Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Wings of the Wicked by Courtney Allison Moulton
January 31, 2012; HarperCollins / Katherine Tegen Books
Life as the Preliator is harder than Ellie ever imagined. Balancing real life with the responsibility of being Heaven’s warrior is a challenge for Ellie. Her relationship with Will has become all business, though they both long for each other. And now that the secret of who she really is has come out, so have Hell’s strongest reapers. Grown bold and more vicious, the demonic threaten her in the light of day and stalk her in the night.
She’s been warned. Cadan, a demonic reaper, comes to her with information about Bastian’s new plan to destroy Ellie’s soul and use an ancient relic to wake all the souls of the damned and unleash them upon humanity. As she fights to stay ahead of Bastian’s schemes , the revelations about those closest to her awaken a dark power within Ellie that threatens to destroy everything—including herself.
She’ll be betrayed. Treachery comes even from those whom she loves, and Ellie is broken by the deaths of those who stood beside her in this Heavenly war. Still, she must find a way to save the world, herself, and her love for Will. If she fails, there will be hell to pay.(courtesy of Goodreads)
Second books are typically place holders. They clear up a few things from the first book, introduce a few new complications that will be resolved in the third book (often a competing love interest), and have somewhat of a plot. They generally disappoint. Wings of the Wicked is one of the few second books that outdid the first book in the series.
I was reluctant to read Wings of the Wicked at first. I enjoyed Angelfire, but there were numerous things that I disliked about it. All those elements were still present in Wings of the Wicked. I started out not enjoying the book all that much.
My problems with the book/series? First off, I don't like angels/demons. Ironically, they are the paranormal creature that I have the most difficult time believing in. Ms. Moulton has created an interesting set of demons in this series and I like the idea of a super-powerful Preliator who lives again and again to fight evil creatures. However, whenever these demonic reapers open their mouths, their words make me laugh rather than quake in fear - at them, not with them. Ellie's fighting dialogue is just as bad. It's much harder to take paranormal creatures seriously when you spend much of the book rolling your eyes at them.
I also think that Ellie is immature in many ways. She spends much of her free time hanging out with her friends and partying. Pretty typical teenager, but she does this at the expense of fight training of hunting for demonic reapers. Part of my applauds her for maintaining balance in her life. It shows that she has a strong sense of self unlike many girls involved in paranormal novels who throw their former lives away. But the other part of me sees her as naive and irresponsible. Damned if you do, damned if you don't I suppose.
Onto what I liked about the novel. The action is fantastic. If you ignore the dialogue, there are many great fight scenes. I love how Ellie is in the middle of all the fighting and the strongest, most powerful person around - far outstripping the boys. Girl power! The action is very well written. The sword and hand-to-hand combat is described in vivid detail and Ms. Moulton knows just how to structure a scene so that the suspense peaks at the perfect time. The book flows very well, mixing character development and action scenes. It allows you to quickly read a 500+ page novel, because the pages speed by.
As I expected, Wings of the Wicked takes care of several plot holes leftover from the first book. One in particular wasn't a big surprise, but how it was handled was shocking. That's what I liked most about this book. Ms. Moulton wasn't afraid to take the plot in directions that I never expected. She was ruthless with her characters. The book started out plodding along in typical second book fashion and then...BOOM! By the middle of the book, any skepticism about the second bookishness of Wings of the Wicked disappeared. Then I held on for a wild ride.
Will continues to be a kind, loyal leading man. He's a little boring at times. So serious and focused. But he did manage to forget himself often enough to bring about some fabulous, hot kissing scenes. Thankfully, we see a lot more of Nathaniel, who was my favorite character from the first book. He's so kind, smart, and funny. He was a great big brother type figure for Will and even Ellie. Cadan is a new character - a demonic reaper who is actually trying to help Ellie. Or is he? Ellie and the reader puzzle over his motives and whether he is being truthful. He is the bad-boy, sexy, dangerous types that I always fall for in paranormal novels. But fear not...there's not a love triangle per se. Mostly a charged partnership.
The Angelfire series is not perfect, but Wings of the Wicked made my attachment for the series grow. I'm still not the biggest fan of the characters or the paranormal element, but the plot is so fantastic that I definitely recommend it. If you like books that take you on a wild ride in directions you never expected, you must pick up Wings of the Wicked.