Sunday, June 5, 2011

Review: 'Angelfire' by Courtney Allison Moulton

Angelfire, the first book in the new trilogy by Courtney Allison Moulton, introduces us to Elisabeth Monroe.  Ellie is plagued by nightmares where she is attacked and killed by monsters repeatedly.  On her seventeenth birthday, it all changes when a mysterious boy, Will, shows up and awakens her power.  She discovers the dreams are actually memories of many past lifetimes and endless reincarnations.  Now, Ellie and Will must hunt the reapers who feed on humans, but is Ellie becoming too human herself to stay focused on her job? 
This is another great urban fantasy for young adults.  Unfortunately, readers might overlook it in favor of other more popular angel books like Fallen and Hush, Hush.  Ellie is an interesting character in that she is very much like a typical high school girl, focused on boys and parties.  She also has to grow into her role as the Preliator, or hunter of reapers.  It's not like Will awakens her powers and she is suddently this bad-ass chick.  The progression is really nice.  I also love how both her and Will stuggle with their own inner humanity. 
Will is also a wonderful character.  He is her Guardian, but I mean that in the servant sense.  His role is to serve her and keep her safe.  To this goal, he has dedicated his entire immortal life.  But Will is not just a robot.  Sometimes he seems too controlled, but this is a result of his age (six hundred years) and the seriousness of his job.  When Will lets his guard down, it is a glorious thing, as he can be sweet and funny, not to mention totally sexy!  The romance in this story takes a backseat to the action, but I expect it will be more prominent in future books.
There are plenty of fight scenes for readers who love action.  Reapers can only be killed by decapitaion, having their heart removed or from angelfire.  The only being able to use wield angelfire swords is Ellie, which is why she is so dangerous.  Will does not know how Ellie came into being, only that she has a mortal body and when she is killed, her soul is able to reincarnate.  Once her reincarnated form reaches age seventeen, Will, as her Guardian, awakens her powers and they fight again.  This gives an interesting twist on the immortal thing that I haven't seen used before.  Unfortantely for Ellie, with each reincarnation, she becomes more human and it takes longer for her to come into her strength.  She makes many mistakes in fights, and I like how the author shows us her learning curve.  This also gives Will plenty of opportunities to play the hero. 
My biggest complaint at this point in the series is that I have to wait so long for the next book to come out. 
Overall, I give Angelfire...
Plot - 4 bookmarks
Character development - 4 bookmarks (there is plenty of room for them to grow in subsequent books)
World building - 4 1/2 bookmarks
Love story - 4 bookmarks (we just get a taste of it here, but I'm curious to see it play out)
Fight scenes - 3 1/2 bookmarks (at times, I wanted Ellie to react faster instead of watching Will do the work.
Dream cast (otherwise known as who I pictured while reading) - Rachel Hurd-Wood (Ellie), Diego Boneta (Will)

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