Ignite the Shadows

Ignite the Shadows

This review is brought to you as part of the Virtual Book Tour for Ignite the Shadows, hosted by Xpresso Book Tours.

Ignite the Shadows was written by Ingrid Seymour and first published in 2015. It is a dark science fiction story about a teenage hacker who discovers that the world is in the midst of an alien invasion. The book is the first instalment of a planned trilogy, though at the time of writing no further instalments have been announced. It is currently available to buy as an eBook on Amazon but if you’re wanting to buy a print copy, unfortunately you’ll have to wait until October of this year.

Ever since the death of her father, Marci has led a miserable existence. Her mother has blocked her out, sinking further into depression, and her inability to connect with her best friend Xave has caused him to begin to hate her. To make matter worse, Marci suffers from a crippling neurological disorder. Her mother believes it to be a form of epilepsy but Marci is more convinced that she is just losing her mind.

After the organisation known as IgNITe manage to hack into her computer one night, Maric learns that she is not alone. IgNITe don’t just want her for her computer skills. The know that there are many more people all over the world that share Marci’s condition and they also know what is causing it. The blackouts and loss of control are signs that a parasite has latched onto a person’s brain and is trying to take control of its host. Most succumb to the infection within a few days. The fact that Marci has survived for eleven years is nothing short of a miracle.

Now that Marci is aware of IgNITe, she has little choice but to join them. Yet, in a world where no one is necessarily who they seem to be, she must be careful who she trusts. IgNITe claim that they want to save the world but if the invaders learn of their intent it will be the end for everyone.

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Ignite the Shadows is a well written novel that makes a surprisingly unsettling read. The fear of being locked inside your own mind is one that chills everyone to the core. The thought that anyone around you could be an Other, their host screaming silently within the prison of their own mind as a parasite controls their every action, is one that is inherently terrifying and pursuing this line of thought certainly makes you very paranoid about the people around you.

The atmosphere of the novel is unrelentingly dark. Although it does not really contain any objectionable material, it is still very bleak and angsty throughout. Marci fights purely because she does not want to lose control and refuses to allow anyone close to her in case they realise that she is a monster, yet she despairs as she knows that her anger and self-loathing is pushing away everyone that she cares about. The dark tone makes the novel very difficult to get through at times purely because there does not seem to be any lightness at the end of the tunnel. As IgNITe’s research into the parasites is only in its early stages, it seems likely that Marci will have died or lost control before they discover a cure.

The parasites, known as Eklyptors, present an intriguing enemy. It’s not so much that they’re an original concept (they appear to be a bit of a cross between the aliens from Slither and the Yeerks from the Animorphs books) but more for their invasion plan. The Eklyptors aren’t really an invasive force – they aren’t even necessarily alients. They are more of a race that have been on Earth for a long time, gradually infiltrating the highest ranks of human society. I won’t spoil the novel by revealing what their most recent plan is for taking over the human race but it is genius and utterly terrifying.

However, the novel is far from perfect. There are many plot threads at work in this novel and every time that Seymour raises a new one, she seemed to forget all of the rest. An early plot thread shows Marci being reunited with her estranged twin brother. When this was first revealed, I was really curious as to how it would feed into the plot. The answer was not much at all. Luke barely appears within the story, only really having a role to play in the novel’s epilogue. Which this thread will evidently be significant in subsequent novels, it just felt tacked on to this one as so little time was devoted to getting to know the characters.

There are similar issues with other factions within the story. IgNITe vanish for a large stretch of the novel once the Tank is introduced and Marci’s mother is virtually escapes mention after the halfway mark. The story also leaves far too many things unexplained as characters refuse to tell Marci anything.

This is a personal pet hate that I have with fiction in general. If you want to recruit someone to your cause, tell them everything about it. Throughout the novel, Marci unwittingly does the wrong thing over and over and gets chewed other by James and the others every single time. There is an easy way to get around this, guys. TELL MARCI EVERYTHING. If she understands the risks, perhaps she’ll stop acting in ways that endanger your whole operation. Even by the end of the story, some of Marci’s questions remain unanswered. I’m aware that the author wants to hold onto somethings for the sequel but surely there is a better way for mysteries to be maintain than just having characters refuse point blank to answer Marci’s questions.

In terms of characterisation, I actually really liked Marci as a protagonist. She was strong willed and independent, even if the strain of her silent battle was beginning to show. Her inconsistent attitude towards Xave is also understandable (if angsty as all Hell) because it clearly displays her confliction – wanting to be in a relationship but scared that he’ll hate her when he finds out that she’s infected.

Unfortunately, the rest of the cast felt a little flat. Little time is spent developing their personalities beyond a single trait. Aidan is snotty, Blare is obnoxious, Oso is protective and so forth. As the cast of the story is so big, not enough time could be devoted into developing these extras into characters that I could care about so, unfortunately, I wasn’t especially bothered if they lived or died.

So, all in all, Ignite the Shadows is a reasonable start to the series and left me curious to find out what would happen next The Eklyptors are interesting villains and the dark story gave me plenty of food for thought. While there were some weaknesses in plot and characters, I am very interested to follow Seymour and read more of her work in the future.

Ignite the Shadows can be purchased as a Paperback and eBook on Amazon.co.uk

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Giselle
    Apr 27, 2015 @ 13:19:54

    Great review, Arkham! This sounds like a dark read and those are right up my alley! Despite the issues you had with it it sounds like an entertaining read!

    Reply

    • Kim
      Apr 27, 2015 @ 13:46:12

      It was very entertaining and I’d certainly recommend it to someone who likes dark science fiction. Despite my gripes, I am still very curious to see where the story will go next.

      Reply

  2. Trackback: Excerpt: Ignite the Shadows by Ingrid Seymour + Giveaway! – Fangirls Ahead!
  3. Trackback: One Wish Away | Arkham Reviews

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