Ignite by Erica Crouch

Ignite by Erica Crouch(Cover picture courtesy of Goodreads.)

Penemuel (Pen) fell from grace over a millennium ago, yet there are still times she questions her decision to follow her twin brother, Azael, to Hell. Now that the archangel Michael has returned, threatening Lucifer’s vie for the throne, she begins questioning everything she has always believed.

As Hell prepares for war – spreading a demonic virus and pilfering innocent souls to build an army – the lines separating the worlds blur. Fates erase and the future is left unwritten. Azael is determined that he and his sister will continue to serve as demons together, but for the first time in her life, Pen is not ruled by destiny. She has the freedom of choice.

With choice comes sacrifice, and Pen must decide which side she’s willing to risk everything fighting for: the light, or the dark.

[Full disclosure: I received a free ebook through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.]

I had mixed feelings about Ignite.  On one hand, Erica Crouch overturned many old YA tropes in the course of her novel, especially ones about Heaven and Hell.  On the other hand, she used a trope that I’m really starting to get tired of: immortals behaving like awkward teenagers.

Okay, so Michael is the archangel who comes back to life after being killed and having his soul trapped in Hell for a long time.  Pen is a demon who is tasked with keeping him busy while her brother Azael helps Lilith start the apocalypse on Earth.  Naturally, this leads you to assume that Pen and Michael will fall in love with each other and I don’t think it’s that big of a spoiler to say that yes, they fall in love.  And yes, I know it’s okay for Michael to be so awkward because he has no memories of his past life but there’s no excuse for Pen.  Yes, it’s her first time in love, but she’s thousands of years old!  You would think she’d be a little less naive.

So other than the whole unbelievable forbidden romance angle, Pen was a decent enough character.  She’s flawed but her love for her brother makes her sympathetic, even if her naivete is frustrating at times.  I would have liked to see her struggle more over her changing views of Heaven and Hell, but I think that’s more of a personal preference than anything.  Her backstory and her actions make her reasonably believable, though. 

What I really enjoyed about Ignite is how Erica Crouch dissected some of the old Heaven and Hell tropes, particularly about the nature of the battle between the two.  She raises questions about what led to Lucifer’s rebellion without really taking one side or the other, which was a nice change.  She also managed to write about the looming threat of the apocalypse without making it feel like one of the many terrible documentaries the History Channel airs regularly about the apocalypse.  For that alone, I love her writing.

I give this book 3.5/5 stars.

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