Ignite the Stars

400p. Albert Whitman. Sept. 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780807536254. POP
Gr 7 Up–In the year 8921, the Olympus Commonwealth boasts the most powerful military in the galaxy. The Commonwealth intends to explore and conquer as many star systems as possible and advance their political agenda throughout the known universe. Brinn Tarver is a 16-year-old citizen who loves the Commonwealth so much that she joins the Royal Star Force, its military arm. Ia Cõcha is a 17-year-old girl who lives among the fringe planets with her older brother. She is considered the "most dangerous criminal in Commonwealth history." Circumstances bring Brinn and Ia together, forcing them to open their minds to the possibility that not everything is as it seems. Milan has produced an incredible novel that is particularly relevant in the current political climate. Each chapter switches between the protagonists' perspectives, giving readers multiple points of view throughout. Milan is excellent at establishing relatable, complex characters. The action-packed sequences, with spaceship battles and academic competition, are so engaging, teens won't be able to put the book down. The author provides elaborate detail about the Royal Star Force academy, space, and the Commonwealth, immersing readers in a fully developed alternate world.
VERDICT A strong first book in a sure-to-be successful science fiction series.

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