Thursday, December 12, 2013

Review: Angelfire (Angelfire, #1)

Angelfire (Angelfire, #1)Author: Courtney Allison Moulton
Series: Angelfire, #1
Published: February 15th 2011
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Format: Hardcover, 453 pages
Buy: The Book Depository

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.
Take all the YA paranormal tropes you can think of, mix in four or five archetypal characters and a few utterly unimportant ones, put them all in one place, shake (but don’t stir!), add two olives (the olives are obviously for me), and what you’ll end up with is Angelfire. Or Wicked Lovely, or Hush Hush, or you know… something to that effect.

To even suggest that Moulton came up with something new in her debut would be ridiculous, but to claim that I didn’t enjoy it to a certain extent regardless would be also be a blatant lie, so I won’t bother. Angelfire follows the usual Young Adult paranormal storyline to the letter, without deviations of any kind, but sometimes, that comforting and familiar pattern is exactly what my brain needs.

A girl finds out that she’s special and her powers awaken on her birthday. She is told about her true nature by a mysterious, gorgeous boy who, for some inexplicable reason seems utterly devoted to her. No matter how hard she tries, she can’t chase the boy, or the truth he brings with him, away. She soon develops feelings for the boy and he clearly has feelings for her, but he is determined not to touch her, out of sheer nobility, of course. They fight together, they’re willing to die for each other, but apparently kissing is over the line.

And yet, what troubled me about Angelfire wasn’t the familiar storyline, it was the main character, Ellie. While I understand that 17-year-old girls aren’t known for their altruism, she struck me as particularly self-centered as selfish, especially in her relationship with her Guardian, Will. She was always asking more of him, small but potentially painful things, without once stopping to consider how they might affect him.

For his part, Will took the mysterious, brooding, yet self-sacrificing hero to a whole new level. His never-ending lines about protecting Ellie at all costs, doing whatever she tells him to, going wherever she decides quickly turned from protective and romantic to pathetic and a bit creepy.

It would be easy to point out all the negatives and stop there, but Angelfire isn’t without its advantages. Moulton is, technically speaking, a pretty decent writer and her sense of pacing is excellent. Even though I guessed two big mysteries pretty early on, the fact remains that she knows how to build up tension.

While this type of books isn’t for me, at least not anymore, Angelfire is a pretty good choice for readers who occasionally crave a new version of the same paranormal YA story. I must have read one too many myself, but I know plenty of people who still enjoy them, and I envy them for it just a little bit.


  1. I definitely envy readers who can enjoy just about anything, unlike me who has become far too cynical to really love a book lately. I read this back when it released and couldn't bring myself to finish it precisely because of its familiarity and heroine. I can't say I'm surprised it didn't work for you, Maja, but I do hope your next read is far more satisfying. :)

  2. I liked this one because it was more urban fantasy-ish than the others I'd read at the time but I definitely agree that it was like a typical plotline with very little deviation. And Ellie was quite selfishly annoying.

  3. Ick, you make me glad I didn't pick this one up yet and I have thoughts about it a time or two. I think I will hold off on starting this series if ever. I just have a real love hate thing going with these type of books.
    Wonderful honest review Maja!

  4. I pretty much hated everything about this novel, especially the MC and the familiarity of the story. However, I picked up the second book on a whim from the library and it was...decent.

  5. Awwww sorry this one wasn't for you Maja! I read this back when I started the blog, and I agree, it is a pretty conventional YA read, so I wonder if I would have a different reaction to it now having read so many books in the interim. I can't remember much of my reaction to this one other than I liked it overall, and I'm glad that despite the problems you had with it, you enjoyed it to an extent:)

  6. I hated this book. It was a poor rip off of Buffy that it was laughable and the heroine was TSTL. I'm glad that I didn't bother with this series after suffering through book 1.

  7. A new version of the same old maybe not for me then

  8. I had this on my TBR for a while but I was debating taking it off, cause it just sounded like one more, similar to many others. And your review has reinformed my idea, so I'll probably take it off my list.
    Thank you for the great honest review!

  9. Sorry you didn't enjoy this so much. I have a copy of this sitting on my shelf that I need to read. I'm really curious about the book. Great review and thanks for the honest opinion :)

    Janina @ Synchronized Reading

  10. I love your review! You know what? I was sure it was a second book, I don't know why. It's difficult I think to have original stories now and it's for that we love them even more when we find some.

  11. I enjoyed when it first came out, but the sequels were less so because I had read it already

  12. I'd not heard of this one and looks like I'll be skipping it :-( I wish more books didn't fall into the traps this one seemed to fall in. Bummer it wasn't better for your. I see you are listening to The Naturals--are you enjoying it? great honest review!

  13. Yea... the selfishness might bother me if it is just way too much. I can handle that in a villain... Hm... I've seen mixed reviews on this one and have gone back and forth about if I want to read it. I think you have pushed it back from that fence.

  14. I remember wanting to read this back in the day but I read some negative things on the main character and I shelved it. Now I would be like you, it would be the same old same old. I think I am glad I passed.

  15. I have this one on my want list, but haven't got to picking it up yet. So many books to read. *sigh*

  16. I read an ARC of this before it came out and was rather disappointed. It really didn't seem to deliver anything new and I felt no connection to anything really. But it seems like some people just RAVE about this series and I never really got it. Sorry you didn't like it more but I totally understand!

  17. I haven't bothered reading this series, Maja, because I got the feeling that it wouldn't offer anything new. It seems like I was right. I also don't like the sound of the MC; I hate when characters are continually inconsiderate of others.

  18. I read this book ages ago, when there were less of these formulaic paranormal YA books out there, and still it felt familiar because it was already in crowded company. Ellie grew on me more as the series progressed, but I think if I read it for the first time now I might DNF. Sorry this didn't work for you, but I completely understand! Thank you for your honest and beautifully written review!

  19. aww shoot.. I was looking at this one the other day wondering if I would like it. Not sure how much the storyline would bother me since I honestly have not read a lot of YA Paranormal yet, so huh..who knows.


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