Thursday, November 18, 2010

Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton

Title: Angelfire*
Author: Courtney Allison Moulton
Series: Angelfire #1
Publisher: HarperCollins
Date of Publication: Feb. 15, 2011
Pages: 464 (Hardcover)
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When 17-year-old Ellie starts seeing reapers--monstrous creatures who devour humans and send their souls to Hell--a boy named Will shows up and reveals that she is the reincarnation of an ancient warrior, the only one capable of wielding swords of angelfire to fight the reapers. Now that Ellie's powers have been awakened, she finds herself on the front lines of a supernatural war between archangels and the Fallen, and a powerful reaper named Bastian has come forward to challenge her. Ellie and Will discover that Bastian is searching for a creature that completely destroys souls, and plans to use it as a weapon to begin the End of Days and to destroy Ellie's soul. Now, Ellie must quickly relearn to use her powers and uncover the secrets of her past to stop Bastian before it's too late.


To me, the strength of this novel was in the background and history of the supernatural war. Christian and Sumerian myths blend well to create an action-packed adventure where good is constantly keeping the forces of evil at bay, and the role that Ellie and Will play in it is really interesting. Though it's not entirely clear by the end of the novel what they have to do to stop the reapers, its clear that whatever they do have to do is going to be big, which makes the mystery all the more intriguing. In addition, Every few chapters there's an intense and violent fight scene, so creatively choreographed that even Tom Cruise would be impressed. They bring an element of real danger to the story, and were just plain fun to read.

Even though for a break out novel, Angelfire is pretty good, I had some issues with Ellie and Will. At first, Ellie comes across as pretty spoiled and unfocused. For her sixteenth birthday, she receives a brand new Audi, yes, BRAND NEW (which of course, gets totaled by the reapers hunting her), and spends a lot of time shopping for expensive dresses and drinking with her friends. Though she acted and sounded like a regular high schooler, it isn't until Will shows up and her memories start returning that we get a deeper sense of who she really is. Then she becomes an interesting character. As for Will, he himself is sort of confusing. He's stoic, calm, cares deeply for Ellie, and always seems to say the right thing (read: too perfect). But you'd think that Will, who has been Ellie's guardian for centuries (she gets reincarnated every time she dies), would be more rehearsed in what to say to get Ellie to remember who she is and convince her that she has a job to do. Instead, they just end up bickering a lot, which made me feel like they were strangers just getting to know each other for the very first time. Eventually, the bickering turns into flirting, which then turns into romance, but its not until the very end.

With an all-out war between heaven and hell approaching, I'll probably read the second book in the series. Moulton has creatively set up the pieces, so to speak, and I can't help but wonder what's in store for Ellie and Will and the fate of the world. I just hope that the characterization gets a bit better in the second installment.


5/8 Tentacles

*A copy of this book was provided by and downloaded from NetGalley. Thanks a bunch, guys!