the author poured her heart and soul into this story and into Siria. It’s one of the parts that made this story so interesting.
“Today is the day she transforms, and today I shall know at last who among these girls is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.”
Queen Iyzabel is a worthy opponent and villain. Like most villains, there’s a reason for their villainess ways, which they use to justify their actions. Iyzabel is no different. But in the beginning of her reign, she failed to wipe out the one bit of light that could defeat her: Siria. Some of my favorite scenes were finding out the backstory about Iyzabel, so I could better understand her character and actions. She’s encased the kingdom in complete darkness and almost has everyone brainwashed to believe her horror stories about sunlight. Iyzabel is a villain that knows how to manipulate those around her, even without using magic. She’s deadly and not afraid to go after what she wants and what she believes she deserves. And all those qualities make for a woman destined to be a great villain.
The story itself was interesting enjoyable. I really liked the premise and I thought the storyline was unique and well executed. It’s a fast paced fantasy read that I was able to finish in days. Howard’s writing is well-developed and charming. Her writing effortlessly captures your attention and leaves you enthralled. That’s one of the main reasons I kept reading: I really enjoyed Howard’s writing and how beautifully she brought this story together. Each scene flowed well into the next that I never felt there were breaks or rough patches between the chapters. Howard wonderfully brought the world to life with vivid descriptions and lush prose, and that right there is one of the reasons why I’ll pick up her next book.
Ultimately, Ignite the Sun is a great story, with a unique and strong plot, but needed tighter character development. Even with the lack of some elements, I found Ignite the Sun to be a strong debut that I believe many readers will be able to read and enjoy in one sitting.
My rating: 3 out of 5 stars