Review of Ignis by KJ
This is the second book I’ve read by this author – along with her debut novel Coming Home – and I have to say that I love KJ’s writing even though this one is completely different from her debut.
Felicity Davis, the principal of Rawson Girls Grammar School, is an award-winning educator fully dedicated to her job and satisfied with her life. But her traumatic past is coming back to haunt her putting Felicity and those around her in danger. Inspector Tal Diamandis takes on the case but will they be able to solve it before it’s too late? And what will Felicity and Tal do with their mutual budding attraction?
KJ describes this book as a “dark romantic thriller” which is very different from her previous works. Don’t expect a heartwarming romance here because you won’t find it. Ignis (great title, by the way), explores the worst of humanity and it wouldn’t be so disturbing if it didn’t ring true about how fanaticism, sexism, and violence still play a dominant role in many societies. Unfortunately, the author’s descriptions of some of the events in this book sound very authentic and plausible.
The thriller is, in my opinion, the best part of the novel. KJ knows how to keep the readers on the edge of their seats with fast-paced action (I’ve experienced a bit of this in Coming Home). Here, the intrigue part is not a complete mystery and the readers might get a hint of what to expect. Despite that, there is a lot of excitement. This is the type of plot in which you can see the character take unnecessary risks which inevitably leads them to great peril. You can just hold your breath waiting for the worst to come.
As this is a novel in which the past is coming to haunt the protagonist, there are quite a few flashbacks that are told in an alternated manner with the present. I know that many readers dislike flashbacks, but I found that they were very well done. It’s a great form of character building as the past justifies many of Felicity’s actions in the present. At the beginning, I was more invested in the flashback action because it’s fast-paced. Eventually, the present-day thriller catches up with the action too.
I personally wasn’t that much invested in the romance part of the plot. I understand that life-threatening situations aren’t very conducive to a full-on romance and both characters are guarded, and almost emotionally unavailable. Consequently, their mutual attraction, while believable, wasn’t off the charts. Ignis feels more like a dark thriller than a romance. There’s nothing wrong with it, just don’t expect a heartwarming love story.
Both main characters are very well fleshed out and their actions make sense considering their traumatic pasts, especially Felicity who is such a well-rounded, complex character. Also, kudos to the author for introducing a non-binary main character. Tal is the epitome of an enigmatic, dark and broody person who doesn’t fit the gender normative. It’s good to see more and more of these types of characters in the genre.
Overall, a very good thriller with a bit of romance on the side. 4 stars.
ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.