Review: Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton

Published by HarperCollins
Released February 15, 2011
464 pages
Where I got it: Public library
Rating: 3 stars

Ellie thought turning 17 might mean more freedom, a new car, and the opportunity to have an amazing birthday bash with her friends.  What she got was demonic reapers terrorizing her, superhuman fighting abilities, and numerous opportunities to lie to her parents and come  up with alibis to cover up why she’s wrecking things and coming home covered in blood, but with no visible injuries.  Luckily for her, she has a new, mysterious older guy will to fill in the blanks on who she really is (The Preliator, a warrior with the power of angelfire, who dies but is always reborn), and to protect her at all costs.  But Ellie is having more trouble remembering herself than she ever has before in other lives, and there’s something fishy going on in the reaper world.  If she fails this time, her death may be forever.

I liked how Angelfire started out well enough.  A young girl awakens to demon-fighting superpowers had real appeal to me as a Buffy fan.  I had a good time reading the fight scenes, although I got frustrated at the fact that Ellie held back at the beginning each time–you’d think after the first couple she’s get over the freaked-outedness and immediately start whailing on the enemy from the get-go.

I also really liked the points when we’d get to see Ellie in a flashback of her previous incarnations.  Those were often more interesting to me than the current Ellie, so I hope future books will have even more.  The nightmares and memories were the most creative part of the book.

My least favorite part: anytime Ellie acted like a typical American teenager.  Don’t get me wrong, I believe Moulton can make her protagonist act however she wants.  However, the mall shopping and movie theater stuff just didn’t appeal to me.  I guess I was hoping that Ellie would transform into more of a strong female, less focused on materialism, but that isn’t the character on the page.

Still, I was into the story and concept up until the big reveal.  (I won’t spoil it).  At the end, the story went in a direction I didn’t expect, and went down a notch on the originality scale for me.

Angelfire is, overall, a lot of fun, and will certainly appeal to many YA readers who are into the supernatural/action/romance type of story.  Questions remain unanswered, and hopefully will be resolved in later books (my burning question: is Ellie’s father actually a Reaper in disguise?).

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