Friday, 1 February 2013

Review: Wings of the Wicked by Courtney Allison Moulton

Wings of the Wicked (Angelfire #2) by Courtney Allison Moulton
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Released: January 31st 2012
My Rating: 2 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads

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.
(from Goodreads)

NOTE: I apologise for the ultra-long review. Some ranting was involved...

I was so disappointed with Wings of the Wicked. I really enjoyed Angelfire, so I was expecting a lot from this book, and while it wasn’t terrible, it just was not as good as it could have been. I’ll probably still read the third book because I like Will and want to know what happens to him, but I’ve sort of lost interest in a lot of other parts of the story now.

My main problem was Ellie. I don’t generally like to pull the “annoying” card because women seem to get called “annoying” all the time just for the sake of being female and expressing their opinion. But I feel like this really is an example of just a truly annoying character, and if Ellie were male I’d say the exact same thing about her. But honestly. She was so goddamn annoying. If you thought she was annoying in book one, hahaha. Please. That was nothing compared to this. I don’t even know where to start. First of all, all she did in the entire book was bitch and moan. She whined when people tried to help, she whined when they didn’t, she whined in the middle of a freaking battle – she was driving me insane! She was childish, cried all the time, (or “sobbed”, should I say, as that word was used like, a million times) was so selfish and generally acted like a five year old having a tantrum. And as the Preliator, and angel Gabriel in human form, she was supposed to be this amazing fighter that was ten times stronger than anyone else – HAHAHAHA. She was so useless! She got herself into trouble with reapers and everything else because she was so stupid and then she couldn’t save herself and had to be rescued by someone else. She trained and trained and was apparently at a high fighting level, but she barely did anything. She just pranced around doing nothing while people died fighting for her. She seemed to value going to parties more than the lives of her friends and family, she incessantly tried to be “normal”, even after she remembered all her past lives – which I didn’t understand at all. If she had remembered everything, would the appeal of some stupid little high school party have been that great? She seemed EXACTLY the same, like her memories of hundreds and hundreds of years hadn’t affected her at all. How does one remain so unchanged after that? She just seemed like some whiny high school girl whose main concern was having a good time. She always had to be saved and it annoyed the hell out of me that she was made out to be some fightyfighter warrior girl when she wasn’t. I would have preferred it if she were just portrayed as a normal girl with little experience of fighting if this was how it was going to turn out. There’s nothing wrong with heroines that AREN’T amazing strong fighters, they can be just as awesome. Ellie was just a big contradiction, and that’s what annoyed me.

Luckily, Will was more tolerable and I actually quite liked him. While he loved Ellie and was willing to do anything for her, he knew sacrifices had to be made. He knew things couldn’t go the way you wanted them to all the time and sometimes you had to do things you never thought you’d do. And for that, Ellie treated him like crap. He was trying to stay away from Ellie because she was an angel, yet Ellie ignored this and seemed to forget that he could DIE if he tried to pursue a relationship with her. I know she wanted to be with him, but did she not care at all about the consequences of them being together? (Speaking of these consequences, they made no sense. So the archangel Michael didn’t want a divine being such as Ellie to be with a mere reaper like Will as it’s wrong, but he was completely fine that she married mortal men and had CHILDREN in her past lives? Oh yeah, perfectly reasonably angel logic there.) At least Will TRIED to think about it. Plus she whined and shouted at him all the time, I felt so bad that he had to put up with her. I can only assume Ellie wasn’t so annoying in her past lives, otherwise I don’t get why Will would love her so much. But he seemed to care so much about her and I can only hope that he one day gets to live in peace with Ellie, because if anyone deserves happiness, it’s Will.

Plot-wise, it was very mixed for me. I liked some scenes a lot, including some of the fighting scenes and the romancey scenes between Ellie and Will (lots of tension and stuff and I liked it when they were being funny together too). I really liked Ava, one of the new reapers (I think I would prefer a book from Ava’s POV, to be honest, she sounds like she’d have an awesome story to tell), Ellie’s friend Kate, and Will’s friend Marcus too, so I enjoyed most of the scenes they were in as well. A lot of the plot was predictable, however (there were a few twists, some that were sad and unexpected, but most I was able to guess). I guessed about Ellie’s father, called it from book one. I guessed about Will, I guessed about Cadan (and Cadan’s character went downhill for me, so much so that he only gets these few lines. He was not as funny, not as bold or sly and was just...sappy. I hope he regains his sense of humour in the next book, because we have enough sappy characters as it is), and I guessed the ending. And I also didn’t understand how EVERYONE (including all the reapers and Will’s reaper friends) knew that Ellie was Gabriel. Will and Ellie only discovered this at the end of book one, but the way everyone was shouting about it, I’m surprised they didn’t know before. Seriously, EVERYONE seemed aware of this fact. Plus, there was one point in the book where Ellie was defenceless and almost raped and Will came to save her (and she was for some reason mad at him, but that’s not the point), and this scene was poorly handled. In fact, it was almost offensive. The whole thing was just brushed over. I couldn’t believe it. The guy who tried to rape her was forgotten about after a few pages. Nothing was done about him, and what happened to Ellie was never mentioned again. I know that rape is a serious topic, but if you’re not going to bother addressing it properly in the book, why include it at all? To me, that scene felt like it was there just so Will could come in and save Ellie and they could make up and restore their relationship.  That isn’t acceptable to me.

I also feel it’s important to point out that I sort of sympathised with the villains more than the good guys. I didn’t blame Lilith for wanting revenge. She was treated really unfairly and I could get how she felt. And I didn’t blame Bastian for envying humans, because after all, they would reach Heaven and he never could (through no fault of his own, I may add, but due to genetics). Pretty unfair if you ask me, but as it’s based on mythology, I can’t really blame the book for this.

Overall, this book was disappointing. I know this review sounds really negative, but it wasn’t that bad. The writing was fairly good, there was humour and I was generally intrigued by what was happening. It pushed the story along and I want to know what happens to Will after that cliffhanger. To be honest, he’s the character I’m most invested in. Hopefully Ellie will pull herself together in the next book (which I’ll probably read, though I won’t be rushing out to buy it the day it releases). So yes. If you really really loved Angelfire, then read this book. Otherwise, read some more reviews before you decide to pick up this book/start the series.