52 pages 1 hour read

Tahereh Mafi

Ignite Me

Fiction | Novel | YA | Published in 2014

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Summary and Study Guide


Ignite Me (2014) is the third book in Iranian American author Tahereh Mafi’s Shatter Me series, which began with her 2011 debut Shatter Me, and was followed by 2013’s Unravel Me and two novellas (Destroy Me and Fracture Me). Ignite Me was published simultaneously with a volume that included both novellas and an excerpt from protagonist Juliette Ferrars’s journal. Ignite Me was originally announced as the end of Juliette’s story, though Mafi completed three more novels and three more novellas from 2018 to 2021. Ignite Me continues the story of Juliette Ferrars’s battle against totalitarian regime, “The Reestablishment,” and explores themes of love, friendship, and coming into oneself in a dystopian society.

This guide refers to the 2014 Harper Collins e-book edition.

Content Warning: This guide refers to violence (including gun violence), trauma, physical and emotional abuse by a parent, aftermath of torture, and grief.

Plot Summary

Ignite Me begins in the immediate aftermath of Juliette’s shooting at the end of Unravel Me. She wakes in the military compound where she was held prisoner in Shatter Me, in the quarters of her uncertain ally and former enemy, Aaron Warner Anderson, whose father, Supreme Commander Anderson, shot her. Warner reveals that Juliette’s friends, who were embattled with The Reestablishment soldiers at the end of Unravel Me, are dead (though they will later learn this is false). Juliette grieves, particularly for her former boyfriend, Adam Kent, though quickly decides that she will fight The Reestablishment and kill Supreme Commander Anderson. Warner offers to help, explaining that his apparent aid of The Reestablishment was a ruse—in reality, he hates his father and hopes to use Juliette’s powers to help his mother, who has an illness that causes her to endure pain if touched—the inverse of Juliette’s lethal-touch powers. Juliette struggles to adapt to this new understanding of Warner, which complicates the history of enmity they feel for one another, as well as the attraction they share.

Juliette and Warner go to the site of former rebel stronghold Omega Point, which has been destroyed by Reestablishment bombings. There, they discover that Juliette’s friend Kenji Kishimoto is alive. He tries to shoot Warner, but Warner uses his ability-borrowing power to borrow Kenji’s invisibility powers. Juliette refuses to leave Kenji, so Warner leaves her a pager to contact him, then departs. Kenji reports that several members of Omega Point survived, including leader Castle, and both James and Adam Kent. They travel to Adam’s old apartment, where the survivors are hiding out. Juliette urges them to join her in her continued fight against The Reestablishment; everyone except Adam agrees. Warner arrives, which makes the group uneasy and Adam angry. Adam and Juliette argue about their relationship, which Juliette considers over but Adam sees as ongoing. Juliette decides to stay at the apartment overnight. Warner reluctantly agrees.

The next day, Adam insists that Juliette must leave if she wants to be with Warner. Warner offers the group safe lodgings on the military base, later confessing to Juliette that he does this out of love for her, not because he cares for the others. Juliette thinks about her attraction to him but cannot yet confess it. Warner argues that partial affection from her without her love is painful, and the two begin acting stiff and polite around one another. When the other Omega Point members arrive at the base, Kenji comments on this tension, noting how odd it is to see Warner (whom he’s always seen as emotionless and aloof) behaving kindly toward Juliette.

The rebels hatch a plan to take over their sector, kill Supreme Commander Anderson, and allow Juliette to take control of the country. They begin training to improve their control over their powers, and Juliette gains confidence as her facility with her super strength grows. After a week, Kenji reports that Adam and James will be joining them at the base—he lured Adam with promises that Juliette still loves him, annoying Juliette with this lie. Adam, however, seems unsurprised that Kenji misled him, though the mood between him and Juliette remains tense. James, by contrast, is happy to be at the base, cheerfully chatting to everyone, including Warner.

On a journey to unregulated territory, Warner learns that his mother has died. Juliette finds him crying and comforts him. She later insists that Adam confess to Warner that they are brothers, but Adam refuses. In his anger, he drags Juliette and Kenji’s hands together, which should end disastrously, given Juliette’s lethal-touch powers. To her shock, however, Juliette learns that her increased control of her powers means she can also turn them off—she can now touch anyone without fear of inadvertently harming them. Emboldened and relieved, Juliette now feels that her romantic attachments are a result of choice, rather than simply being drawn to whoever can touch her by default. She confesses her love to Warner, and the two kiss and sleep together. Over the following days, the two continue to assert their love for one another.

The day to announce their plan arrives, and Juliette and Warner face a group of assembled soldiers. Juliette declares her plan to kill Supreme Commander Anderson and destroy The Reestablishment. Despite their initial misgivings, the soldiers become believers in Juliette’s cause after a display of the rebels’ powers. As they discuss Supreme Commander Anderson, Adam accidentally reveals that he and Warner are brothers. To Juliette’s surprise, Warner is open to developing a relationship with Adam and James.

Supreme Commander Anderson arrives the following day. Juliette and Kenji head to his nearby ship while the remainder of the group (less James, who stays behind) fights alongside Sector 45 soldiers and civilians. Juliette and Kenji face overwhelming odds on the ship, and though Juliette’s super strength and the near invincibility it provides allows her to emerge unharmed, she and Kenji get separated. While searching for him, Juliette finds twins, Sara and Sonya, who were kidnapped by Anderson at the end of Unravel Me. They point her in Anderson’s direction, though they caution that Anderson has a weapon—a man with superpowers, able to shoot high-pressure waves. The force of the waves knocks Juliette down, but she eventually kills the man before killing Anderson. She brings an unconscious Kenji to Sara and Sonya who are able to heal him.

The four return to the military base, where Juliette reports her victory and mentally vows to see the rest of The Reestablishment destroyed. To her relief, all her friends, including Warner, have survived.