Book Talk: Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Date: March 15, 2010
Series or Standalone: First in trilogy
ISBN: 978-0062002327
Format: Hardcover, 464 pages
Source: ARC
Description: This debut, the first novel in a trilogy, is achingly romantic, terrifying, and filled with blistering action.

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.

First line: I stared out the classroom window and longer for freedo, wanting to be anywhere in the world other than gaping at my economics teacher like the rest of my classmates.

This book is pretty wonderful. I had the ARC for a while but I didn’t have the time to read it early. I read Sunday night instead (or while) watching the Grammy’s, and it was the right call because it was 10000 times better! It didn’t take long to figure out this book was completely new and different—in addition to well-developed and well-written. I jumped into the world of Angelfire and couldn’t escape! It was amazing.

This book is the story of Ellie, a girl who has nightmares that turn out to be real visions of her past lives. Ellie is the Preliator—the one person (who’s not quite a person) with the power to stop the ultimate evil of the reapers. But she doesn’t know this until she turns seventeen and she meets Will. Will is her Guardian, sworn to protect her and search for her each time she is reborn. Ellie and Will work together to stop the evil from ending the world and she soon discovers that she is way more than she expected and the duty of protecting humanity is more important than the rest of her world.

Angelfire covers so many pieces of YA it’s really hard to list them all. There’s romance, real-life drama that you’d find in contemporary pieces, humor, fantasy, mythology and action. True story: there was a boy in college writing class who loved Stephen King and all his stories were gore and guts. Many scenes took my back to that class and that boy’s stories. Moulton’s character kick a lot of Reaper butt. Seriously. There was scene after scene of killer combat action. Sometimes, I felt like I was reading a different book. That alone makes this book more boy-appealing. Sure, there’s love and lust and the MC’s a girl—but the action is enough to cross-over to other fans. It really makes this book stand out.

Something else that made Angelfire unique is the world-building and mythology that Courtney Allison Moulton developed in the story. I enjoyed the way the story employed Christian theology, as well as other Eastern traditions. She pulled in the basic beliefs of Christian theology (the fallen, Satan, the separation of angels and lost souls) and teachings of reincarnation, magic and fate. It was a unique and solid spin on good vs. evil and angels and demons. I’m not a big fan of angel books, but I can definitely recommend this book! I hate even calling it an angel book because it’s so much more than that.

Ellie struck me from the beginning. I liked the way she was set up as a normal girl—and how that stays throughout the story. She doesn’t want to be “special”, but she is and she accepts that eventually in some way. Her life is so normal: friends, school, parties, a mom who is so cool and supportive and a dad who…um…isn’t. She struggles at school just because she’s distracted. It was all very true. I liked Ellie. As the story went on and she learned exactly what she was I liked her more. She’s a great character: independent, smart, sarcastic, friendly, passionate. When I think of powerful and strong female MCs, I’ll always think of here now. She’s up there with Clary and Katniss.

There’s been a lot of talk about Will. I’ve heard the stories of his dreaminess and kick-butt awesome gorgeousness. It was true; he IS incredible. He’s completely and totally angelic. He combats Ellie’s snark with plenty of his own. His words are wise, his eyes are green and his character is completely lovely. Plus, he will always defend Ellie and challenge her at the same time. I like that. I like that, a lot.

Favorite lines! I tweeted these while I read. These are just a few lines that I really, really liked.

"Love doesn’t make you blind. It paralyzes you until you can’t breathe or run away from it.”
"He felt as familiar as his voice, firm like the foundation of a skyscraper..."
"Love is a beautiful but terrible thing. You have to be careful with it. It can destroy you."
"My eyes may have been unused to his face, but my soul knew him better than it knew anything in the world."
"That’s the point of believing in something. There’s so much doubt and tribulation during your journey that you’ve got to hang on to something, or else you’ll fall."
"I'd let him think about that for a little while"

I can’t wait to see where these lovely characters go. This is the first book in a trilogy and Moulton did a great job of wrapping up the book and leaving open so many details.

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