Review: Ignite the Stars by Maura Milan

This debut rockets readers to the outer universe in Ignite the Stars. Science fiction fans won’t want to miss out on killer world that Maura Milan has created, or its fantastic characters.

Ignite the Stars CoverEveryone in the universe knows his name. Everyone in the universe fears him. But no one realizes that notorious outlaw Ia Cocha is a seventeen-year-old girl.

A criminal mastermind and unrivaled pilot, Ia has spent her life terrorizing the Olympus Commonwealth, the imperialist nation that destroyed her home. When the Commonwealth captures her and her true identity is exposed, they see Ia’s age and talent as an opportunity: by forcing her to serve them, they will prove that no one is beyond their control.

Soon, Ia is trapped at the Commonwealth’s military academy, desperately plotting her escape. But new acquaintances—including Brinn, a seemingly average student with a closely-held secret, and their charming Flight Master, Knives—cause Ia to question her own alliances. Can she find a way to escape the Commonwealth’s clutches before these bonds deepen?

In this exhilarating edge-of-your-seat sci-fi adventure—perfect for fans of The Lunar Chronicles—debut author Maura Milan introduces our world to a thrilling new heroine.


I received an eARC of Ignite the Stars via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

Reading the title of Ignite the Stars puts The Greatest Showman’s “Rewrite the Stars” in my head every time. This doesn’t add anything to the review, but now I’ve shared my earworm with you. You’re welcome.

We learned this story through three different points of view. Ia is fiery and protective and absolutely positive that she knows what’s right in the world. Brinn and Knives also think they know what’s best for the world. None of those ideas match up at the beginning of this novel, and that is where the fun begins.

Ignite the Stars, like most military sci-fi, need some trigger warnings for discussions of colonization, discussions of and shown enslavement, kidnapping, murder, sibling death, medical torture and anti-immigrant statements and violence.

Ia was probably my favorite point of view to read from. Brinn’s dedication to the military she signed up for made it a little difficult for me to really like her, but I loved the growth that we saw in her character throughout the novel. I do wish that we had gotten a little more discussion about how her thought process was changing towards the Tawnies – a race that she was a part of, but hid – throughout Ignite the Stars. I think there’s a lot of room for growth for her still in future novels.

Similarly, I wish that Ia’s thinking had a little more nuance throughout the book. I won’t spoil anything, but there is a huge personal 180 in Ia’s thoughts about the military for a lot of reasons. I would like to see a little more critique within her own thoughts.

One of my favorite parts of Ignite the Stars was seeing the friendships develop. I am always here for enemies to friends relationships. Always. This is something that Milan did really well in Ignite the Stars, in both the relationship between Ia and Brinn, and between Ia and Knives.

While this book wasn’t a perfect fit for me, I definitely look forward to reading the sequel and anything else that Milan writes. I recommended to fans of military science fiction who are looking for some beautifully character driven young adult fiction. You can pick up a copy on Amazon or Indiebound.


Title: Ignite the Stars

Author: Maura Milan

Publisher: Albert Whitman and Company

Length: 400 Pages

Release Date: September 4, 2018

Rating: ★★★★ / Four stars

Genre: Science Fiction

Representation: Biracial main character

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