Review – Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton
My next Bookette review is the exciting Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton. I chose this one to read for obvious reasons (Angelfire / Angel’s Fury, subjects of reincarnation and fallen angels) but it turned out to exceed my expectations.
The protagonist in Angelfire is a teenage girl called Ellie. She lives a priviledged lifestyle, which is quite unusual for a teenage protagonist in this kind of tale (she regularly shops in designer stores, buys the kind of clothes most teens would only dream of and her birthday present is an Audi) and at first I found that distanced me from her, but then I really liked it – it was different – and who doesn’t love a cool car and nice clothes?
Although she is one of these teenagers who start having strange things happen to them as their ‘powers’ develop, Moulton gets into the action quickly and Ellie is catapaulted from a normal teenage life, to hunting beasts called ‘Reapers’ in a slightly altered reality called the ‘Grim’, which only psychics can see/enter. Reapers are a sort of fallen angel and they take several beastly forms (from wolflike to bearlike to humanlike vir, the most powerful) and use their powers to kill humans and drag their souls directly to hell. Ellie wields cool swords and has the power of angelfire, the only thing that can destroy a reaper and it turns out that she is the reincarnation of, well, herself – as the only one in the world with this special power, every time she dies, she gets another life (like the biggest video game ever!) She gets reincarnated and her ‘guardian’, Will, has to wait for her to be reborn, so he can fight with her against the reapers once more.
The problem is, this time around things have changed, Ellie’s soul has been absent for longer than usual and she has come back without her memories and much more ‘human’ than before.
Moulton manages to get us into the action by allowing Ellie to fight, while allowing her emotional journey in the form of remembering who she is (and who Will is), to take much longer. I thought that was very clever.
There are many questions raised in the book, including why has Ellie been absent for so long? Why shouldn’t she have feelings for Will? What is Will’s big secret? And who is Ellie really?
Meanwhile the reapers are after something called the Enshi that they think will destroy Ellie’s soul altogether.
While trying to remember everything she ought to, Ellie and Will have to stop the reapers and Enshi.
This is a trilogy but, what I liked the most about Angelfire, apart from the fact that it was pretty much non-stop action, is that it feels like a full book, which answers most of our questions, certainly the big ones (who Ellie really is for example – and that was probably the best twist I’ve read in a while), but leaves enough to hook you into the next one (we end the book still unclear as to why Ellie’s soul was not reincarnated earlier and why her father has changed so much – I have my own theories on that one). I’ve recently read some YA ‘book ones’ which leave so much unresolved it totally put me off reading any further – they felt as if someone had literally cut a bigger book in two. This book doesn’t feel like that.
I really enjoyed Angelfire, it’s exciting, good fun and you root for the characters. The only things that I didn’t like were the things that distanced me from Ellie (for example when told that the soul of someone she knew and liked in more than one life has been ripped from his body and sent straight to hell, she doesn’t even ask if there’s any way to save his soul or get it back, she just accepts it), however these things are few and far between and I got much more invested in her as the book went on. There is a clear emotional journey that I think will deepen and develop in book two and I, for one, am very interested to see where Moulton goes with this series.
I heartily recommend Angelfire.