Controversy aside, this book was arguably the most boring book I’ve read in 2017. While I was expecting action and adventure mixed with betrayal—what I got instead was our heroine Mira fumbling in the dark for 60% of the book. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the heroine was stuck in the dark counting sheep. Okay I’m joking but Mira does use counting as a way to help with her anxiety. But that’s neither here nor there. My problem with this book is that there was completely no character development and it’s really telling that Mira is a black character written with a white authors gaze.
I’m sorry but Mira comes across as very suburban, vanilla and flat. I felt no emotional connection to her whatsoever. I mean when she was first thrown in the dark pits of hell, she was more worried about a damn pimple out-break messing with her skin instead of trying to figure a way out. On top of that Mira’s personality just comes off as confusing. One minute she’s a nervous wreck. The next she’s a shallow, self-centered spaz.
Yeah, yeah, I know she’s a young adult whose life was turned upside down because of a misunderstanding but I have a serious problem when one is worried about having beautiful clear skin and wrapping your hair at night while your kingdom and your life is on the line. Sorry not sorry. For the record black women tend to wrap our hair as a way of protection but in this situation it’s irrelevant because you’re a fucking prisoner. Like concern yourself with getting out. Honestly, I think the author heard that black women wrap they hair at night and she wanted to put that in the book so that Mira can seem and feel black but no ma’am try again.
Another problem I have with Before She Ignites, is the fact that in the synopsis dragons are mentioned. Welp, with the main character in the dark for 60% of the time, these said dragons barely get time to shine. You can’t write a book about dragon trafficking and dragons are nowhere to be seen. In the book you come across one or two dragons and that’s it. There might have been more but I started skimming through the pages.
I was over the lackluster world building. I was over the bland main character and forgettable and rather stereotypical side characters that served no purpose other than place settings. I was over the flashbacks. Flashbacks that confused me for the most part and that I found annoying as hell. I was just over this book.
In short, the first black girl in a ball gown to grace a cover from a top 5 publishing company went to a white author and that book, for lack of a better word is not that great. Yes the author had sensitivity readers and yes the color and hair descriptors are pretty accurate but it doesn’t take away from the fact that Mira comes across as playing dress up. Mira in my honest opinion is a white girl that was baking in the sun too long. People aren’t going to take kind to my words but this is how I FEEL.
Regardless of my opinion, Before She Ignites is going to do well because the selling point is a beautiful black girl in a ball gown on the cover.
SIDENOTE: I went into Before She Ignites with an open mind. Unfortunately, this book just didn’t work for me as a reader.
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