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She Didn’t Light It, But She Tried To Fight It

As She Ascends, the second book in Jodi Meadows’s Fallen Isles trilogy, sees our heroes on the run, from problems both external and internal.

She Didn’t Light It, But She Tried To Fight It

BOOK REPORT for As She Ascends (Fallen Isles #2) by Jodi Meadows

Cover Story: Fancy Dress
BFF Charm: Big Sister
Swoonworthy Scale: 7
Talky Talk: Familar Fantasy
Bonus Factors: LGBTQ+
Factor: Bridge Book Blues-ish
Anti-Bonus Factor: Patty Chase Award for Awful Parenting
Relationship Status: Leaning Toward Friendship

Danger, Will Robinson! As She Ascends is the second book in the Fallen Isles series. If you have not read the first book—Before She Ignites—turn away now, as there might be spoilers in this review. If you have read the book, however, feel free to continue below.

Cover Story: Fancy Dress

Another Fallen Isles book, another Fancy Dress. But again, I appreciate the young woman’s fierceness, her not being a white woman, and that dragon’s tail seems to be getting tighter ...

The Deal:

After escaping from the Pit, Mira, her best friends, and the allies she made while in prison are on the run. They disagree on where to go and what to do; Mira wants to rescue dragons, but others in her party think their efforts would be better spent on making political waves and revealing the truth behind Mira’s imprisonment. But those aren’t the only issues Mira must deal with: Her growing connection to the noorestones—and to Arun—both need to be investigated, too.

BFF Charm: Big Sister

Although Mira grew a lot in Before She Ignites, and makes strides in As She Ascends, she’s still so young, and so in need of proper guidance. I’m not saying that I’m the perfect person to do that—I don’t know anything about dragons and I know very little about the culture and politics of the Fallen Isles—but I could certainly try. And she so deserves that.

Swoonworthy Scale: 7

Cultural differences continue to play a part in this sequel’s swoon scale, but there are some definite advances made by the end of As She Ascends.

Talky Talk: Familiar Fantasy

My biggest complaint about Before She Ignites was the sparse worldbuilding, and I mentioned in my review that I had hopes that things would improve in the sequel. Unfortunately, we don’t learn too much more about the Fallen Isles in As She Ascends—or, at least, not as much as I would have liked. Also, there’s a Big Thing at the end of the novel that I totally don’t get, and veers the series in a fantastical direction I totally wasn’t expecting. (Whether that’s good or bad remains to be seen.)

I do have to give credit to Meadows for Mira’s characterization, however. She’s a really believable previously sheltered teenager, in ways both good and bad, that make her a truly realistic and relatable character in a fantasy setting.

Bonus Factor: LGBTQ+

There’s a lesbian relationship that started (I think) in Before She Ignites that develops further in As She Ascends, but it’s mostly “off screen.” I both appreciate that it’s “not an issue” and want to know more about their romance.

Factor: Bridge Book Blues-ish

As She Ascends is the second book in the Fallen Isles trilogy, and some parts of the novel fall prey to the dreaded BBB. However, there were enough advances made in the plot and enough action to not make it feel totally transitionary.

Anti-Bonus Factor: Patty Chase Award for Awful Parenting

I already gave Mira’s mother this prestigious award in my review for Before She Ignites, but—if you can believe it—she gets worse.

Relationship Status: Leaning Toward Friendship

I’m enjoying our time together, Book, but after the initial excitement of each meeting, I’m left wanting more. I think we’ll be great friends, but I’m not sure that there’s enough true chemistry between us to lead to anything more serious.

Literary Matchmaking:

  

● You should have already read the first in the Fallen Isles trilogy, Before She Ignites, but if you haven’t ...

● Tomi Ayedemi’s Children of Blood and Bone is another good read about a young woman finding her place—and her powers—in a world that’s out to get her.

● And for another great YA fantasy series with a unique magical system, check out Roar by Cora Carmack.


FTC Full Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Katherine Tegen Books, but got neither a private dance party with Tom Hiddleston nor money in exchange for this review. As She Ascends is available now.

Mandy Curtis's photo About the Author: Mandy is a small town girl living in a nerdy world, or—if you want to get literal—an editor/writer living in Austin, TX. In addition to yearning for YA books—the more dystopian or fantastical, the better—she can also be found swooning over superheroes, dreaming of The Doctor and grinning at GIFs.
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