Wings of the Wicked

Spoiler alert!  This post will be all about Wings of the Wicked, the second book in Courtney Allison Moulton’s Angelfire series.  If you haven’t read Angelfire yet, get thee to a library or bookstore and start reading!  (If, like me, it’s been a while since you read Angelfire, it’s probably a good idea to reread a bit—particularly the last couple of chapters—to refresh your memory.)

Wings of the Wicked has been on my to-read list for quite some time.  This weekend, I finally made the time to settle in and immerse myself in this story.  I call it a weekend well spent.  The story, like the one in Angelfire, was totally captivating and had me jumping at every little noise, particularly when I was reading at night.  (You can’t be raised as a Southern Baptist and not have a little fear when it comes to reading about demons gaining power and trying to bring about the end of the world.)  This book is chock-full of action, adventure, tension, romance, and grief.  It’s not for the faint of heart, and it packs quite the emotional wallop.

In Wings of the Wicked, Ellie continues to struggle with the knowledge of who she really is—the Preliator, or the human reincarnation of the archangel Gabriel.  She spends her days trying to live as a normal seventeen-year-old:  high school, college applications, parties, friends, parents, etc.  Her nights, however, are devoted to hunting demonic reapers, beings sent from the depths of hell to destroy her.  She fights alongside Will, an angelic reaper who has been her Guardian for quite some time.  He may also be the love of her life, however long that might be.  Their love for each other is strictly forbidden, but they may not be able to help themselves.  Distancing themselves from each other puts them both at risk, and, with war coming between demons and angels, Ellie and Will need each other more than ever.

When Ellie become the target of reapers who wish to capture her, it becomes apparent that the forces of evil have some larger purpose for her.  What could they want with her?  Why do they want her alive?  As Ellie, Will, and a few allies seek the answers to these questions, the attacks on Ellie and company continue.  Ellie is exhausted and sick of lying to her family and friends—even if it’s for their own protection.  She is growing tired of constantly living in two worlds.  Her mind wars with the desire to be a normal teenager and the knowledge that she is Gabriel, and the world’s ultimate salvation may depend on her.  When her oh-so-complicated feelings for Will are piled on top of everything, Ellie is a girl on the edge, and it won’t take much to push her over.

Unfortunately, that push over the edge arrives all too soon, and Ellie is left with feelings of betrayal, anger, and grief.  She doesn’t know where to turn, and she doesn’t know if she’s ready for what’s expected of her.  Feeling all alone, Ellie retreats into herself, shuts out nearly everyone, and places the blame for everything that’s happened on her all-too-human shoulders. 

But the war wages on, and Ellie must fight.  It’s up to her to stop the unspeakable evil that is about to be unleashed on the world.  She needs all the help she can get—and she finds assistance in some unexpected places—if she plans to save the world and everyone in it, including Will, the one who holds her heart.  Will it be enough?  Or will Ellie lose more than she ever thought possible?  Just how much is she willing to sacrifice to stop a holy war?  Find out when you read Wings of the Wicked by Courtney Allison Moulton.

If you liked Angelfire, I think you’ll enjoy Wings of the Wicked even more.  (I did.)  Even as I was eager to turn each page, I was also scared of what each page would bring.  I knew the characters were in for quite a battle, but I was unprepared for everything they had to face.  I know the next book will be just as anxiety-inducing, and, quite frankly, I can’t wait.  I’m hoping against hope that everything works out for Ellie and Will.  (Given the way Wings of the Wicked ended, that hope is very fragile.)  I also have high hopes for a couple of the secondary characters (like Cadan), and I really pray that I’m not disappointed.  Sadly, I’ll have to wait until sometime next year to find out what happens.  The third book in this trilogy is set to be released sometime in 2013.

For more on the Angelfire trilogy and author Courtney Allison Moulton, visit http://www.courtneyallisonmoulton.com/.  You can also follow the author on Twitter @CAMoulton.

You may also want to check out this creepily awesome book trailer for Wings of the Wicked.  It made me want to go back and read the book again!

