In Review: Ignite the Shadows by Ingrid Seymour

Released: April 23rd 2015
Format: Paperback & Ebook
Publisher: Harper Voyager
ISBN-13: 978-0008120498

I received an early copy for review for the Xpresso Book Tour. The book is available now in e-formats, but will be available in paperback come October. It's the first installment in a planned trilogy, with good world building and a likable heroine.

Sixteen-year-old Marci Guerrero is one of the best teen hackers in Seattle. However, she’d give up all her talents to know she isn’t crazy. Since the death of her father, she's lead a bleak life. She's been running from shadows most of her life, certain that something is very wrong with her, and she's right, but its nothing that she could have ever imagined. Her mother thinks that she's suffering from epilepsy, rather than unknowingly fighting an alien invasion.

Marci feels possessed by shadowy spectres that take control of her body and make her do crazy things. The blackouts and loss of control are signs that a parasite has latched onto a person’s brain and is trying to take control of its host. Most succumb to the infection within a few days, but not Marci, she's survived for more than eleven years.

While spying on the clandestine group known as IgNiTe, she is confronted by their mysterious leader, James McCray. His presence stirs the spectres inside her brain into a maddening frenzy. Her symptoms and ability to control them don’t go unnoticed by James, who soon recruits her. As IgNiTe reveals its secrets, Marci starts to realize that half the world’s population is infected with sentient parasites, which are attacking and eventually supplanting the human brain.

Now Marci wishes she was crazy, because this truth is far worse. The Eklyptors, the ancient and invading force has a smart and very scary plan for the human race. While the idea of body snatching and alien invasions are nothing new, it doesn't make the palpable fear of slowly losing control any less real. Who's infected and controlled, and who isn't becomes a very scary question, and propels a lot of the story along.

The entire tone of the story is dark and very angsty, with a dystopian backdrop that'll delight the targeted young adult audience. The journey is very bleak, with a happy ending not likely. While there is plenty to love about the novel, there are a lot of glaring plot holes, with strings of story lines tossed to the side as new elements added. Being the first in a planned trilogy though, allows the opportunity for these issues to be corrected and for the story to feel more complete.

The action is well written, but IgNiTe has a bad habit of keeping too many secrets that could really enhance not only the reader's experience, but Marci's as well. She's consistently berated for doing the wrong thing, when she isn't given all of the details. It happens too often. A better approach would have been for the strong willed protagonist to have chosen to go against protocol because of her own internal compass rather than being helpless and having no control of any situation.

Ignite the Shadows is off to a great and very intriguing start. It's the perfect mix of active storytelling and teenaged romance, without the romance being the full focus of the story. It's a great first book in the series. I'll be looking forward to book two, which will be released in 2016.

1 comment:

  1. Great review, Sue! This sounds like an entertaining read! Glad you liked it! :)


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