Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton (NY: HarperCollins, 2011).
Ellie leads a carefree, privileged life in suburban Detroit until she starts having horrifying nightmares of brutal, dark creatures whom she must fight off with her magical, flame-spouting Khopesh blades. She's sure the dreams reflect nothing more than the stress of the start of her senior year in high school until she meets Will, who claims to be her Guardian, and the nightmares enter her waking world. During their training sessions, Will slowly reveals her role as something called a preliator who can kill these dark creatures, called reapers, that kill humans and carry their souls to hell so they can fight in Lucifer's army at the Apocalypse. Ellie resists her destiny, but ultimately has to believe that she must fight for humanity--and for her own mortal soul when an evil being named Bastion plots to kill her with the newly rediscovered Enoshi--the ultimate reaper.
On the plus side, Moulton has crafted a novel that's full of nonstop action as the brutish reapers pop up all the time and Ellie has to battle them. Blood, guts, gore, bashed cars, destroyed buildings, and shredded clothing regularly embellish the plot. Also, the romance between Ellie and Will develops as naturally and pleasantly as the monster killing allows. On the minus side, the angel mythology is unnecessarily complicated and difficult to follow with far too many levels of hierarchy given in more detail than necessary, and then ultimately altered with new developments. Ellie comes off as pretty dense for whatever she is--archangel? ninja monster destroyer? fire-summoning, blade-wielding killer? spoiled rich girl? Her mother and father are little more than types--distant and unobservant, though kind and caring mom, and emotionally abusive, workaholic dad (who has "changed"--though this is never explained but obviously something that will become pivotal in the next installment).
Not a bad read, but not overwhelmingly awesome. Recommended for ages 14 & up (though younger readers will no doubt find and enjoy it) due to violence, sexual situations, language, and alcohol/drugs.
#MiddleGradeMay: Ghost Boys - You guys. This book. My heart. I just... This is one not to miss if you've got kids asking questions about social justice or things they've heard (or seen ...
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