Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Review - Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton (4/5 stars)

AngelfireReading level: Young Adult
Genre: Paranormal
Size: 453 pages
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date: February 15, 2011
ISBN-13: 978-0062002327
Stand Alone or Series: 1st book in a planned trilogy.
Source: Traveling ARC Tours
Rating: 4/5 stars

I got an advanced reading copy of this book through Traveling ARC Tours.  I was very excited to read this book, based on the description it looked right up my alley.  This is supposed to be the first book of a trilogy.  It was a good , I really enjoyed some of Ellie's flashbacks to her past lives, but I didn't enjoy the amount of time she spent trying to balance school work with her training.

Ellie has been having horrible nightmares.  Then one day at school she sees a guy who she thinks is familiar.  She finds out his name is Will and he is her Guardian.  Ellie's memories and powers are slumbering but Will tells her she is a ancient soul who is reborn into human form and can wield the swords of Angelfire.  As Ellie's powers awaken she is hunter by Reapers, the very creatures that only she can kill.  The evil Reapers are trying to awaken something ancient and evil, and only Will and Ellie can stop them.

This book reminded me a lot of Buffy the Vampire Slayer; except with Reapers instead of Vampires.  Ellie is kind of a girly girl, but not too over the top.  I enjoyed her character; as a character Ellie was sweet and had a good sense of humor.  Will was also an excellent character, although very serious.  The two have pretty good chemistry and make a good team; I enjoyed that they didn't immediately fall head over heels for each other with no explanation.

I loved the action scenes in the book and really enjoyed the flashbacks into Ellie's past lives.  These were very well done and engaging.  I also liked how the plot was big, we are talking preventing the end of the world type of stuff which is always entertaining to read about.  Unfortunately I also have some complaints.

My biggest complaint is two-fold.  First the Ellie that we go through every day life with is not consistant with the Ellie in the action scenes; it is like reading about two different people.  I know that her eternal soul kind of takes over in fight scenes; but it is still supposed to be Ellie, right?  I wish her character had a bit more consistency in these parts.  Second a lot of time is spent discussing Ellie's school life; who likes who, how she is going to get her homework done, etc.  She spends a lot of time being chastized for her grades slipping or for not putting enough time into school projects.  Maybe all of this is supposed to make Ellie more human and easier to relate to...I just found these parts boring and they seemed to drag on.  I wanted to read more about the Reapers, understand better how the Grim worked, and see more of this awesome world within our human world.

The Grim is there, it reminds a lot of the Grey in Kat Richardson's Harper Blaine series, but it is never explained very well...we only get a vague idea of what it means and how it can be used.  I didn't like that so much depth was put into Ellie's school life and yet the awesome and intriguing parts of this world are just barely sketched out.  I guess from the synopsis I was looking for something creative, dangerous, and action packed...what I got was basically a version of Buffy the Vampire Slayer but with less time spent on discussing the actual training Ellie goes through.

Moulton does throw a whopper of a surprise at you towards the end of the book, so I was happy to have something there that caught me by surprise.  The story is nicely wrapped up; although definitely the first book of a series.  The writing is well done and readable, if nothing really outstanding.

Overall it was a good book.  I wanted to like it more than I did.  I did love the flashback scenes of Ellie's past and enjoyed some of the fight scenes between Ellie and the Reapers.  There was too much dealing with everyday high school life and not enough immersion in the world Ellie is introduced to.  The writing was good, but didn't blow me away.  I was hoping for more and was left feeling a little dissatisfied...in many ways this reminded of a number of other young adult books that are already out there.  If you are into books where a high school girl gains super powers and then falls for a hot boy she technically can't have then this is the book for you.

This book went to the following reading challenges:
- The Young Adult Reading Challenge
- Speculative Fiction Reading Challenge Book List
- The 100+ Book Reading Challenge

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