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Title: Ignite the Sun
Author: Hanna C. Howard
Release Date: Aug 18, 2020
Genres: YA Fantasy
I received an eARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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.
One of this book’s greatest strengths is the uniqueness of the world this story is set in. What would it be like if the world was forever in darkness? The main character, Siria, grew up never seeing sunlight, and it shows through her nonchalant descriptions of what everything looks like cast in shadow. It’s hard to believe that anyone could actually survive in such an environment, but the people in this book do, and I liked seeing he evidence of that. This story’s world doesn’t only include magical humans, but it includes other species of magical creatures as well, including elves, nymphs, banshees, and dwarfs. Learning about each creature and how they interact with the world was really interesting.
The reader sees all of the world through Siria’s eyes in a first-person point of view. I felt an immediate connection with her in the beginning of the story as she yearned to fit in with those around her and earn the love of her parents, who chose to place the thoughts of their queen and kingdom before her. I sometimes struggled to have sympathy for her after the inciting incident since she tended to act selfish and thoughtless, but by the end I appreciated that this showed the progress of her growth and journey to become a more confident young woman. I also enjoyed reading about the other characters that joined Siria on her journey—their different powers and back stories fit well with the lore of the world and the general story over all. I do wish the villain’s motivations were explored a little bit more as she didn’t feel as if she had much depth until the very end.
I love that this is a standalone fantasy book! Everything is all neatly wrapped up in the end—the story is done. Another thing I loved is the fast-paced nature of this book. The chapters are short and drive the plot toward exciting action scenes. There are moments when exposition slows the pacing down, but for the most part, I was really interested in reading the next chapter.
- I loved the found family relationships in this book as well as the actual family relationships. All of them made my heart so happy.
This is a strong debut that I think fans of Joanna Ruth Meyer and Laura E. Weymouth will enjoy. I can’t wait to see what else this author writes!
Hanna C. Howard spent most of her childhood wondering how she might avoid growing up, and eventually solved the conundrum by becoming an artist and a writer. She considers tea an essential food group, has more books than shelf space, and thinks the ultimate geek triumvirate is Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and Doctor Who. She lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma, with her husband and son, their Disreputable Dog, and a cat skilled in the martial arts.
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