Living Violet

I don’t know about you, but it’s rare for me to find supernatural books for teens that deviate from the standard middle-class, thin, perfect, white-girl heroine.  Maybe I’m not looking in the right places, but my latest read, an ARC I received recently, found it’s way to me, and it provided a somewhat refreshing change from the typical paranormal romance.  The girl in Living Violet, the first book in The Cambion Chronicles by Jaime Reed, is a tough, no-nonsense, biracial girl who is careful with her heart and won’t give it away easily to anyone.  At least, not yet…

Samara is not like most of the girls around her. She respects her parents (most of the time, anyway), she’s a loyal friend, she expects people to accept her just as she is, she’s a hard worker…and she isn’t drooling over Caleb, the mysterious guy with the violet eyes who works with her at Buncha Books. Caleb’s not even all that hot, but he can’t keep the women off of him. Samara gets that his eyes may be kind of cool, but girls don’t usually go stark-raving mad because a guy has pretty eyes. What is it about him? And why has he suddenly decided that chasing Samara, the one girl who can resist him, is a great idea?

Soon, Samara’s curiosity gets the best of her, and she and Caleb strike up an unlikely friendship.  Samara is driven by her need to know more about the enigma that is Caleb…particularly why the girls he “cavorts” with tend to end up in the hospital with heart failure.  As Caleb slowly reveals his secrets to Samara, she is both repulsed and intrigued. 

Samara wants to know more about Caleb’s “condition” and how she can possibly help him fight the demon within.  Will she be able to help him without losing herself?  When someone from Caleb’s past enters the picture and threatens everything and everyone Samara holds dear, will Samara and Caleb, who are just figuring out their feelings for each other, be strong enough to fight something determined to tear them apart?  Read Living Violet, the first book in Jaime Reed’s Cambion Chronicles, to find out!

Living Violet is a nice first book in what promises to be an interesting series.  This was a fairly quick read that will appeal to females, especially those who don’t really feel represented in standard YA paranormal fiction.  A biracial girl living in the South has very different experiences than, say, a pasty white girl who moves to Washington.  (This is coming from a pasty white girl who lives in the South.)  

Since I received an uncorrected proof of this book, there were some glaring grammatical errors that distracted me a bit, but I’m sure those have been corrected for the final printing.  All in all, though, I liked this book, and I would recommend it to any high school or young adult library collection.

Living Violet is currently available wherever books are sold, and the sequel, Burning Emerald (a spectacular title givin the way the first book ended), is set for a June 2012 release.  If you’d like more information about The Cambion Chronicles or author Jaime Reed, visit http://jreedwriteordie.blogspot.com/.

Angelfire

My latest read, Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton, took me longer to read than I had anticipated.  It was a good book, but the images were a bit scary, and, now that school is out for the summer, and I’m sleeping during the day and reading at night, I have to be careful about what I read when it’s dark.  (I believe I’ve mentioned before that I am a wuss.  Here is further proof.)  Anyway, I finally finished Angelfire tonight, and, as soon as I’m finished with my post here, I’ll start reading something a little on the lighter side so that I don’t jump at every little noise.  Here goes…

Ellie is not normal, but she’s about to find out just how abnormal she really is.  She’s had vivid nightmares for as long as she can remember, and, after running into a mysterious yet familiar guy named Will, she realizes that the nightmares are really memories of past lives.  On the night that Ellie turns seventeen, Will, her Guardian, awakens her power and reveals to Ellie that she is the Preliator.  What is a Preliator, you ask?  It, or I should say she, is a warrior.  In this case, the Preliator is a divine warrior sent by angels to prevent the forces of Hell from generating an army and waging a war on Heaven that will lead to the Apocalypse.  (Heavy stuff, right?  I’m sure a seventeen-year-old will have no problem dealing with this.)

