Review: INCITE by Erica Crouch

Title: Incite
Author: Erica Crouch
Series: Ignite #2
Format: EBook/Paperback
Genre: YA Paranormal
Publication Date: February 17th, 2015
Publisher: Patchwork-Press
You'll like it if you liked: City of Bones, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Fallen
Rating: 5/5

Book Description:
Earth is in ruins, and the war of Heaven and Hell has spilled over into the mortal world. In the frozen wasteland of the apocalypse, Azael and his band of cohorts search for Pen and Michael with orders to kill. Little does he know that his sister has incited a rebel army of her own. 

Angels and demons alike stand side by side, ready and willing to fight for a future they didn’t realize they could have. Change doesn't come easy, though. Pen is wary of joining New Genesis's revolution, but when Azael shows his hand and Pen learns all that he holds over them, she chooses to fight back, no matter the risk. She only has to survive, one hour at a time.

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(I received an ARC copy of INCITE in exchange for a fair review. I intern with Patchwork Press, but this has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.)

I couldn't wait to get my hands on Incite. I'm a big fan of Erica Crouch's writing and the story of Pen and Michael is no exception. Following the end of Ignite, I was eager to find out where our young star-crossed lovers were going to end up and Incite had me on the edge of my seat.

Incite starts with Pen and Michael running for their lives across Earth, which is in the grips of another Ice Age thanks to the war between Heaven and Hell. Azael is King of Hell, but still nursing his wounds after the betrayal of his sister. There's a bounty on Pen and Michael's heads, from both Heaven and Hell, and with everyone out to kill them, hope seems lost. That is, until they encounter Kala (who I will come to later), who tells them that their romance has inspired a rebellion - angels and demons are fighting with one another for a better future.

I'll start by saying that I absolutely adore Crouch's prose. It's fluid and evoking, like good poetry, but she also excels at easy and realistic dialogue. Some of the lines in this book are whip-smart, and I laughed out loud at times. It's told through the dual narrative perspectives of Pen and her brother Azael. As we all know, dual POV can either be done reeeeeally well or reeeeeally badly, and thankfully Crouch pulls off the former. Pen and Az's narratives are distinct and at this point in the story, it works perfectly to have Az's perspective on the hunt as well as his sister's.

I loved reading from Az's point of view. He's a character I loved from the first two books, but having that extra insight into his head goes a long way for a reader to understanding him and his motives. He's still completely brutal, and believes in Hell's cause through and through, but his love for his sister has always redeemed him. After her betrayal, being able to see the conflict he feels was really interesting. He's also so different to Pen; his voice reads differently, his comebacks are sharper somehow. I think it's really clever how Crouch has translated the character we only knew through dialogue and through Pen's eyes in the other books, into his own consciousness in Incite. It was risky but she's succeeded in making the antagonist as endearing as the protagonist. I remember Crouch saying in the early stages that she was having trouble getting into his head, but it doesn't show at all in Incite.

I love the romance between Pen and Michael and Incite didn't disappoint. I am a huge sucker for forbidden romances (as I mentioned recently in a Patchwork Press blog), and this one is about as forbidden as it gets. Crouch teases us a lot in the early chapters of this book with the physical aspect of their relationship. If Michael were real, I'm sure he's have something to say about the amount of times Crouch c**k blocked him! However, the tension between the two of them worked really well. One of my favourite parts was probably when they discussed his memories from when they were both angels. Pen herself has always been a character I can identify with; she knows what is right but sometimes struggles with selfish wants. Her instinct is to keep what she loves safe and screw everyone else - and that's the mastery of it all. Despite the fact that we're reading about angels and demons, the characters in Incite have never felt more human in their passions, their fears, and what drives them. I think that's what distinguishes this paranormal YA from a lot of others I've read.

There's a whole cast of new characters along with the old and I know that I'm not the only one who is a huge fan of the New Genesis additions. My absolute favourite has to be Kala simply because she's unlike anything I've ever read before. One-winged, foul mouthed but somehow still angelic, she rocked every scene she was in. We also saw the return of Gus who I LOVE and I'm hugely excited to see what he's up to with Lilith. And Lilith, well. She's that character you love to hate, and hate to love. Every movement she made on the page, every word of that epilogue, had my skin on edge. She's a deliciously good villain, and her motives are always so mysterious. I know she's going to have her own POV in the final book of the series, so that'll be interesting!

On a whole the plot was really good, and Crouch avoids one of the greatest pitfalls of an 'on-the-run' book - feeling like the characters are just moving from one spot to another without any real purpose. Every scene feels poignant, not stagnant. In tone, Incite is even darker than its predecessor; if you're squeamish, there are a few really bloodthirsty moments, but then again, what can you expect from a book series that opened with the words 'warm, slick and rusty red. I should be used to being covered in blood now...'? The characters are fighting a war, and nothing about war is sunshine and flowers. I'm a fast reader, but there were moments where I just had to put the book aside, sit back and process what had happened. I don't consider that a bad thing, but the content is dense at times, and provoking; it raises arguments about religion, ethics, humanity. However, there are so many beautiful moments in Incite, funny moments too, that keep the book from being too dark or too grim.

I cannot wait to read the final installments in the series, especially as Crouch leaves Incite on a cliffhanger! I fully anticipate the final book being full of anguish and it's going to be hard to say goodbye to the characters I've come to love so much, but I know without a doubt, Crouch will do it justice.

About The Author:
Erica Crouch is a young adult and new adult author from Baltimore, Maryland. She has a strange blended aesthetic of cute and spooky, and her books reflect her ever changing mood. (You may find romance, you may find gore—sometimes both in the same book, but probably not at the same time. Probably.)

Erica is the cofounder of Patchwork Press, an author-powered publisher of middle grade, young adult, and new adult titles. She is the head of editorial services and design, with nearly fifty projects to her name.

You can find a complete list of Erica’s books here, or connect with her on Twitter at @Erica_Crouch. She loves having online friends, so feel free to email her at if you want to talk to her about any of her books, pygmy goats, or the ghosts that haunt her. For free bonus content and semi-regular emails from Erica, subscribe to her newsletter and become a pen pal with benefits!

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