Sunday, January 1, 2012

Ignite by Kaitlyn Davis

Happy New Year, everyone! I hope 2012 treats you well both lifewise and bookwise. Unfortunately, my year in books has... To say the least, it has not started off well.

Title: Ignite
Author: Kaitlyn Davis
Publisher: Kaitlyn Davis (self-published)
Release Date: October 9, 2011
Pages: 207 pages (according to Amazon estimate; Ignite is only available in ebook format)
How I Got the Book: Bought it.

"With one last look, one final search of the lines of his face for some sign, Kira turned and ran away from the sound of the man she loved laughing in the face of her death."

When Kira Dawson moves to South Carolina, she meets Luke, a blond goofball who quickly becomes her best friend, and Tristan, a mysterious bad boy who sends shivers down her spine. Kira knows they're keeping secrets, but when she discovers Tristan's lust for blood and her own dormant mystical powers, Kira is forced to fight for her life and make the heartbreaking decision between the familiar comfort of friendship and the fiery passion of love.


Unable to afford staying at the boarding school she attended in New York, Kira is back home in South Carolina for high school. On her first day there, she meets and immediately becomes friends with Luke and develops a fascination for Tristan, one of the misfits Luke seems to have something against. As Kira and Tristan slowly grow closer, the secrets they keep come out in the open: what Tristan is, what Kira can do, and the threat each presents to the other. Will they be able to make it work or will their adversarial natures win out?

Most of the characters simply fell flat, but Kira was difficult to like and I never completely came around to her. What was there for me to like? Thieves who act entitled to what they stole are not fun to read about, nor do I care to read about characters who come off as terrible friends but seem like they're supposed to be seen as good friends. Everything is so convenient for her, almost to the point of becoming a deus ex machina, that it robs all obstacles in her way of conflict.

Even after finishing the novel and thinking it over, I lack an understanding of what drew Kira and Tristan together in the first place or what they see in each other. The grand, genuine connection they're supposed to have feels more like insta-love. One of the grand flaws of the novel is its lack of genuine connections between any of the characters. I didn't believe for a second Kira was truly friends with any of her "friends" and I felt the same way about her relationship with her family.

I'll cut to the chase: In regards to the writing, this is an insult, not a book. When I read a novel, I expect it to demonstrate a mastery of basic grammar, word usage, and punctuation in whatever language I'm reading it in. This is supposed to be a final copy of Ignite, meaning it should be the absolute best it can be, but there is nothing that can convince me anything more than the bare minimum effort required was put into this novel. Being self-published is no excuse. If I were an editor, I would never take something of this quality. Cheating at narration, horrible syntax, overly blatant foreshadowing,... It hits all my pet peeves at a reader.

Ignite follows the same basic YA paranormal romance formula and feels heavily derivative of more popular works. I've seen a lot of formulaic YA around; I'm not much for such books anyway, but at least most of them have a feeling of life to them, like someone really believed in that story. For all the forbidden romance and conflict Kira is supposed to have, I felt no life or passion from it. It does try to be a little original at times and that is appreciated, but they aren't necessarily good tries. The "channeling the sun" business still makes me spare a giggle or two when I think about it.

One of the problems with formulaic YA is that the same problematic elements tend to carry over without comment or examination and I'm sad to say that problem happens here too. Some of Tristan's behavior comes off as creepy, mean, and downright scary, but he is supposed to be attractive. I do not find it sexy or remotely appealing when the love interest creeps me out and the main character openly admits he is scaring her. Romanticizing such behavior is one thing I wish YA could stop doing.

This is a small secret of mine, but vampire novels have an advantage with me as a reader. I survived the flood of vampire YA in recent years and still love the monsters of the night dearly. Not only am I a big vampire fan, I'm a nostalgic one too--remind me of one of two kinds of vampires and you have me. Even with a handicap in its favor, Ignite failed to win me due to its lack of genuine connections between characters, formulaic and derivative storyline, and the apparent lack of effort put into it. When I pay for a book, I expect to read a book, not a first draft.

0 stars!

What am I reading next? The Sharp Time by Mary O'Connell