Book Review: As She Ascends

Title: As She Ascends (Fallen Isles #2)
Author: Jodi Meadows
Genre: Young Adult | Fantasy 
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication Date: September 11, 2018
Source: Author
Format: Manuscript

MIRA, THE HOPEBEARERMira Minkoba is on the run with her friends after a fiery escape from the Pit, where she’d been imprisoned for defending the dragons she loves. And she wants answers. Where have all the dragons been taken? Why are powerful noorestones being shipped to the mainland? And did the treaty she’s been defending her whole life truly sell out the Fallen Isles to their enemies?
MIRA, THE DRAGONHEARTEDAs her connection to the dragons—and their power—grows stronger, so does Mira’s fear that she might lose control and hurt someone she loves. But the only way to find the truth is to go home again, to Damina, to face the people who betrayed her and the parents she’s not sure she can trust.
Home, where she must rise above her fears. Or be consumed.
The second page-turning novel in Jodi Meadows’ Fallen Isles trilogy scorches with mysterious magic and riveting romance as one girl kindles a spark into a flame (goodreads). 

As She Ascends had more action, more character development, and more at stake. 
Plot: As She Ascends opened right after the action of Before She Ignites with a tone that was considerably more urgent and tense. After escaping the Pit, Mira and her new friends (along with some old ones) sought out to discover what was happening with the disappearing dragons and the true intention behind the Mira Treaty. I loved the mystery that was uncovered in As She Ascends and how we slowly learned how Mira could make a difference in the upcoming conflict. 

Before She Ignites was told in the Before and After. The 'Before' explained how Mira ended up in jail and forgotten by her people while the 'After' served as the present day. In As She Ascends, the story was told in Present day with chapters from Aaru's past sprinkled in. I adored Aaru's chapters because it allowed us to get to know him a bit more as well as his culture. 

The only reason why I rated this book 3.5 stars was because felt a bit off to me. While a lot happened in this book and the tone conveyed urgency, I never felt that we approached a real climax, instead, there were a lot of mini climaxes with a hardcore cliffhanger. 

Characters: In Before She Ignites, Mira had to grow on me. The character was, understandably, naive, a bit spoiled, and just very clueless. It took a bit of time for me to connect with Mira in As She Ascends but her progress and growth was more evident in this book compared to the first installment. There were conversations surrounding mental health and I loved how supportive people were in regards to Mira's anxiety and OCD. Besides Mira, Aaru had more of a chance to shine. The quiet Aaru intrigued me in Before She Ignites but I 100% fell in love with him in this book. As a couple, Mira and Aaru finally had their Moment and it was just as sweet as I had hoped it would be. 

Worldbuilding: As She Ascends major draw is its complex worldbuilding. We didn't get to see much of the world outside of the Pit in Before She Ignites, but Jodi made up for that by providing history, cultural differences, and an overview of the empire that seemed to be interfering with the Isles' lifestyle. 

What I loved most was how each of the gods affected the culture of each island. Some isles were super progressive while another isle limited women in what they could and couldn't say/do. Jodi made sure that this culture shock came up in conversations with people who hailed from different isles. 

Short N Sweet: As She Ascends was the perfect follow-up to Before She Ignites and I can't wait to see how it all comes together in the end. 

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