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Everyone in the universe knows his name. Everyone in the universe fears him. But no one realizes that notorious outlaw Ia Cōcha is a seventeen-year-old girl.

In this exhilarating edge-of-your-seat sci-fi adventure, debut author Maura Milan introduces our world to a thrilling new heroine. Ignite the Stars is available now from Albert Whitman & Company. Click below to order your copy.

Pre-orders received a special, limited edition Ignite The Stars enamel pin, inspired by Ia and designed in collaboration with artist Sara M. Lyons

If you pre-ordered Ignite the Stars, e-mail proof of purchase with date and your mailing address to marketing@albertwhitman.com with the subject line "Ignite the Stars pre-order." You must be a resident of the U.S. to enter. 

Missed out snagging one of our special pre-order gifts? Follow Albert Whitman & Company on Instagram and Twitter, where we'll have surprise chances on our accounts this fall to win one of the last few pins!  

 
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The photo on the wanted banner had no eyes, no ears, no nose. No face. Just a helmet with a crimson feather etched through the middle of its visor, slashing down from the forehead. Everyone knew that feather. 

They feared it. 

Inspired by Ia's iconic feather and the cover of Ignite the Stars, Albert Whitman & Company collaborated with artist Sara M. Lyons to create this special Ignite the Stars enamel pin. 

Make sure to snap a pic wearing your pin, tag #ignitethestars on social media, and show your support for Ia as she battles the Olympus Commonwealth! 

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About Ignite the stars

A criminal mastermind and unrivaled pilot, Ia has spent her life terrorizing the Olympus Commonwealth, the imperialist nation that destroyed her home. When the Commonwealth captures her and her true identity is exposed, they see Ia’s age and talent as an opportunity: by forcing her to serve them, they will prove that no one is beyond their control.

Soon, Ia is trapped at the Commonwealth’s military academy, and new acquaintances—Brinn, a seemingly average student with a closely-held secret, and their charming Flight Master, Knives—cause Ia to question her own alliances. Can she escape the Commonwealth’s clutches before these bonds deepen?

Praise for Ignite the stars 

"Get ready to meet Ia, a take-no-prisoners heroine who stole my heart from page one, and kept me cheering until the very end. Treat yourself to this book!" Kass Morgan, New York Times bestselling author of The 100 series

"Milan’s world building is delectably detailed, with fantastic futuristic technology and terminology that make her epic sci fi universe uniquely vivid and nuanced. Despite its otherworldly setting, Milan’s captivating debut has a compelling real-world quality that shines through her well-crafted characters and their fight for social justice. I can’t wait to read what happens next!" —Romina Russell, New York Times bestselling author of the Zodiac series

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Maura Milan grew up in Chicago and now resides in Los Angeles, where she works in video production. She received a BA from USC's School of Cinematic Arts and has placed a number of short films in festivals all over the United States. In her free time, you can find her drinking green tea lattes and writing in cafes, watching Korean dramas, and hanging out with her dog, Thor. Ignite the Stars is Maura’s debut novel. Visit her website and find her on Twitter and Instagram

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How to Cosplay AS Ia  

Now you too can take on the Olympus Commonwealth by cosplaying as Ia. Cosplayer Amy D. shows us how to make your own armor, just like Ia's on the cover of Ignite the Stars, from the tools you'll need to painting and even tips for wearing your cosplay.

Check out our video along with additional details below to make your own intergalactic Ignite the Stars gear, and make sure to tag #ignitethestars while showing off your Ia cosplay on social media! 

  Tools    You'll need the following tools to create your Ia cosplay; Writing utensils (pencils, pen, metallic permanent marker) and scrap paper, ruler and measuring tape, safety eye goggles, a respirator, EVA foam and craft foam, utility knives and X-acto knives, a Dremel tool, heat gun, hot glue gun with hot glue, Barge cement, Plasti Dip, Paint (acrylic paint, spray paint, rub ‘n buff, and/or leather paint), industrial strength velcro, elastic bands, nylon webbings with buckles. You'll also need a black bob wig (if wearing a wig), a black shirt and black leggings for your base. Knee pads and black gloves were used for this look, but can be optional.    Resources   Amy didn't learn all of this stuff right off the bat. Whenever she has a question or wants to learn a new technique, YouTube is a great resource. Here are some of her favorite YouTube Channels to learn cosplay techniques. She finds these to be easily accessible for everyone while still providing excellent learning material for advanced cosplayers.   Punished Props Academy    Kamui Cosplay    Zonbi’s Worksop

Tools

You'll need the following tools to create your Ia cosplay; Writing utensils (pencils, pen, metallic permanent marker) and scrap paper, ruler and measuring tape, safety eye goggles, a respirator, EVA foam and craft foam, utility knives and X-acto knives, a Dremel tool, heat gun, hot glue gun with hot glue, Barge cement, Plasti Dip, Paint (acrylic paint, spray paint, rub ‘n buff, and/or leather paint), industrial strength velcro, elastic bands, nylon webbings with buckles. You'll also need a black bob wig (if wearing a wig), a black shirt and black leggings for your base. Knee pads and black gloves were used for this look, but can be optional. 

