Author: Courtney Allison Moulton
Synopsis (Courtesy of Powell’s Books):
“First there are nightmares.
Every night Ellie is haunted by terrifying dreams of monstrous creatures that are hunting her, killing her.
Then come the memories.
When Ellie meets Will, she feels on the verge of remembering something just beyond her grasp. His attention is intense and romantic, and Ellie feels like her soul has known him for centuries. On her seventeenth birthday, on a dark street at midnight, Will awakens Ellie’s power, and she knows that she can fight the creatures that stalk her in the grim darkness. Only Will holds the key to Ellie’s memories, whole lifetimes of them, and when she looks at him, she can no longer pretend anything was just a dream.
Now she must hunt.
Ellie has power that no one can match, and her role is to hunt and kill the reapers that prey on human souls. But in order to survive the dangerous and ancient battle of the angels and the Fallen, she must also hunt for the secrets of her past lives and truths that may be too frightening to remember.”
Thoughts: Angelfire is the successful combination of several elements of recent paranormal YA trends. There are demons, angels, reincarnation, an alternate world in which only the supernatural can travel, battles to save mankind and even a little bit of romance. While it might appear old and stale, Ms. Moulton brings together the elements in a way that is fresh, exciting, and fascinating.
Ellie is an incredibly sympathetic heroine. The reader knows that there is more to her than meets the eye, and the revelations that abruptly become known to her are of such a shocking nature that most people would end up medicated in order to be able to recover from them. Instead, Ellie shoulders her burdens with a sense of responsibility that is admirable. The teen angst that epitomizes this genre is absent, which allows the reader to get caught up in Ellie’s struggles to remember without getting bogged down among the drama.
Thankfully, the romance stays in the background, for this novel at least. It does not overshadow the greater story of Ellie’s fight to save humanity but does add a fine layer of tension. Even better, Ms. Moulton thoroughly establishes the background and explains the supernatural forces at work. There is no confusion as to who is fighting what and why. Nor is there any confusion about the historical events that led Ellie to this moment. This clearly-explained back story allows the reader to simply enjoy the action as it unfolds rather than get caught up trying to figure out what is happening.
Angelfire does follow the YA trend of being a series. However, Ms. Moulton is able to balance the need for closure while creating enough interest in the remaining unanswered questions that a reader does not mind that Ellie’s story has not reached its full conclusion. She does not save her big reveals for the last paragraph, which allows the reader to absorb the shock while piquing his or her interest in what the news means for future stories. That sense of frustration over abrupt cliffhangers does not exist, yet the reader’s need to know what happens remains high. In other words, it is a successful transition to the next novel.
Angelfire starts slowly and builds in action, drama and tension with a surprising depth to the story that establishes it as more than just another paranormal romance YA novel. Ellie and Will make a great team, and the twists and turns will leave the reader gasping in surprise. While there is enough resolution to satisfy the reader, all is definitely not resolved in Ellie’s story. I, for one, cannot wait to find out what happens next!
Thank you to GLiBA and the publisher for my copy!