Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Review: Angelfire

Synopsis: This debut, the first novel in a trilogy, is achingly romantic, terrifying, and filled with blistering action.

When seventeen-year-old Ellie starts seeing reapers - monstrous creatures who devour humans and send their souls to Hell - she finds herself on the front lines of a supernatural war between archangels and the Fallen and faced with the possible destruction of her soul.

A mysterious boy named Will reveals she is the reincarnation of an ancient warrior, the only one capable of wielding swords of angelfire to fight the reapers, and he is an immortal sworn to protect her in battle. Now that Ellie's powers have been awakened, a powerful reaper called Bastian has come forward to challenge her. He has employed a fierce assassin to eliminate her - an assassin who has already killed her once.

While balancing her dwindling social life and reaper-hunting duties, she and Will discover Bastian is searching for a dormant creature believed to be a true soul reaper. Bastian plans to use this weapon to ignite the End of Days and to destroy Ellie's soul, ending her rebirth cycle forever. Now, she must face an army of Bastian's most frightening reapers, prevent the soul reaper from consuming her soul, and uncover the secrets of her past lives - including truths that may be too frightening to remember.

My Review:  As soon as I stumbled across Angelfire on the world wide web I was immediately intrigued.  I love the kickass feminine heroine story, and Angelfire definitely sounded like it fit that requirement.  Plus well the amazing fan art for it?  Drool worthy!  I have to admit that was a huge part of why I wanted to read this book.  Art nerd, can’t be helped.  

The storyline, admittedly, sounded a bit cheesy.  Ya know a bit too super hero-ish, gotta save the world from evil creatures deal?  But hey, I was willing to over look the cliché storyline.  While Angelfire is another take on the classic good vs evil, heaven vs hell, story I’m glad the author threw in some new twists.  With all the angel stories lately (and my oh my are there a lot of them) it is increasingly getting harder to come up with some original ideas.  There is only so much angel lore to go off of, and to try to reinvent it into something new is very difficult.  What I really appreciated about Angelfire was the fact that it didn’t deal too heavily with angels and demons.  They were mentioned and were apart of the basic story, but they didn’t play a heavy role.  I thought the introduction of Reapers was very interesting.  They devour human souls and send them straight to Hell to build up Lucifer’s army for the second war against heaven.  Reapers, just like Angels and the Fallen, are two halves of the same coin.  There are the ones who fight for Heaven and those who fight for Hell.  While I did appreciate the unique story and the creativity that went into it, the execution just didn’t cut it for me.  Great ideas, the story just didn’t meet my expectations. 

There was a lot of queso, which is just my way of saying that it was cheesier than super nachos.  It was just attack after attack, Reaper after Reaper.  Eventually the whole creepy monster attacks got old.  I mean you can only hit us up with it so many times before it starts to loose its appeal.  Ellie’s supposed super hero strength and powers just got old as well.  There was little to no development of the actual plot.  While it moved in a vague direction to discovering this supposed Super Reaper, getting there wasn’t exciting, suspenseful or even intriguing.  It was blah.  I felt like the entire novel was a half assed attempt at having a kick-ass heroine trying to save the world.  I’m being harsh. I know I’m being harsh, ya know why?  Because I was severely disappointed.  Just another reason to not trust hype! While the plot was a total let down there were still a few admirable things about this novel.  

Ellie herself wasn’t that bad.  While I didn’t really connect with her she was still a tolerable MC. I was kind of surprised to discover that Ellie was kind of a girlie girl.  A girlie girl who cares about slutty Halloween costumes and the like.  Gotta say I don’t think I’d really be friends with Ellie in real life.  Though I didn’t really connect with her character, she still had admirable traits.  She was strong and determined in everything she did.  While she doesn’t remember her past lives, she’s firm in the belief that it is her destiny to rid the world of Reapers.  For most of the story I actually enjoyed her narrative.  I just wish that her actions reflected what an enjoyable character she was.  The kick ass persona just didn’t fit with her personality.   I guess the whole idea of it was that she was an unlikely heroine, but eh it just didn’t fit.  

I think the best aspect of this novel was Will.  Out of everything in this book I thought he was the most enjoyable aspect.  He is truly devoted to protecting Ellie.  Guardian angel is kind of the perfect description.  He’s tough, a killer fighter, and just an all around nice guy. Plus well the cool ass tattoo and huge ass sword is extremely hot.   When his feelings for Ellie start to move beyond just brotherly love, he knows that he’s getting into deep water.  It is his duty to protect her, nothing more and though he cares for Ellie he can’t risk letting his feelings get in the way of doing his duty.  He does what is right, but it just killed me inside.  The two of them are just incredibly cute together.  They click perfectly and are both devoted to the other.  They deserve a happy ending together, even if the story was crap. 

So while individual aspects of this novel were really enjoyable, the total execution just didn’t meet my expectations.  The author demonstrates great creativity in both the story and the characters, yet the plotline was cheesy beyond belief.  The pros and cons just cancel each other out for me, leaving me with no strong opinion on this book.  Will I read the next one?  Eh… I can’t really say, maybe out of simple curiosity.  Who knows?  The story could actually get better.  Kind of doubtful, but I might give it a shot.