Resources

Amy didn't learn all of this stuff right off the bat. Whenever she has a question or wants to learn a new technique, YouTube is a great resource. Here are some of her favorite YouTube Channels to learn cosplay techniques. She finds these to be easily accessible for everyone while still providing excellent learning material for advanced cosplayers.

Punished Props Academy

Kamui Cosplay

Zonbi’s Worksop

  Ia's Armor Construction   Start a big build by sketching out the design on a croquis template, available online for free. Think about the materials you will use, and note any designs that might be difficult.   After sketching, Amy used a combination of templates purchased through  Kamui Cosplay , edited to fit Ia’s armor design, and templates she sketched.    Foam Construction   This step can be the most tedious, however, it’s the most important part of cosplay construction. Before you start, make sure you have the proper protection! Always use eye protection and a respirator.   For this project Amy used three different types of foam - exercise mats made of EVA foam that were ½ inch thick, cosplay EVA foam sheets TNT Cosplay Supply in 4mm, 6mm, and 10mm, and 2mm craft foam.  The exercise mats were used for the helmet and chest piece, the TNT Cosplay foam for the chest piece details and the arm and leg armor, and craft foam for any fine details on the armor. Color does not matter since the piece is painted. Cut out armor pieces with utility knives (for thicker foam) and X-acto knives (for thinner foam and detail areas). Since EVA foam can dull blades, use a knife sharpening tool to ensure a clean cut.   A heat gun can help heat form foam to your body to give it more shape and seal the pores of the foam to make it easier to paint. Take your foam piece and blast it with heat - you will physically see it change colors as heat is applied. Once you’ve heated the whole foam piece, you can curl it up to create any shape you want. 

Ia's Armor Construction

Start a big build by sketching out the design on a croquis template, available online for free. Think about the materials you will use, and note any designs that might be difficult. 

After sketching, Amy used a combination of templates purchased through Kamui Cosplay, edited to fit Ia’s armor design, and templates she sketched. 

Foam Construction

This step can be the most tedious, however, it’s the most important part of cosplay construction. Before you start, make sure you have the proper protection! Always use eye protection and a respirator. 

For this project Amy used three different types of foam - exercise mats made of EVA foam that were ½ inch thick, cosplay EVA foam sheets TNT Cosplay Supply in 4mm, 6mm, and 10mm, and 2mm craft foam.

The exercise mats were used for the helmet and chest piece, the TNT Cosplay foam for the chest piece details and the arm and leg armor, and craft foam for any fine details on the armor. Color does not matter since the piece is painted. Cut out armor pieces with utility knives (for thicker foam) and X-acto knives (for thinner foam and detail areas). Since EVA foam can dull blades, use a knife sharpening tool to ensure a clean cut. 

A heat gun can help heat form foam to your body to give it more shape and seal the pores of the foam to make it easier to paint. Take your foam piece and blast it with heat - you will physically see it change colors as heat is applied. Once you’ve heated the whole foam piece, you can curl it up to create any shape you want. 

  Glue, Prime, Paint and Seal   If you’re making armor in multiple pieces, you’ll need to glue it together.  Amy prefers hot glue and barge or contact cement. Hot glue is a fast, easy way to make a semi-permanent adhesion great for small details or filling in cracks. Barge cement is a flexible permanent adhesive that provides a strong hold with a thin layer.  To attach two pieces of foam, apply a thin layer of barge cement on the edges you want to stick together. Let it dry for anywhere between 10 minutes to 4 hours. Then slowly connect the edges together, working carefully to make sure they’re totally lined up. To help get this right, Amy adds marks to her armor pieces. A dremel tool can also smooth out uneven edges with the sanding attachment.   Repeat these steps, adding details on top of your base armor, until you are satisfied.  Once you have all of your armor pieces constructed, glued, and heat formed, it’s time to prime. Priming the foam will create a nice barrier between the foam and paint and ensure that your paint job won’t chip off over time. For big pieces, prime with Plasti Dip, a sprayable rubber coating that doesn’t affect small details but has enough grip for painting. Amy used about 2 ½ cans on her full armor set, and did 2-3 thin coats of it on each armor piece. Another option is Mod Podge. This will take a lot more layers, but is cheaper.  Coat the entire project in 2-3 thin coats of glossy black spray paint. To highlight the edges of the armor with wear and tear, Amy used a highly metallic paint called Rub ‘N Buff, that you apply with a rag or paper towel and buff to a high shine.    

Glue, Prime, Paint and Seal

If you’re making armor in multiple pieces, you’ll need to glue it together.

Amy prefers hot glue and barge or contact cement. Hot glue is a fast, easy way to make a semi-permanent adhesion great for small details or filling in cracks. Barge cement is a flexible permanent adhesive that provides a strong hold with a thin layer.

