Before She Ignites, by Jodi Meadows

breerashel's review against another edition

Go to review page


I had reservations about reading this book because the ratings/reviews made it seem just okay and I had had enough of reading books with dragons that didn't measure up to my expectations. I put off reading it and then one day I saw it at the library and thought why not. It is a fairly lengthy book which I didn't love because it seemed drawn out but I found the main character and story interesting. Mira appears to have pretty severe anxiety which she copes with by counting the things around her. I found this intriguing because I love a flawed character. I enjoyed seeing her progress throughout the book.
I loved the portion of the book where she is in the pit! I thought that the rest of the book was weaker but seeing the suffering in the prison was great! I loved seeing the interactions between prisoners and finding out how far each of them were willing to go for their freedom and beliefs. It is while Mira is in the pit that readers learn the most about each of the characters and what is happening with the dragons.
Personally, I would have liked to have seen more dragons. For a book that is about dragons I would have thought that it would have focused more on them than on information that Mira discovered. I am excited to see what will happen in the sequel with everything that is revealed about the dragons and the main characters.

hailstorm888's review

Go to review page

adventurous dark mysterious relaxing medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes


bethhreads's review

Go to review page

dark emotional inspiring mysterious tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes


in_which_she_reads's review against another edition

Go to review page



valeriefm's review against another edition

Go to review page


What do I think of this book? Hmmm...

1) it's like OITNB but fantasy
2) you'll never look at small confined spaces the same way
3) you'll need a nightlight in the dark
5) bad ass lady characters

ashton_reads_'s review against another edition

Go to review page


OMG this book made me lose a year off my life from stress, probably, but it's all good. I literally can't stop thinking about it, like I'm still in the world.

Before She Ignites takes place in a world where there are Upper Gods and Fallen Gods. The Fallen Gods fell to Earth eons before to save humanity and to provide land and shelter for the humans, for when they fell, they each created an island with its own unique abilities. And better yet, their children are none other than majestic dragons of all shapes and sizes. However, far after those Gods had fallen, the islands were in chaos and were not abiding by their sacred codes, so their inhabitants wrote the Mira Treaty, named after a girl, Mira Minkoba, born of the same day. The treaty brought about equality and peace, and Mira became the symbol of hope among the islands.

But truly, she is only a puppet, brainwashed to think she is worthless on her own except for her beautiful face, worshiped by the citizens of the Fallen Isles because of the words she is told to say, and humiliated by her crippling panic attacks and obsessive counting. And she doesn't realize that she has been manipulated... until she finds out her government, which includes her family, has done something horribly wrong, and she is punished for knowing too much. Now she must learn to survive.

Goodness, where to start. I was immediately enraptured. At first, the writing was so straight-forward that it started to bother me 🤣, but I got over that quickly. The world is very unique, and DRAGONS. Need I say more??

There was one moment that really annoyed me, and that was the battle scene at the end. I won't spoil it for you, don't worry, but it's very cliche-action-movie-scene. It was cringy, and I wish it was more well-done. However, it didn't take away from the impact of the book, fortunately.

Oh, and the suspense!!! I was tense the entire time I was reading, and I didn't want to stop. Like, I was always so scared for the characters.

Mira definitely annoyed me at first, but Meadows makes it easy to sympathize with her. I can't imagine being in her position. She had no idea how brainwashed she was. It's absolutely so horrible to be in her head and see how worthless she instinctively believes she is, like she doesn't know anything different. And yet, in the Pit, she grows SO MUCH it's astounding, and I literally cried so much to see her realize she isn't so worthless after all. Plus, she kicks government booty at the end, btw.

Of course, all the other characters are perfect! I genuinely loved every character and their roles in the story. Like, even the absolutely evil ones played a role (unfortunately 🤣). And even more deeply, every character had their flaws, and it was more evident in this book than most other YA novels I've read. They've got some deep problems, but they get through it with perseverance and support from their friends. Oh, and it's not corny, I promise.

This is one of the main reasons I love to read so much, I think. It's the idea that you don't have to read a nonfiction novel or memoir or whatever else to learn something. It's so crazy how mere words humans make up can portray a vivid fictional world yet teach about reality.

Sorry, booknerds, but I felt really moved 🤣. Au revoir!

