Published: Katherine Tegen Books (February 15, 2011)
Audience: Young Adult
Source: For Review, Also purchased a copy
Young Adult * Urban Fantasy * Paranormal
Description from Goodreads:
When seventeen-year-old Ellie starts seeing reapers - monstrous creatures who devour humans and send their souls to Hell - she finds herself on the front lines of a supernatural war between archangels and the Fallen and faced with the possible destruction of her soul.
A mysterious boy named Will reveals she is the reincarnation of an ancient warrior, the only one capable of wielding swords of angelfire to fight the reapers, and he is an immortal sworn to protect her in battle. Now that Ellie's powers have been awakened, a powerful reaper called Bastian has come forward to challenge her. He has employed a fierce assassin to eliminate her - an assassin who has already killed her once.
While balancing her dwindling social life and reaper-hunting duties, she and Will discover Bastian is searching for a dormant creature believed to be a true soul reaper. Bastian plans to use this weapon to ignite the End of Days and to destroy Ellie's soul, ending her rebirth cycle forever. Now, she must face an army of Bastian's most frightening reapers, prevent the soul reaper from consuming her soul, and uncover the secrets of her past lives - including truths that may be too frightening to remember.
Although I'm quite a few months late, I finally read and enjoyed Angelfire from debut author Courtney Allison Moulton. This was highly buzzed about during the months leading up to its released and Angelfire was one of those novels that I knew I would like before I read it. I liked that it was urban fantasy -- I love paranormal stories that have more active female heroines with paranormal elements happening in big cities. I liked how the world of Angelfire seemed to coexist with the world of present-day Detroit. One of the novel's strengths I think was the world-building. I fully understood the rules and intricacies of this paranormal world. Although some of the angel mythology (one of my favorite paranormal "creatures") was familiar from religion/folklore and other novels, there was a lot of originality incorporated into Angelfire that Moulton did a great job of explaining and developing. In Angelfire, beyond just angels, Heaven, Hell, and the usual, there is a dimension called The Grim, creatures called reapers, a general creepiness that makes this probably the most unique 'angel book' I've ever read. Not to sound morbid, but I really loved the darkness and violence of this world.
The characters were also very well-developed. I'm usually attracted to the male lead in most books, but I am completely sincere when I say that Will is probably one of my new book boyfriends. I really liked his history as a character, and the quirks and characterization was really well done. Not too much brooding, not too much bravado. I loved him! Ellie, our protagonist was likable too. For the most part she was strong without being aggressive and her relationship with Will was sweet. I was mostly intrigued by the guys in Angelfire, though. Ellie's dad is a character I couldn't quite wrap my head around. His relationship with Ellie is so complex and much more dynamic than her relationship with her mother. I kept waiting for something to be revealed about him... I guess I'll have to wait for the next two books to see if I'm just being paranoid. Similarly, Will's friend, Nathaniel, and archrival, Cadan (who won't really have a large role until later in the series) were interesting and well-rounded. Even the male villain piqued my interest. Moulton just does a great job with characters, especially male characters.
The plot was also very interesting. It developed at a great pace -- I almost couldn't put the novel down -- and there are several revelations near the end that came out of left field... in a good way! I love it when I can't instantly predict the trajectory of a series after the first book, which is the case with Angelfire. There is something about Angelfire that I can't put my finger on, but I just loved. There were some small issues I had with it. I felt that once Ellie realized her feelings for Will, her character lost some of her funny sassiness and became more fragile and on-the-verge-of-tears compared to the first half of the book. Also, Ellie's human life was left unresolved many times when jumping between her reaper duties and her regular life. There were a few other hiccups that bothered me, but at the same time I was really drawn to this story and its characters. I really liked it and can't wait for the sequel, Wings of the Wicked in 2012. I'd recommend this to fans of Lauren Kate's Fallen series and Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy series.
Her official website is: courtneyallisonmoulton.com
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