Review: Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton
“I held both of my arms out and willed weapons into my open palms. The twin Khopesh swords appeared out of nothing in a flash of shimmering light. The curving silver blades glinted brightly. I glanced over at Will. I could now see intricate black tattoos twisting out from beneath his right arm to his knuckles. I remembered the beautiful symbols woven into the spiraling design, because I’d seen them before with different eyes, in another time. My thoughts were calm and unnervingly clear. The blades exploded into white flames at my command. Blinding light devoured the silver, and the power coursed through me. My finger squeezed the cool, familiar helves as the scents of silver and old blood flooded my heightened senses. The swords felt right in my grasp, like hugging an old friend.” (~from Ch. 3)
Awakened on her seventeenth birthday, Ellie Monroe discovers she has ultimate powers as the Preliator – the only mortal able to hunt and kill the reapers, creatures who stalk their prey in the Grim and battle for the souls of the Fallen. Even though she has been reincarnated over the centuries, she has been watched over by her Guardian, the handsome and rugged Will. As she struggles to remember who or what she is with her desire to stay a “normal” teen, she realizes her duty to serve the greater good is one she can’t ignore.
I’ll admit it….this is my first book about angels. There I said it – please don’t shoot me! I’ve been a fan of the vamps, the werewolves, and the faeries but I can see the angels making their way to the top of the “In” list now. And honestly, that’s okay with me. Angelfire was the perfect book to expose me to this group of paranormal protectors. I have always seen angels as dainty and pure, but this story is full of butt-kicking action. Moulton’s ability to tell a story and reveal the plot piece by piece is fantastic; this book was a total page-turner for me and I literally couldn’t put it down….I stayed up until 2:00 in the morning reading this book!
Here’s what I found exciting about this book:
1) a female character who isn’t whiny and waiting to be saved
2) a paranormal world that has a folklore all it’s own – and Moulton does a great job of putting it out there in bits, not giving us chapters of history that can be cumbersome to read at once
3) a complexity in the plot that kept me engaged in the story and wanting to know what was going to happen next….enough foreshadowing to not be confused, but not too much cliché to be bored with what was happening
4) swords and weapons that appear at will, tattoos written in ancient languages, a sarcophagus that needs to be destroyed, and just the right amount of pop culture jokes about all of them to make me laugh aloud,
and most importantly….
5) a romance with a guy who constantly says “As you wish…” and “I’d follow you anywhere.” (Really, who doesn’t want that?!?!)
I can’t help but compare this to Buffy, the Vampire Slayer – which happens to be one of favorite shows ever. Watching Ellie struggle with her responsibility to fight for the greater good and her wish to stay “normal” and have a teenage life is one that Buffy famously brought to our attention when we wander into the paranormal realm. The story stands on it’s own, but I’m glad that there will be more to come so I can see Ellie blossom and reach her full potential. The ending gives you a glimpse into her true identity and capability to bring down all the creepy, crazy, and crafty creatures that haunt and threaten her. Trust me, you’ll want to read more.
(Awesome, kick-butt action & a hot guy with wings! You can’t go wrong. )
The fight between good and evil – heaven and hell – black and white – mortal and immortal; however you see it, this mythology stands as a wonderful foundation for a story. Ellie has nightmares of being hunted and killed by creatures beyond her wildest imagination, but when those nightmares become her reality she must learn where she stands in this ultimate good guy vs. bad guy fight. I think that each of us struggles in some way to find that meaning in our lives. Hopefully not as gruesome and violent as Ellie does, and not even with other worldly creatures, but don’t we all just want to know that we matter, that people care about us?
At the heart of this book is a girl wanting parental approval, a girl wanting to be loved, a girl wanting to fit in, and a girl wanting to do what’s right. I can relate to those things, as can all teenage girls. Angelfire not only gives us action and romance, it give us a glimpse into adolescence.
Even though I was oblivious to the fact that this is only book one in a trilogy when I began reading it, I can honestly say — thank heavens! (pun intended) because I really didn’t want it to end. The next two books, Wings of the Wicked and Hymn to the Fallen are set to be released in 2012 and 2013. I’ll definitely be ready for more and actually have to curb my enthusiasm until then.
Cover Story: B –
While a fiery red-head looks poised to spring into action at any moment, it’s actually her weapon that I can’t stop looking at….there should be two of them!!! Ellie has twin blades that she can call at will to fill her hands. And the best part is the “angelfire” – the white flames that carry the ultimate power – that burst forth when she summons her strength. I would give the cover art a better grade if it were more accurate. The cover hints at her abilities by having her look down from a perch in the sky, but nothing else about the cover alludes to anything about the book. Granted, I need to stop judging books by their covers, but I’ve seen so much artwork that can capture the essence of a story, this one just falls a bit short for me. I’m very curious to see what the next cover in the series will look like and if they would choose to feature Will or even highlight the correct weapons. She has such a super-awesome set of swords, it’s a shame the cover doesn’t do them justice.
Courtney Allison Moulton is a debut author and I give her 2 thumbs up! Angelfire was written during NaNoWriMo in 2008 and sold as a trilogy to Katherine Tegen Books, an imprint of HarperCollins (How cool is that?). Courtney lives in Michigan and loves horses and photography. I definitely see good things in the future for this gal.
Review Copy: Courtesy of Harper Collins (via NetGalley)
Genre: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance
Hardcover: 464 pages
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (February 15, 2011)
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