As you can imagine, Ellie is less than enthused about her “job.”  She’s having trouble remembering all of her lives and her real relationship with Will.   She spends all of her spare time hunting for and fighting demonic reapers (bad guys who drag innocent souls to Hell) or training to fight reapers.  Her grades are slipping, her friends are growing distant, she’s lying to everyone, and her relationship with her father…well, let’s just call that a little strained.  Ellie’s life is seemingly spiraling out of control, and she’s got to get it together if she, or anyone she loves, hopes to survive the evil that is growing ever stronger.

When an ancient evil enters the picture, Ellie and Will must do everything in their considerable power to stop the demonic reapers from gaining access to this fearsome weapon…a weapon that has the power to destroy the very essence of who Ellie is and who she’s been for centuries.  Is she strong enough to fight something she still doesn’t fully remember?  What is Ellie’s true role in this holy war?  And can her tenuous relationship with Will survive the battles that could rip them apart forever?  Read Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton to find out.

If you like Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments or Infernal Devices series, Lauren Kate’s Fallen series, or Becca Fitzpatrick’s Hush, Hush series, you might want to check out Angelfire.  A lot of the terminology is similar in this book, but there are some pretty big differences.  The battle between good and evil is the same, though.  Also, there are angels, and who doesn’t love angels?  Out of all of these series, the Angelfire trilogy (yes, trilogy) included, I have to say that my favorite remains The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare.  The others are good, but Clare has a way of creating a world that truly captures readers.  The others often simply tell about the world we’re visiting.  Take from that what you will.

I did enjoy Angelfire, despite the scariness of several characters, and I fully intend to read the rest of the series.  The second book, Wings of the Wicked, is scheduled for release sometime in 2012, and the third book, Hymn to the Fallen, should be out in 2013.  Fore more information on this series and author Courtney Allison Moulton, visit http://www.courtneyallisonmoulton.com/index.html.  The site is visually stunning, so be sure to check it out!

The Picture of Dorian Gray

Let me be the first to admit that my introduction to the character of Dorian Gray came in Alan Moore’s graphic novel The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.  I knew a little of the story of Dorian Gray, but I had never read Oscar Wilde’s original work.  Until now.  I just finished reading Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray a few short minutes ago, and let me tell you that it was disturbing.  Dorian Gray’s descent into immorality and madness was fascinating to witness but so uncomfortable that this tale will definitely stay with me for quite some time.

Dorian Gray’s life truly began with a painting and an introduction to Lord Henry Wotton.  Harry, as Lordy Henry was called by his friends, introduced Dorian to a new way of thinking, where all manner of vice and excess was acceptable if not preferred.  Dorian’s friend, Basil Hallward, painted the most glorious portrait of Dorian and captured his beauty and youth.  Dorian, however, was appalled at the picture, for he knew that neither youth nor beauty could ever last.  Dorian remarked that it would be wonderful if the portrait should age while he should remain forever young and unmarred by life.  Harry concurred, for he opined that beauty should be esteemed above everything.  As the saying goes, “Be careful what you wish for.”

After a remarkably cruel act, Dorian looked upon his portrait and noticed a subtle difference.  The mouth was cruel, and the eyes appeared to possess a glint of evil.  At first, he thought he must be imagining things, but he gradually came to realize that his careless words about the portrait bearing the weight of his life had come to fruition.  The portrait revealed the true nature of his soul.

Years passed, and Dorian delved deeper and deeper into the excesses of the world–drugs, debauchery, and all other manner of vulgarity, immorality, and sin.  The life he led was reflected in his portrait.  He rarely looked at the picture anymore, but, when he did, he was both fascinated and horrified.  He grew increasingly paranoid that someone would discover his terrible secret, and he took great pains to make sure that didn’t happen.  The paranoia, however, did not ease, and Dorian grew mad and despairing that his soul could ever be clean.

I’m not going to give away the end of the book (even though you may already know what happened).  I can’t say that I really enjoyed this book because the theories presented as truth by both Dorian Gray and Lord Henry Wotton went against everything I’ve ever held true.  But I will say that this book definitely made me think, and that’s something I can’t say about some of the books I’ve read in the past.