Angelfire: I’m just not into you

Summary of Angelfire (From Goodreads): 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.

I know “hate” is a strong word, but I positively hate it when I can’t get into a book and end up not finishing it.  Unfortunately, I’ve been running across quite a few books in that category this year.  And since I’m not going to fully review them since I didn’t finish them, I think I’m going to post why I simply couldn’t get into them.

My alumni book club and I went to the launch party for Courtney Allison Moulton’s debut novel Angelfire.  She did a great job at the launch, we all bought books and had them signed, and agreed we’d read her book for book club.  We had a couple books lined up before hers, so we’re just now reading Angelfire for our next meeting.  I started reading it on Thursday or Friday (it’s been a busy week, so I can’t remember) and gave up yesterday.

Whenever I’m reading a book and feeling a little dicey about it, I try to give it at least 100 pages before I finally make up my mind.  I decided to stop at page 108.  Granted, this is a 453 page book, so maybe that’s not enough of a chance.  But let me explain it first.

The biggest problem I’m having is that it doesn’t feel like any kind of plot is being developed.  Ellie has discovered that she’s been reincarnated hundreds of times as a Preliator, or reaper killer.  She also knows that Will has been her Guardian for 500 or so years.  And after 108 pages, that’s it.  She fights and kills reapers.  So… What’s the point?  Why should I keep reading?  What’s her major problem besides realizing at 17 that she’s been reincarnated and has to kill reapers with the help of Will?  Maybe I’m missing the point, but how can I be 108 pages in and not really know where the story is going?  This explains the weird dreams she’s been having and that’s about it.  I need to feel like there’s more to the story to keep me reading.  I’m a teacher with tons of papers to grade and lessons to plan.  I’m a grad school student with intense classes and reading to complete.  I’m a blogger with other books on my shelf waiting to be read and reviewed.  I don’t want to sound mean, but I need a reason to keep reading a book.  And Angelfire simply wasn’t providing it 🙁

Besides the plot, I couldn’t get over the writing style.  It’s pretty choppy and there isn’t as much internal dialogue as I prefer from a first-person point of view.  I really don’t have a good feel for who Ellie is as a protagonist and I should by now.  And then there were the typos… I’m an English teacher and I can’t ignore them.  I know they happen (I make them in my posts too!), and I catch them pretty often.  A few here and there I can ignore and they don’t change my opinion of the book.  But I was left wondering how much attention this book received before it was published.

I have an extra copy of this book in my classroom already and a couple of students have read it and loved it.  I think that’s fantastic, because I know not everyone feels the way I do.  And I’m sure some of my boys who enjoy fantasy will like Angelfire because of the violent and bloody fight scenes.  So this book definitely has appeal, just not for me.

If you’ve read Angelfire, I’d love to know what you think.  Does it get better soon?  If so, let me know and maybe I’ll give it another chance this summer.  If you feel the same way, I’d like to know that too.


  1. I really enjoyed the story…Things start to get crazy and I was surprised by the ending. I did see other people who felt similarly to you as well! It’s too bad not every book is for every person.

  2. What I like about this post – the honesty. Good for you (and good for your readers)!

    • Mrs. Andersen says:

      Thanks 🙂 I always get a bit nervous when I write something negative about a book, but it needed to be said.

  3. I’m with you Sarah — HATE when I can’t get in a book. I’m struggling with one right now–an adult book that’s been very well reviewed, and that my book club is discussing next week. I want to love it, but the best I can do is appreciate the research and the very nice writing. But that’s okay–because there will be someone in my group who will think it’s the best book ever.

  4. You know, EVERYONE I’d heard talk about this book RAVED about it. And then I read it and thought it was very, VERY meh. I had some major issues with the world building & didn’t see how the MC was supposed to be hard core & kick-a when she’s completely insecure unless the boyfriend who is a non-boyfriend was around…

    I’ve come across a few others now who didn’t really like it, but for a while I was like, Umm… Am I REALLY the only one?!?! 😛

    • Mrs. Andersen says:

      Once I posted this on Goodreads I found more people who felt the same way. It’s really disappointing that I didn’t like it because I really wanted to. Oh well.

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