Abby's Reviews > Angelfire

Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton
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it was ok

OKAY. First things first. I have mixed feelings about this book, and I haven't even finished reading it yet--I'm past 300 pages though--but having been curious about what other people thought of it, I looked up reviews here in Goodreads and bam. I wasn't alone.

I expected to like this book because my bestfriend, who's a reader like me, lent me the book and said it was really action-packed and that I should give it a shot. And I respect my bestfriend and her feedback a lot, so don't get me wrong on that. This is just my personal opinion on Miss Moulton's debut novel. To be quite honest, even, the only angel series I've read before was the Hush, Hush series by Fitzpatrick, and I would prefer not to comment on that. But with Angelfire--oh, dear, I didn't expect to be disappointed! I do not really know if I'm biased, or what, since I am writing a novel about angels myself. But it's not like I didn't find good points in Angelfire--it's just that there are a lot of things that kind of annoyed me.

I have to admit that the first few pages caught me--actually, Mr. Meyer's death did. The murder of the teacher was a surprising but nice timing for a heart-stopping moment (especially since the opening of the novel, where Ellie is in school, bored in economics class, gets a paper that she "Ughs," about, is mediocre). I gave a few more pages some chances, and I noticed the same thing the other reviewers who gave one-star and two-star reviews noticed.

I'll start off with the characters. Ellie was okay at first, you know? At the first few pages, to be exact. She didn't tan like her obviously average teenager of a bestfriend Kate, and she was okay with the paleness, and you'd think she wasn't too much into boys, but later on when Will comes in, bingo. He's all over her mind. She obviously comes from a well-off family, and she has a nice group of friends who love her to bits and whom she goes out with at typical group dates, and she's okay at school. She's not popular, but she gets invited to parties and is okay-ish with the popular girls (and I am speaking of Josie, who, thankfully, Moulton didn't create a mean girl out of. We've had so much of that). She can have parties in her house, go to overnights whenever, and she basically has everything a girl of her age would want. BUT--I'll be straight to the point--I thought she was quite childish. I've seen much more devastated seventeen-year-olds before to appreciate Ellie's stuff. I actually think lack of fatherly love was the problem thrown in by Moulton in this character just so she would be flawed (and please let me do a little complain here. "Moron" does not even get a mile close to the extreme cursing of other parents to the child I've read before). But, oh, no. Ellie gets all the friends, parties, boys and this special reputation in the paranormal world. I mean, she's obviously got to be the main thing happening whether in Earth or in the Grim, isn't she? Plus, the fact that she's the Preliator--I mean, we'd have to expect all this awesome strength and power from her--but goodness, no. Moulton makes it sound like the Preliator is so extremely powerful, so extremely skilled, so extremely everything, and yet Ellie gets a protector, who, I believe, pops up in every fight scene and basically wards off all the demonic reapers from Ellie. Seriously, I expected a development in Ellie's character. Moulton was throwing in all these fights, whether it was a practice with Will or a real battle with a reaper--and yet, Ellie hasn't fully mastered her power. Ellie would've as good as thrown a sword right into a reaper's chest and ducked behind Will. I do not know if this is caused by the "slow" coming back of Ellie's Preliator-ness, which is mentioned in the book, but man, the girl just isn't catching up.

Second thing is Will. Will's character for me, to be honest, is actually okay. He doesn't bother me so much--well, probably because he's a little blunt. But the way Moulton just reiterates Will's beauty or hotness or sexyness--I mean, even at the first two descriptions about him, it's clear as crystal. I myself appreciate how hot Will is (especially after seeing the drawn Will on Moulton's website) but she doesn't have to go on about how drop-dead-sexy he is--we already get it. Besides, it's already expected that Will has to be hot. Many YA novels have to have decent-looking guys. She could have given Will's description a shot or two and her readers would still get it. True, there are times when you have to insert a scene when the main character takes in how beautiful his or her love interest is--yes, there ARE scenes like that, and usually at moments when the main character's full focus is on his or her love interest--but, you don't have to do it, like, every chapter. Which leads us back to Ellie. She's always fantasizing over Will, and it's obvious that Will likes her too, but Moulton is just holding back from that, you know? Which makes me wonder if she's trying not to do an early, official romance between the two. But it's already so obvious that I wanted to say, "It's fine, Miss Moulton, you can make Will's and Ellie's feelings about each other official after 200 pages, and your novel still won't be Twilight-ish. Maybe I'd even be less bothered with that. Angelfire is Angelfire." But Moulton just didn't. Is this a tease, or what?

I also feel sorry for Landon. I respect Ellie for not "leading him on" to avoid hurting him, but really, it's like, Landon's a ball not wanted and when he and Kate makes out, there it is. He's thrown to the bestfriend who likes him. This is seriously a filler of a character, right?

