Jordan Yee

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An Ambitious Debut

One of the first guidelines told to beginning writers of genre fiction is to never write multiple first-person perspectives -- it only serves to confuse the reader. Well, Danielle Rogland has happily ignored this rule in her first novel, and she does so with marvelous results.

"Ignite" (or as it was previously known, "The Last Burning of New London") is a dystopian YA novel about a group of freedom fighters working in the ruins of London. Danielle's prose is clean and expressive, and while the plot is fairly straightforward for the genre, it is well-paced and does its job. However, it is in her character work that Rogland really shines, and it is because of this strong character work that her use of the first-person succeeds in keeping four different characters distinct and compelling..

Told through the eyes of Jacks, a young, newly recruited pickpocket; Jeremy, an easy-going mechanic; Corry, a stoic second-in-command; and Zira, a fearless leader with a hidden past. Rogland's deep understanding of her characters and a well-established set of relationships between them keeps the reader well-oriented in each character's perspective.

Overall, "Ignite" is a solid and enjoyable YA novel. The tone of the novel is comparable to such contemporary novels as Brandon Sanderson's Reckoners series, but with a greater emphasis placed on characters and immersion into the supplementary events that make the setting of a post-apocalyptic London come fully alive. This isn't a story that makes you want to find out what happens next. It's a story that makes you want to follow its characters wherever they go.

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