Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (HarperCollins)
Publication Date: February 15, 2011
After reading so many positive, glowing reviews for Angelfire, I had very high hopes for this book. I’m sad that it didn’t quite live up to them. Overall, Angelfire was an okay read for me. There were some things that I really liked and some that I didn’t.
On her seventeenth birthday, Ellie learns that she’s not just an ordinary teenage girl. She is the Preliator, a being that protects human souls from the reapers and is destined to be reincarnated every time her human body dies. Usually, she regains her memories of who she is, but this time her memories do not return and she has no idea why she’s suddenly good with a sword or who Will is. Will, her guardian through many of her reincarnations, must now train Ellie while trying to keep her alive.
Ellie was a pretty kickass heroine; she can fight with the best of them, plus she has not one, but two swords. I just wish that she didn’t also have to be a spoiled teenager. All the talk of high end fashion labels and cars felt jarring, especially the scene where Ellie and her friend Kate go shopping for dresses, it took me out of the story. I’m not sure if Ms. Moulton was trying to differentiate human Ellie with her otherworldly role, or show that she could be both, but I felt that it took away from Ellie’s character. I can appreciate that Ellie was trying to balance this new knowledge of what she supposedly was with the life she knew for seventeen years; it would have been
I also liked Ellie’s scenes with Will. Will was one of those characters who had a lot of layers - and the reader got to learn about him along with Ellie: being on the same learning curve as the main character is always a good thing. But, enough with the “I’m your guardian,” sentence/explanation starters. A few times would have been enough for the reader to understand that some things simply couldn’t be because Will was Ellie’s guardian. It was also nice that there was no love triangle - although some things that happen towards the end of the book point to the possibility of one in the sequel, there was one clear love interest in Angelfire and it worked really well.
Things that I didn’t care for included some of the fight scenes. You’re probably thinking: but wait there have to be fight scenes. Yes, they are a necessity; I personally felt that they were often too long. I lost track of what was going on. I’m all for action, it just seemed like too much as once.
The relationship, or lack thereof, Ellie had with her father was hard to read. He was an awful person and was horrible to Ellie. So horrible, that I hoped there would be some sort of payoff, but his actions fizzled out and didn’t come to anything (my prediction about him was way off the mark). Maybe there will be an explanation for his behavior in the sequel.
There were some things that I wanted more of. The first was Caden. Even though he only had two scenes, he jumped off the page. I can only hope that there will be more of him in Wings of the Wicked. Also more of the big, evil mastermind, please. The reader spent most of the book hearing about him, but then he’s only around for a few pages. Yes, he was definitely evil; I just wanted him to be more directly involved with the evil doing. Again, I hope he’s around for a longer time in book 2.
Speaking of the sequel, despite Angelfire not living up to my expectations, I will definitely be reading Wings of the Wicked. I would like to see how Ellie’s story continues and what’s in store for her next.