Author: Christina Bauer
Series: Angelbound, #1
Published: December 17th 2013
Publisher: Ink Monster LLC
Format: ebook, 532 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Eighteen year old Myla Lewis is a girl who loves two things: kicking ass and kicking ass. She’s not your every day quasi-demon, half-demon and half-human, girl. For the past five years, Myla has lived for the days she gets to fight in Purgatory’s arena. When souls want a trial by combat for their right to enter heaven or hell, they go up against her, and she hasn’t lost a battle yet.But as she starts her senior year at Purgatory High, the arena fights aren’t enough to keep her spirits up anymore. When the demons start to act weird, even for demons, and the King of the Demons, Armageddon, shows up at Myla’s school, she knows that things are changing and it’s not looking good for the quasi-demons. Myla starts to question everything, and doesn’t like the answers she finds. What happened seventeen years ago that turned the quasi-demons into slave labor? Why was her mom always so sad? And why won’t anyone tell her who her father is? Things heat up when Myla meets Lincoln, the High Prince of the Thrax, a super sexy half-human and half-angel demon hunter. But what’s a quasi-demon girl to do when she falls for a demon hunter? It’s a good thing that Myla’s not afraid of breaking a few rules. With a love worth fighting for, Myla’s going to shake up Purgatory.
Every once in a while, I read a book that has no ratings or reviews by people I trust, hoping to discover a hidden gem. And every once in a while, though not as often as I’d like, I actually succeed (which, I freely admit, happens to be very good for my ego). Angelbound is one of those gems I’m thrilled to have discovered. I picked it up on Netgalley not expecting much at all and I ended up reading it in one sitting. This YA paranormal fantasy is cute, compulsively readable and above all fun.
Myla is a quasi-demon – a half demon, half human 17-year-old girl enslaved by ghouls in the Purgatory. She did nothing wrong to end up there; her species used to rule the realm until Armageddon, the King of Hell, allied himself with the ghouls and helped them in their rise to power. Aside from going to school where she learns all about being a good slave to the ghouls, Myla fights in the Arena against souls that choose trial by combat in their afterlife. Her opponents are always the most wicked of souls and it’s Myla’s job to make sure they don’t win against her, thus earning a one-way ticket to Heaven. Luckily for everyone, Myla is very good at what she does.
Myla is a magnificent heroine, fierce and outspoken, hilarious and mischievous, and yet compassionate and mature when the need arises. As fascinated as I was by the worldbuilding, it was Myla who turned this book into something memorable. This girl never faltered, she fought back with a healthy dose of humor and an arrogance I would probably hate in anyone else. I do love a girl who knows her strengths. And did I mention that her demon tail is sentient? Best. Sidekick. Ever.
When Lincoln, the High Prince of the Thrax first appeared, I disliked him so intensely, I didn’t think there was any hope for his character. But only a boy equally skilled and equally arrogant could ever hold Myla’s interest for a longer period of time, and the prophecies soon proved true – they were indeed perfectly matched. What started as an awfully antagonistic relationship, ended up being one of the sweetest, drama-free romances I’ve come across in a very long time. Don’t you just love it when couples present a unified front in all things?
Ah, but here’s the real treat: Bauer took the very basic Heaven-and-Hell outline and then built upon it, creating five realms with rich history, each ruled by a different race. Usually, the word ‘angel’ on the cover of any book is enough to make me shudder, but thankfully, I didn’t let my prejudice stop me from requesting this, and thank Heavens for that!
The secondary characters, with the unfortunate exception of Myla’s best friend Cissy, are all very lovable and interesting. I could have done without the focus on Cissy and her love life in the first half, but when Myla and Lincoln took center stage, the annoyance was quickly forgotten. As far as narrative techniques go, I’m usually not a fan of flashbacks, but these dreamscapes in which Myla discovered the truth about her mother’s past were perfectly timed and reasonably short, so I found myself enjoying them despite myself.
Fans of interesting worldbuilding, fans of romance, fans of kickass heroines, fans of great fight scenes, fans of all of the above… I believe you’ll all find plenty to love about Angelbound. Although it ends cleanly and beautifully, I can’t wait for the release of Scala in May 2014.
A copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher for review purposes. No considerations, monetary or otherwise, have influenced the opinions expressed in this review.