I was surprised by how much I ended up liking this final book in the series. Many of my complaints with the series still hold, mainly with world-building and general nonsensicalness, but there were some changes that made a big difference for me—Juliette was actually proactive and the book focused a lot on the relationships.
Now normally, I don’t like it when relationships take over the plot. But here, the relationships were the strongest feature of the book, so I was more than happy to let them take center stage. Near the end of the last book, Juliette broke up with Adam and had started developing feelings for Warner. Ignite Me expands on this more, and it was beautiful at times. The Juliette of this book is different from the Juliette of the previous books. After a lot of self-reflection, she’s realized that she latched onto Adam because he was literally the first person to ever be nice to her and to be able to touch her. While she liked Adam, Juliette just isn’t sure she was ever actually in love with him like she had thought. I can’t tell you how much I loved seeing a character realize her first boyfriend wasn’t her true love and for that to be perfectly okay. That’s just not something I see very often.
Adam’s not too happy about the break-up though. In fact, he’s pissed off about it. He refused to accept it the first time, meaning Juliette has to go through a second break-up with him. It’s at this point that Adam turns mean and begins to treat Juliette horribly. And this is when the book does another thing that I loved—Juliette states that the way Adam is treating her is absolutely unacceptable and refuses to be guilted back into a relationship with him. Even better? The other characters agree that Adam’s behavior is awful. I’ve grown tired of seeing men behaving terribly in stories and everyone blaming the woman for his bad behavior, so this was nice.
And then there’s Warner, the character I found the most interesting of the series. I have mixed feelings about him here. On the one hand, I love his relationship with Juliette. They are really adorable together, bring out the best in each other, have absolute faith in one another, and are incredibly supportive of each other. On the other hand, Warner’s previous behavior really shouldn’t be brushed aside as easily as it is. Warner was the villain in the first book. We learn the reasons and truths behind his actions in this book and see that he’s a far better person than we were initially led to believe, but that doesn’t negate the fact that Warner did some pretty awful things to Juliette that she has every right to be incredibly pissed at Warner for. Even if the things he did were lies or he had good reasons for them, Warner still:
- Led Juliette to believe that she was going to be forced to be a weapon against her will.
- Led Juliette to believe that he put a toddler in mortal danger to force her to torture the kid.
- Forced Juliette to torture a man against her will.
- Shot a man in the forehead right in front of her.
While the truth behind all of those actions may make it easier to Juliette to understand and forgive Warner for what he did, it doesn’t make his doing those things perfectly okay. Those are all still horrible things, and I wish the book hadn’t been so quick to forgive Warner for everything. It did so well at pointing out when Adam’s behavior was wrong, but I felt like it dropped the ball when it came to Warner, which is unfortunate. (And if I’m being completely honest, I rather liked Warner as a bad guy. Not that I don’t like him as a good guy. It’s just that he made for a far more interesting bad guy than his father.)
The friendship between Juliette and Kenji is wonderful. Kenji continues to be perfectly willing to call people out on their shit, but he also knows how to be supportive when needed. His interactions with Juliette were always fun to read. I do wish that Juliette had had some real interaction with any of the girls. There was no girl hate, which is always a plus, but there was also barely any interaction between Juliette and any female.
The writing has changed a bit from the first two books. There are no strikethroughs and there’s less repetition. There are still quite a few metaphors, but not as many as were in the first two books. It was very easy to get through, which stood out even more against the last few books I read that I had to slog through for large chunks of. There were times when I didn’t always like the metaphor the book went with, but for the most part, I liked the writing.
I definitely liked the ending of the series because of the direction taken with the characters and relationships. It was a nice change of pace from a lot of the other books I read.