4* Review: Ignis – KJ

A new year and a new (to me) author, one that speaks deliciously to my dark and twisty side with Ignis.

Ignis is the starting point for Felicity and Tal’s relationship and centers itself on Felicity’s origin story, which is told as flashbacks in so called ‘Before’ chapters from the perspective of ‘The Girl’. This is one aspect of Ignis that i thoroughly enjoyed, at times i forgot i was reading fiction and not someone’s actual life story. The reader is drawn into this Before period, when most would struggle to comprehend it, and yet under the author’s deft words it’s as if the reader is right there beside The Girl.

The author, KJ, has a poetic way of using words to help the reader visualise what it would be like to live the type of life that The Girl does.

“Her entire life was a forced march into a hell that she didn’t even want to envision”

KJ, Ignis

Throughout every inch of the story there is a level of scrutiny and explanation of human behaviour that gives you goosebumps. The author has a unique talent to add layer upon layer of emotion and meaning to even the simplest look or gesture – mundane interactions are taken to a depth that i didn’t even know were possible. And that’s before you even consider the way KJ builds sexual tension between Felicity and Tal – who knew intellectual conversation and pure silence could ramp up the heat level so much! In amongst the lessons on human behaviour and how to smoulder, is a story of a past lived in a religious cult, that collides with a well ordered and successful, but loveless present day.

Whilst i enjoyed the majority of Ignis, i did struggle with Felicity’s inability to see the seemingly more and more obvious clues. As a character whose personal history is portrayed to the reader in a very palpable manner, it was a struggle to believe in Felicity’s denial of what was happening and why. This feeling deepened when Felicity finally made the connection, but subsequently couldn’t come up with a potential culprit, despite the Before chapters doing a resounding job of making the reader feel the leer of said culprit. Whilst i suspect some of this could be put down to Felicity’s internal denial of her past catching up to her present, there wasn’t enough to justify Felicity’s lengthy delay in putting the puzzle pieces together.

That being said, I adored that KJ gives us a non-binary character in Tal and that the inclusion of their gender identity isn’t just covered at the surface level, the story includes discussions on Tal’s pronouns and an instance of being mis-gendered. It is always a pleasure to read stories from authors that continue to strive to provide readers with both high quality writing, whilst incorporating more diverse characters and inclusive storylines.

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