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Blogger Book Review: Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton

Posted by cat eyes & skinny jeans on April 9, 2011

Rise and shine, inkpoppers! This morning we have a review of Courtney Allison Moulton’s Angelfire straight from John of Dreaming In Books.

Says John of his reading tastes, “I love the YA genre, but chick lit and romance are also some favorite ventures of mine.” For more book reviews from John, visit him at Dreaming In Books; but at this very moment, sit back, relax, and escape with Angelfire.

“Urban fantasy is slowly creeping into the YA paranormals we see every day. There is a greater tie with romance and action in YA now, and the heroines are going more from passive beings into characters that are directly involved in the battles and trials the paranormal universe prevents beyond the forbidden relationship stigma that is created by the romance in question. It’s pretty much like the adult urban fantasy model, but the romance and non-paranormal conflicts are a little more present. I really like this trend because it provides some balance for the genre, which has become a bit too much like ‘Twilight’, and I just like the idea of more world-building and kick-buttery. ‘Angelfire’ is a good example of this new trend, and I can’t wait to see where the series goes from this first installment.

“On the coming of her 17th birthday, Ellie has begun having strange nightmares. She’s fighting frightening demons with swords of burning fire, and she can remember something more about her duty as something big in the world. It all seems to be a dream when she wakes up, and Ellie tries to focus on her upcoming birthday party and the stress going on at home rather than the strange dreams she has. At school she has to contend with her best friend Landon – who may want to be more than best friends – and starts seeing a new and handsome face hanging around. She doesn’t recognize him, but for some reason this new boy seems very familiar…

“This new boy, named Will, seems to bring up startling new memories for Ellie. He starts hanging out with her, and does something to awaken her on her 17th birthday. Things are still fuzzy, but she’s introduced into a new world of unusual by Will. She fights reapers. Intense and extremely dark beings that take human souls and send them straight to Hell, bypassing the judgment assigned to the heavens. According to Will, it’s her job as the Preliator to destroy these reapers and prevent the human souls from being sent to reside in Hell without the proper judgement.

“Memories are returning to Ellie now. She’s been reincarnated since at least the Sumerian times, and those dreams she’s been having are past memories. Some with Will – whom she picked up around the 15/1600’s – and some before he even existed, with other guardians who would help protect her from being destroyed so she could do her work. Will begins to teach her the history and the fighting ruthlessness she needs to fight the reapers, and a budding romance begins that neither of them can stop. A reaper of immense power is also making their way to Ellie’s city. It’s power is so strong it could possibly destroy her immortal soul…for good.

“I cannot help but fall for a heroine that is kick-butt. I mention this a lot in reviews, and the strong heroine is important to me. I can like a passive character, but a strong one is a lot easier to enjoy reading about. Especially when they fight things with swords and take no prisoners. Ellie is killer because she takes on her role and just does it. She doesn’t complain about being the Preliator, she asks questions smartly and destroys the disgusting reapers. I have to admire that. She also deals with a lot of personal issues involving her parents and school life, and it really makes her a balanced character to me because the author isn’t ignoring her two lives when she lives in the kind of world that would require two lives. It just annoys me when a character in an urban fantasy/paranormal like this is just in the paranormal or real world aspect. It should be a balance, and Ellie is a good representation of that balance. Sometimes she can miss the mark for deeper things, but overall she’s a good protagonist with some promising growth.

“Will is sexy. Sexy sexy sexy. He’s a little on the mysterious side with dash of protectiveness, but he isn’t possessive like Edward. Far from it. He’s actually pretty beta to Ellie, which is supremely cool. I love that he can be protective without overpowering her as the character and bigger paranormal force. He serves as a center for a lot of information about the world, but it didn’t feel heavy on info-dumps because of how he explained things. His romance with Ellie is delightfully forbidden, and encompasses a lot of what I like about the trope without being overly exerted. It’s a slower build – which I whole-heartedly approve of – and it is really understandable. Also happy that Landon isn’t a part of the love triangle. The childhood best friend gets really old after a bit. There is a possible triangle emerging, though, and I don’t know how I feel about that as of now. The other characters are pretty well done, but they don’t have nearly the center that Will and Ellie do in the story.

“The story itself took a few pages to get into. Courtney uses an accessible writing style, but it’s pretty basic and prior to the takeoff of the story, it doesn’t impress. Moulton excels in pacing, sucking you in and never letting you go. After those first two or three pages, I didn’t notice anything else about the writing except I wanted more to the story. It was also really well done in the world-building department. Lots of details, and a good grasp on her ideas made it so fun to read about. I can’t wait to learn more about the world. I also have to tip my hat to her commissioning of character art and what-not. It makes the experience just a little more vivid, and I have to say my suspicions about Will’s sexiness were magnified by the art. (I’m shallow. In case that wasn’t clear.)

“There aren’t too many good things left to say about ‘Angelfire’. It’s pretty true to the YA paranormal/UF genre in how it goes about things, but the world building is top-notch and the relationship is well done. It’s not for everyone, but if you love the genre like I do, it’s really a gem. There are some slow parts, and Moulton’s writing has a lot of room for evolution, but I really like where she starts things, and I hope to read the next two books in the future. Nothing is better than some kick-butt angel and demon battling.

Cover: Love the cover model and her red hair. The font is a little irksome though.

Rating: 4.5 Stars”

Thank you so much to John of Dreaming In Books for dropping by to discuss Angelfire with us.

Over to you…have you read Angelfire? If so, what did you think of it? If not, will you be picking this book up during your next trip to the bookstore and/or library?

Share your thoughts in the comments section!

Erika (aka inkpoperika)

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