For more awesome bookish stuffs, like book tags and Bookish News Reports, visit my blog at !

bookishanjali's review against another edition

Go to review page


Mira Minkoba had the fortunate or unfortunate fate (depending on how you look at it) by having a treaty named after her signed by all the islands, which makes her the face of the treaty and therefore she is deemed important by many as well as hated. Mira has a way with Dragons and that's all I'm saying because that's all I know. Clearly, she really is special but we get maybe a glimpse of what it could be in the entire novel.

I loved the dragons in the story, I just wish there was more time spent on them. There are various types of dragons and I really wanted to learn more about them but most of the story was spent with Mira in prison and when the chapters alternated to the past we got bits of dragons but not much. It wasn't till the end we saw more of them but still nothing to what I expected. I'm hoping the next book will focus more on the dragons because they are the reason I even picked up Before She Ignites.

Okay, so I'm pretty sure most of you can agree that a book about dragons if there is going to be romance in it, it better be epic because dragons are epic right? Well, the romance that is developing is lackluster and the guy is not someone I even cared for he was just mind-numbingly boring. Is it wrong to say that when I realized he was the guy Mira was going to fall for I was secretly wishing the author would kill him off (I know harsh, sorry) because I just didn't get it and I still don't. I never like to wish death upon characters except for the evil ones of course but even those I sometimes love and want them to be kept around anyways I don't see myself picking up the next book if he continues to stay the love interest because it kind of killed it for me in this first book already as it was.

Mira was the only real complex character in the novel. She suffers from severe anxiety and has OCD where she has to count everything due to an incident that occurred to her when she was younger. It was impossible not to like her I just wish there was more character development with her along the way. Throughout the whole book she is so focused on her appearance, how must everyone see her, she isn't pretty anymore etc. and I get that it had to do with her upbringing and how she was constantly reminded that it was her beauty which was most important but I wish she would have grown out of that mind set. I didn't understand how anyone could still be so worried about their looks in life and death situations. Mira also had the habit of putting herself down, that she wasn't smart enough or good enough and I really felt for her, I was really hoping she would eventually realize how amazing of a person she really is and how capable she is. I really hope she develops more in the next book I think it will be interesting to see her transformation throughout the series and how she deals with her anxiety.

Mira also had two best friends, Hristo who was also her bodyguard and a girl named Ilina. I can't say much about them though because of no real character development, they were in the "before" chapters and in present day when they do finally pop up we still don't get to know them. The only thing I really know is they are loyal to Mira. There was one other character who really caught my attention and that was Gerel, she was imprisoned in the Pit as well and has been there for quite some time, she is still a bit of a mystery but what I did learn about her I loved. Gerel was a total badass, I really hope to see more of her in the future books. Then there was the villain Altan, I expected more. Not sure how else to say it but he was supposed to be Mira's torturer in the Pit which is made to be this horrific underground prison but he never really physically put his hands on her, he did make her suffer once greatly when he wanted information but not in the way I would have thought. Now that I think about it, Altan I would say was another complex character. Still, don't know much about him or his motives but you can tell there is more to him.

I do give credit to the author for going out of the norm though, usually books in this genre you expect a kick-ass fear nothing type of heroine, instead of one who suffers from anxiety, has self-esteem issues and doesn't have a clue how to fight. So I can see some becoming a little frustrated with that and others admiring the deeply flawed character.

Overall Before She Ignites was a fast read for me, I had my issues with it and I am still conflicted on whether I will be continuing the series or not. If I do it will be for the dragons the mythical creature lover in me needs to know how things turn out for them.

megansendlessreads's review

Go to review page


This book took me a little time to get into. I don't know if it was fear of not liking it, or even just getting used to reading a hardback copy - I usually read on my kindle - but whatever it was had me hesitating to read Before She Ignites. I would pick it up and then a couple minutes later put it back down, pick it up and then get distracted by my phone. There was a slow start, but nothing I wouldn't expect from the first novel in the series. I think once I hit the 25% mark, is when I became obsessed with Mira and her world.

Things I loved in this novel:

1. Mira
I'll even admit that I wasn't a huge fan of Mira for about 85% of this novel. She was very subservient, obsessed with her looks, fell apart when times got tough, had characteristics that I wasn't too keen on reading about because as a character she was fallible and I want someone who doesn't remind me of regular people. Yet I think it was in these "undesirable" characteristics that I felt more connected to Mira than I have to any characters that I've read lately. She developed and grew which is something that authors don't always choose to focus on. Usually I feel like these fantasy novels are about the situation in these worlds and how these conflicts get resolved, ignoring the possible character depth and growth which could make a book more relatable and interesting.

