Review: Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi

March 9, 2014 Reviews 12

Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi
Series: Shatter Me # 3
Published by HarperCollins on February 4, 2014
Genres: Dystopia
Pages: 416
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
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.




I think I can safely say now that I will not read another book by Tahereh Mafi.  Ignite Me was the worst of this series, even though it had stiff competition from Unravel Me.  Let’s start off with some of this bizarre narration from Juliette:

  • “My tongue is dust.  My teeth have crumbled away.”
  • “I am a pile of bones on the floor and no one knows it but me.”

I have no idea what these lines mean, but I think that Mafi has a thing for decaying body parts.

Juliette became more bearable in this book, and if you read these books as they were released, her transformation might make some sense.  But I read Unravel Me and Ignite Me back to back, and there was no way to escape how abruptly she changed from a boy-crazy basket case to a calm, cool, collected military commander.  It was as though Mafi flicked a switch, and we are supposed to forget every bit of groundwork Mafi laid out for Juliette’s character in the first two books.

As unrealistic as Juliette’s transformation was, it was nowhere near as far-fetched as Warner’s and Adam’s.  Warner started out as an unmitigated monster.  In Unravel Me, his sociopathic side was dialed back until he was merely an obsessive, stalker-ish, sarcastic creep.  In Ignite Me, his transformation is complete, as he has turned into a groveling and emotionally manipulative mess.  He essentially took over the drama queen role that Juliette filled so perfectly in Unravel Me.  Don’t believe me?  Here are a couple of lines from Warner:

  • “Please” – he’s begging now – “for the love of God, Juliette, I have lost my dignity-“
  • “Because I am afraid,” he finally says, voice shaking, “that your friendship would be the end of me.”

OK, so now Warner is full of Juliette-type histrionics, but…he was awful in Shatter Me, wasn’t he?  Not so fast!  Mafi is going to wave her magic wand over all of his sick behavior, giving Warner a chance to explain everything away with a chuckle.  When Juliette challenges him, Warner’s poor feelings are hurt because Juliette should have KNOWN that this whackjob was really trying to help her while he was torturing her.  Any bit of respect that Juliette managed to get from me by somewhat pulling herself together flew out the window.

It was Adam, though, who really got the shaft in Ignite Me.  Mafi was so determined to shove Adam out of the ghastly love triangle that she created that she had him behaving in ways that completely contradict everything about his character.  This nice, caring guy became bitter and nasty.  Why was there a love triangle in the first place (especially one as foul as this?)  Mafi seemed to want to make clear that this Adam is the REAL Adam, and Juliette was too dumb, blind, desperate, or whatever to see his true colors.

Kenji, as usual, is the voice of reason, and his comment about Adam expresses everything I’m thinking about all of the main characters: “He’s so freaking emotional.  Everything is such a big deal to him.  He can’t just let things go.  He can’t just be cool and get on with his life.”  And now here I am, letting this series go and moving onto books that don’t glamorize obsessive, abusive relationships.

You can read my review of Shatter Me here and my review of Unravel Me here.




12 Responses to “Review: Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi”

  1. Kristen@My Friends Are Fiction

    I enjoyed this series much more than you did but I see all your points and laugh that I wasn’t as bothered by them. I enjoyed Mafi’s purple prose but I do agree it gets a bit much. I read each book as it was released and so the character changes didn’t feel as stark to me. I did notice them though. Personally, book 2 was my favorite of the bunch. I was disappointed with Ignite Me and felt let down that this was the end of the series. I hope the next book you read treats you better 🙂
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    • Stephanie

      Purple prose – that’s exactly what it is! Better than the phrase I would have chosen, like “gross.” 🙂

    • Stephanie

      I imagine that that this could be a big factor in readers’ enjoyment.

  2. LeKeisha Thomas

    OMG, I couldn’t have written a better review! I was so upset with Ignite Me when I finishe. I sat on my bed for a while trying to figure out WTH went wrong. I couldn’t believe I waited for this book, and then want to burn it after I finished. Great review!

  3. Cait @ Notebook Sisters

    I liked this series progressively more as it went on. But the lack of plot totally stumped me. Also, was Kenji the only one with a brain? He kept telling everyone to get their junk together and did they? NO. Listen to Kenji, peoples, just listen. I think the climax was a little rushed too. It was practically 300 pages of talking. But I did like Juliette. 🙂
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  4. Kelly

    I noticed how quickly Juliette went from being whiney and emotional to strong and badass, but I somehow enjoyed this one, nonetheless. I think I was just so excited that she wasn’t on her knees (she was on her knees a lot throughout this series), that I forgave Mafi for every other awful thing she did.

    Except for Adam. I always preferred Warner (even when he was evil; at least he wasn’t cardboard), and I still felt bad about how awfully she portrayed him.
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  5. Nicole

    Hah I love this review. I have a feeling my thoughts on this book will closely resemble yours but right now I am avoiding this book like the plague. I thought Shatter Me was good, but Unravel Me drove me crazy. And I have seen nothing to make me think that I will enjoy Ignite Me but I have to finish this series just because (I have no good reason except that I am a masochist I guess). And although I have an inkling about who she ends up with I want to know for sure. Gah. Well sorry you hated this book. (Is hate too strong strong a word?) Sorry you *disliked* this book. =P
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