Thursday, January 10, 2013

Wings of the Wicked by Courtney Allison Moulton

Title: Wings of the Wicked
Author: Courtney Allison Moulton
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date: January 31, 2012
Pages: 516 pages (hardcover)
How I Got the Book: Bought it.
Purchase/Pre-order: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Promotional Materials and More: book trailer | author website

Wings of the Wicked (Angelfire, #2)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.


The general consensus is that Wings of the Wicked is far better than its predecessor, but I'll be the one to disagree. In certain respects, it really is better than Angelfire, but overall, I actually dislike this book more. If you're a fan of the Angelfire series, go watch the entire Blood+ series right now and be amazed. It's far better than this series will ever be, trust me. You've already seen it? Go watch it again.

In minor ways, there's a lot of improvement. Ellie has her petty and/or irritating moments, but she's grown from the cliche heroine she was in book one to someone more accepting of her grand role, albeit more than willing to question it.  She makes mistakes, says stupid things, and does even stupider things, but it's easy to accept them because even though she's the Preliator, she's a teenage girl too. Will gets a little development past his love of Ellie and dedication to his duty too, which was a little unexpected. Ava starts out rather demonized, but the development she gets makes me fond of her too. She's probably my favorite out of this whole sorry cast.

Then again, one must consider while reading my compliments that I read Angelfire almost two years ago and my tastes have evolved a good deal since then. If I reread it now, I might develop a different opinion of it, but my memories tell me it wasn't as excruciating to get through as Wings of the Wicked.

The first third of the book is almost entirely relationship drama and boring to read. The plot takes a good while to kick in and once it does, things stay moving for almost the rest of the book. Cadan, one of the characters I liked in book one, returns with a heart full of love for Ellie. When, why, and how this happened is a mystery that isn't explained well enough for my tastes, but it's there. The lack of good reason behind it is also why I now ship Cadan/Ellie. Yay for crack! (If this sort of statement surprises you, you haven't been reading my reviews long enough.)

But then we hit the halfway point. A demon has been impersonating someone close to her for YEARS and when the demon reveals this, something occurred to me. If the demon has been in her life for years without her knowing, that implies the bad guys knew or at least suspected Ellie was the Preliator long before she came into her powers. Why would a demon to impersonate a person close to her otherwise? Following my line of logic, this means the bad guys stood by when Ellie was at her most vulnerable and waited until she came into her powers and started killing them to do something.

This obvious failure to read the Evil Overlord List nearly made me give up, but I soldiered on.

With some further editing and snipping, a good hundred pages could have been cut from this bloated novel. After the big fight during which Lilith (who I am sick and tired of seeing be portrayed as a villain when her only crime was to refuse being anything other than Adam's equal) appears and a whole bunch of other stuff goes down, there's just a bunch of unnecessary, dull fluff until there's a sudden explosion of events on the very last pages. As actiony as it was and with such a cliffhanger as it had, I have no desire to finish the series out--and that's really something when I already have the third book.

The endless Blood+ parallels are the main reason I bothered to read on, along with the aforementioned consensus that this is supposed to be better. But back to Blood+ (I can't fangirl hard enough about this, seriously), it's almost difficult to believe Moulton hadn't seen it prior to starting the Angelfire series because of how many similarities there are. Anyway, the difference between Blood+ and the Angelfire series is how much more complex, affecting, and well-written the former is.

2 stars!

What am I reading next?: Everbound by Brodi Ashton