Sunday, January 6, 2013

Shadows in the Silence

Author: Courtney Allison Moulton
Author's Website:
Publisher: Katherine Tegen (HarperCollins)
Release Date: January 29, 2013
Genre: YA Paranormal
Series: Angelfire #3
Source: ARC from Publisher

Ellie knows her darkest moments as Preliator are still to come, and she has everything to fight for. She must fight for Will, fight for humanity, and fight to save herself. When she must assume her full glory as the archangel Gabriel, Ellie's humanity withers beneath the weight of her cold power, and she must hold tight to who she is and whom she loves as she prepares for the ultimate battle for Heaven and Earth.

I'm a little reluctant to review this book. I have very mixed feelings about it. To start with, I fell in love with the characters throughout the first two books, and I was highly anticipating the final installment. What I loved about the first two books was the lightning pace, the way everything always seemed extremely urgent, even during downtimes, and the sizzling romance and oh-so-real relationship between Ellie and Will. In this book, though, I felt like those areas were a little lacking. 

The book opens with Ellie and Cadan traveling to find a cure for Will, who was poisoned during a fight. The first few scenes are mostly Ellie and Cadan talking. Aside from being a divergence from the pacing of the other books, when conversation happened amid action, not in place of it, these opening scenes also use tactics to explain what happened up until now, to get the reader back in the story, and these tactics slow things down considerably. I didn't fully remember the whole story, but I picked up pieces as I read, and I wish the author hadn't felt the need to recap the important points upfront. With the precedent set by the first two books, I expected to just jump in, and I didn't get that. The rest of the book is like a start-and-stop. There are just too many slow parts where I was itching for things to happen - they spend a lot of time in planning instead of acting.

Ellie and Will's relationship is for the most part satisfying in keeping with the tone of the other books. All the relationships, especially Ellie and Cadan's, are fully explored and realistic. But Will seems to have stagnated in this book, going over the same issues again and again. The main point of their relationship in this book is that it shouldn't have happened, and it feels kind of belabored at times.

The part that is completely in keeping with the first two books is the action scenes - they're just as heartstopping, just as thrilling. When things are happening, they happen!! The reapers are just as disgusting, just as vicious, and the sacrifices the good guys have to make, the people and reapers they lose, are heartbreaking. I liked that there is a hierarchy of evilness and ferocity, that the reapers take less time to fight than Sammael and Lilith, whose fights last for a few terrifying pages.

But. I did not like the end at all. I didn't feel like everything was resolved in regard to Heaven, which may be because it's meant to be a bit open-ended - another war could rise at any time because there are still other creatures in Hell. But when we're talking about angels serving God and Fallen rebelling against God - where is God? I liked that the story steered clear of sticking to any specific religion (though following the Judeo-Christian story), but some mention of God, not necessarily his appearing as a character but just something... And then the way Ellie and Will's relationship ends felt completely tacked on. That last bit could have been left off, and in my opinion, the series would still be worth it. I know that the majority of readers want a happy ending, and ending before that scene would have brought the wrath of readers on Courtney's head, but still - it felt like a quick response to anticipated readers' reactions.

So basically, I love the series, and I probably will read Angelfire and Wings of the Wicked numerous times, but I'll leave off Shadows in the Silence

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