The best thing about Mira was her issues and uniqueness. And that seems like a weird thing to commend a character on, but even though I don't have the same exact discrepancies - for lack of a better word - as Mira, I had similar ones. I think every single person has been conditioned to care about looks. It's unavoidable in today's society and seeing these parallels with Mira just connected my life to hers in a way I didn't expect. And this also reminded me that this is one of the more negative sides to society and celebrities - the expectation of beauty and using one's face to get people to agree with you. It's a great tactic don't get me wrong, it's just interesting to see how this becomes Mira's downfall in so many ways and actually personally hinders her character growth once she is put into challenging situations.

Also Mira experienced anxiety attacks that sometimes debilitated her and led her to counting literally everything around her. I loved this aspect of her personality because it did humanize her and definitely allowed me to sympathize with her character more than I probably would have otherwise. Basically, I admired Mira more at the end of this novel because she didn't start off as a vey strong character and I got to see the development from a doll used by those around her, to someone who is finally fighting for a voice.

2. The Flashbacks
So enough about analyzing Mira as a character - it could go on forever - let's talk about this book as a whole. Normally, I'm not one for character flashbacks and looks into the past, but in this book it was so helpful to see how Mira got to where she was. And it also helped develop not only her story, but that of the people around her. I truly feel like I had a pretty good idea of who most of these characters - from Mira's past, at least - in this novel were. I got a good look at their personalities, where they placed in importance to Mira, and how Mira typically interacted with them. I will say that some of the newer characters threw curveballs at times so don't expect to know everything there.

3. The Dragons
In Before She Ignites, I wouldn't say that the dragons had a leading role. They were more of side characters that ventured into the plot every now and then and made an appearance. But I will say that they were one of the MOST important aspects of this novel simply because of their importance to Mira and Mira's society. They are literally considered children of the gods and therefore are held in high esteem. Unfortunately it seems like population numbers are seriously down so all dragons are basically listed as endangered and there are very strict rules about what people can do with and to them. Mira is especially obsessed with dragons - and I can see why because they are flippin' awesome - but not everyone seems to hold them in the same regard. I personally love books with dragons so as soon as they started popping up in the novel I was 100% on board with this book.

4. The Writing
Finally, I would say that the author did an amazing job in writing this novel. Fantasy authors can get a little carried away in building the society and ignoring the characters - it happens - but I while the society was well-developed in this book, I wouldn't say that it ever overwhelmed the characters. The attention and focus was definitely on Mira like it should be and knowing just how well this book started and ended, I will be looking for book two's release - probably next year, so major sad face there.

So if you are a fan of adventure, young adult, stories about becoming stronger, character growth, a character-centered plot, unique creatures, DRAGONS, and maybe a little romance... this is the book FOR YOU! So definitely check it out if you like any of the above, I'm pretty sure - maybe 92.8% sure - that you won't be disappointed.

thatlizhunter's review against another edition

Go to review page


Wow. This book is spellbinding. It's suspenseful & keeps you on the edge of your seat. Maybe even falling off your seat.

I love how this book dealt with anxiety and panic attacks. It also featured incredible friendships with only the hint of romance.

celinbean's review against another edition

Go to review page


3,5 stars

Overall this was extremely captivating but i have to admit that this book was utterly exhausting to read. Mira is dealing with a lot of anxiety and panic attacks and the writing really brings that across. I was on edge every time i started reading because i could feel Mira’s anxiety.

I thought that the writing was a little stiff at the beginning. At least the conversations were in my opinion. But i got sucked into the story pretty quickly. Despite the anxiety i really liked Mira. She was raised in isolation always told by her mother that the only good feature about her was her face, her beauty. And it was a nice character development. She is still very focused on her beauty or rather of what happened to her beauty but considering that for 17 years that was the only thing she was rewarded for it makes sense. I can’t wait to read more about her. Because the last 50 pages finally showed her with some confidence.

The last 50 pages were also very gruesome for me because it was action pact but it was written in a slow pace, focusing on Mira’s anxiety and insecurities and it was pure torture i had to read ahead and skim some parts bc it was so slow. So im hoping the next book has some more fast paced action scenes.

Also can we talk about the absolutely adorable budding romance happening in this book?? I haven’t been this smitten in a while so someone give me more Aaru and Mira scenes! Aaru telling her that he doesn’t actually care about that goddamn scar and Mira actually listening to him and them just talking. God im so desperate 😂