Looking into Ragnuk's character, geez. I hoped that at the least Moulton got the villain right, but Ragnuk's lines were just--what, something you'd hear in Courage the Cowardly Dog? Scooby-Doo? He's always saying something like, "I'm going to eat you now, Preliator!" and trying to discourage Ellie by saying she's "helpless", but at the same time doing something like, "Come and get me, Preliator!" I mean, seriously.

I also am not favorable of the Q-and-A style of weaving the information in the reader's mind. She could have written it in another way. It's not just the times when Ellie asks, "Why is it that ?" and Will goes, "Well, that's because ." The dialogue between Ellie and the demonic reapers, Ellie and her friends, Ellie and Will, and practically the whole book's dialogues, are poorly done, I must say. Miss Moulton will have to practice this some more. I believe she really can.

I'd also like to comment on the brand-mentioning. It's not that I find it wrong, but I do find it inappropriate. I mean, seriously? Louis Vuitton? Marc Jacobs? Chanel? Girls like Blair and Serena would have easily pulled that off because the story calls for it! Blair and Serena are situated in New York, go to extremely prestigious schools and are elites. Brands have to be present and sound perfectly okay in the books. But Ellie and Kate--I don't know, I just don't think they can pull it off as easily. Are brands really so necessary in the story? Did their privileges really have to be established like that? Because, to be quite honest, I am looking for much more of a 'character' in Ellie. I don't think we'd appreciate a Mary Sue, god. No decent reader would. I repeat: I've read much better, deeper main characters, and Ellie is made too lightly--too perfectly, even. Also, Moulton did NOT execute first person point of view well. A third person POV would've fit the novel better than a first person POV. Moulton needs to work on giving Ellie a much more intriguing, captivating voice if she's going to push through with a first person POV.

The way the story went is also quite dragging, but this does NOT have to be confused with the plot. The plot is PROMISING, it's interesting (and whoa. Even before having read Angelfire, I've had a few concepts that I later on discovered I shared with Moulton's), and I like it. But the way the story goes like "sparring with Will-Oh, there's a reaper!-now that's over, let's party somewhere!" plus the extra information Ellie says about school--it's practically like a daily diary with repetitive entries. I wish Moulton gave this plot a mountain instead of an endless, flat grass field, if you know what I mean. This pretty much sums up that Moulton's writing has still a long, long way to go. The book has potential, and you really can see it, but the dialogues, the descriptions, the way Ellie talks and acts--more revising and editing can do the concept of the story justice and wonder, honestly. It really could've been better, and I think many readers would agree. You can really see the possibility. It's just not that ready to be astounding, you know? There are so many excuses, so many fillers, that the book would've been so much better had these things been removed.

But of course, I've also got positive feedback in mind. I like the way Moulton does her fight scenes--it's like, there are no girls for reapers--though the underlying reason may be because reapers are faced with the Preliator herself. Moulton did execute her love of martial arts in fight scenes nicely, you can see that. She's also nice for including angel myth in it--although, there are good points made by Kira (that one which got 30 plus likes and all) about that portion. Plus, at least, here, the strengths of a woman are emphasized--though, if we examine Ellie (once again), it's a little too overboard and, well, not portrayed in just the right tone.

I will still give the sequel to this a read, though, and see how Moulton will take on that.

PS. I scanned the last few pages in desperation to finish the book already, and concluded that the book damn needs editing. I honestly hoped that it would somehow justify itself in the last few pages, but it didn't. Honestly. It's getting annoying how there are a lot of information that isn't even a step close to sensible, nor related, to the story, and how most things Ellie asks can be answered by common sense. I, however, enjoyed it when she called Will a "coward" because he is, in truth, a coward. And towards the end of the book, where Michael appears to Ellie and says that she is Gabriel, that pushed me over. I mean, no offense intended, but Moulton can't even show me how much of a Preliator Ellie is, and now she's Gabriel?! *Insert MARY SUE, MARY SUE, MARY SUE here. Again.* Somehow, the author sounds (to me, at least), that she isn't even quite sure where she wanted to take all the elements in her story to. I don't know, but I hope Miss Moulton knew how to take her story and characters better, and did not write what seemed like a combined reflection of all the TV shows and video games she watched and played. A novel, in all obviousness, is entirely different, and Miss Moulton, in the name of all the angels, needs to redeem her own. I will seriously give the second book a chance. Up to page 300. Plus the last ten pages. My word on that.

PS II. Please don't hate on me. This is the first book that I ever actually reviewed, and I really want to like Angelfire, but I just. Can't. Not now. I am very much hoping that Wings of the Wicked will save this.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
August 24, 2011 – Shelved

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