To attach two pieces of foam, apply a thin layer of barge cement on the edges you want to stick together. Let it dry for anywhere between 10 minutes to 4 hours. Then slowly connect the edges together, working carefully to make sure they’re totally lined up. To help get this right, Amy adds marks to her armor pieces. A dremel tool can also smooth out uneven edges with the sanding attachment. 

Repeat these steps, adding details on top of your base armor, until you are satisfied.

Once you have all of your armor pieces constructed, glued, and heat formed, it’s time to prime. Priming the foam will create a nice barrier between the foam and paint and ensure that your paint job won’t chip off over time. For big pieces, prime with Plasti Dip, a sprayable rubber coating that doesn’t affect small details but has enough grip for painting. Amy used about 2 ½ cans on her full armor set, and did 2-3 thin coats of it on each armor piece. Another option is Mod Podge. This will take a lot more layers, but is cheaper.

Coat the entire project in 2-3 thin coats of glossy black spray paint. To highlight the edges of the armor with wear and tear, Amy used a highly metallic paint called Rub ‘N Buff, that you apply with a rag or paper towel and buff to a high shine. 

 

  Attachments    Once you have the armor completed and your paint is dry, it’s time to add attachments. Amy used a combination of elastic, nylon webbing, and industrial strength velcro to attach the armor to her body.  Elastic is great for areas that need to flex, like legs and arms. Nylon webbing is the best for areas that may warm and swell or cool over the course of wearing your cosplay, like chest armor or any areas that go over shoes.  Industrial strength velcro is highly recommended - it can hold up to 6+ hours of walking around a convention floor. It can be used on a variety of pieces and attachments. 

Attachments

Once you have the armor completed and your paint is dry, it’s time to add attachments. Amy used a combination of elastic, nylon webbing, and industrial strength velcro to attach the armor to her body.

Elastic is great for areas that need to flex, like legs and arms. Nylon webbing is the best for areas that may warm and swell or cool over the course of wearing your cosplay, like chest armor or any areas that go over shoes.

Industrial strength velcro is highly recommended - it can hold up to 6+ hours of walking around a convention floor. It can be used on a variety of pieces and attachments. 

  The Helmet    Ia has a sleek, black helmet with a visor that is emblazoned with her signature red feather. The helmet Amy made used some advanced cosplay techniques and is not recommend for beginners. However, if you want to try it out the template she used is available on  Punished Props . The helmet Amy made is not wearable, since you cannot see through the visor, but is a great prop to have while walking a con floor.   If you don’t want to make your own helmet, Amy highly recommends thrifting. You can find a bicycle helmet, baseball helmet, or a cheap motorcycle helmet, and use that instead of making your own helmet. Just make sure to add Ia signature red feather, which is the main focal point of the helmet. 

The Helmet

Ia has a sleek, black helmet with a visor that is emblazoned with her signature red feather. The helmet Amy made used some advanced cosplay techniques and is not recommend for beginners. However, if you want to try it out the template she used is available on Punished Props. The helmet Amy made is not wearable, since you cannot see through the visor, but is a great prop to have while walking a con floor. 

If you don’t want to make your own helmet, Amy highly recommends thrifting. You can find a bicycle helmet, baseball helmet, or a cheap motorcycle helmet, and use that instead of making your own helmet. Just make sure to add Ia signature red feather, which is the main focal point of the helmet. 

  Wigs, makeup and clothing   Ia’s whole look is a lot of black, so for her clothing Amy wore black leggings and a black long sleeve t-shirt. Go for comfort with your base layers in all black. Amy also wore black motorcycle boots, a very fitting look for Ia. You can substitute another style of black boot if you prefer. To complete the look, Amy purchased plain black knee pads online and black fingerless gloves to wear.    For Ia's hairstyle, any black bob-style wig with no bangs will work. There are several specialty cosplay wig shops online, such as  Arda Wigs , that have wigs that would be perfect for this cosplay. Or you can find something similar online. Amy suggests wearing a wig cap underneath to make sure your wig stay on and your hair stays smooth underneath.  Makeup is totally optional, but for this cosplay opt for a more natural, matte look.

Wigs, makeup and clothing

Ia’s whole look is a lot of black, so for her clothing Amy wore black leggings and a black long sleeve t-shirt. Go for comfort with your base layers in all black. Amy also wore black motorcycle boots, a very fitting look for Ia. You can substitute another style of black boot if you prefer. To complete the look, Amy purchased plain black knee pads online and black fingerless gloves to wear. 


For Ia's hairstyle, any black bob-style wig with no bangs will work. There are several specialty cosplay wig shops online, such as Arda Wigs, that have wigs that would be perfect for this cosplay. Or you can find something similar online. Amy suggests wearing a wig cap underneath to make sure your wig stay on and your hair stays smooth underneath.

Makeup is totally optional, but for this cosplay opt for a more natural, matte look.