Author: Courtney Allison Moulton
Pub Date: February 15, 2011
Format: Galley via NetGalley
In the first book of Courtney Allison Moulton's Angelfire trilogy, we're introduced to Ellie, a seemingly normal high school girl who is struggling with her classes, her relationship with her father (whom I've decided is pure evil), and her intensely vivid nightmares. But other than that, her life is pretty normal--she has friends, she goes to parties, and she loves to shop. Then she meets Will, the mysterious and gorgeous new guy in town. As she keeps running into him, she can't shake the feeling that she knows him.
Then, on the night of her seventeenth birthday, all of Ellie's nightmares come to life when she goes for a midnight stroll. Will activates her powers and her sight of The Grim plane, and she is thrust into a world of killing demonic reapers, creatures that kill humans and send their souls to Hell.
The basic premise is very Buffy--girl is chosen, girl's powers are activated, girl struggles to hone her powers, girl is awesome. But where Ellie differs from Buffy is that she will always exist--not that she can't be killed, but that her soul is reincarnated every time she is killed, and Will always finds her to awaken her powers on her seventeenth birthday. But Will expects Ellie to just remember how to fight and kill the reapers and sundry other demons, as well as the history of her past lives. Unfortunately for Ellie, and for Will, her memory is not intact, and the lack of it turns out to be problematic.
Which brings us to darling, sweet, amazing Will, who is (get ready for Buffy references!) Giles and Angel all rolled into one yummy character--he is Ellie's intensely loyal guardian who also happens to be in love with her, despite the fact that he is forbidden to be in love with her, which makes for some deliciously angsty moments between the two of them. But Will isn't an entirely glum character--though he can be super brooding, he can also be pretty funny and is seriously sexy.
When Will and Ellie find out that Bastian, this trilogy's big bad, is trying to find the Enshi, a super ancient evil something-or-other than can destroy souls, the two of them take it upon themselves to find it and destroy it before Bastian gets ahold of it. Which creates A LOT of demon drama.
The book is primarily centered around the balance of good and evil. The supernatural characters in this series are sprung from either Heavenly angels or Fallen angels, and the divide between Heaven and Hell is discussed often. However, the book doesn't take itself too seriously--there are several teenage parties, including one of the most kick-ass sounding Halloween parties ever, and the dialogue is witty and believably teenaged. It's a fun read, and if you like Buffy and The Mortal Instruments, then this is a book you'll definitely enjoy.