First off, the winners for the Strange Angels series by Lilith Saintcrow!

Theresa won Strange Angels, Book 1 of the series

Michelle won Betrayals, Book 2

Jessica B won Jealousy, Book 3

Congratulations to those who won and thank you to everyone who entered. We’ll have more opportunities to win great books at a later date, so check back often!

Now, on to today’s review…

Caitlin: So, angel books seem to be the new trend.

Christine: True, I’ve noticed there are more debut books than usual with an angelic theme to them. Not that I’m complaining. I love books that involve angels.

Caitlin: I definitely enjoy the re-imagining of old stories and such that angel books require. And I like that they’ve all been different. But, I must say, so far, this one has been my favourite of the trend. Why, you ask? Because it had action. I love action.

Christine: It did have a fair bit of action, between the training sequences and the actual fights. Although, my favorite parts weren’t so much the action. They were the interactions between Will and Elisabeth (Ellie) when they were just hanging out or talking. Because not only did you see them growing closer as they got to know each other, but things about the supernatural world and ‘war’ were explained… to a certain degree.

Caitlin: Their interactions were very well written, especially that last one…on the roof…I may have teared up a little.

Christine: Me, too!

Caitlin: But, I suppose we’re getting ahead of ourselves here. So the basic plot of the book is this: Ellie is just this normal teenager (although she is rather well-off, which I liked because we don’t normally see that in YA books) about to turn seventeen when a mysterious, handsome stranger enters her life and tells her she has a sacred duty.

Christine: Think Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but instead of Giles telling this girl about her one-of-a-kind powers, it’s a hot, slightly older guy named Will (a.k.a. Angel). He tells Ellie that she’s the reincarnation of an ancient warrior and the only one who can use these angelfire swords to kill demonic reapers. Once Ellie’s powers are awakened (thanks to Will), a very powerful reaper named Bastian comes after her, with a gang of lesser reapers to help.

Caitlin: Also, Ellie has a car named Marshmallow. This is awesome.

Christine: As is Will. It took me a while to warm up to him. At first, he’s so secretive and mysterious, that I wasn’t really sure if he was going to be a “good” guy or not. But he quickly redeems himself.

Caitlin: This is a good point. I seldom enjoy characters that know more than they are saying and are just withholding the information willy-nilly. But I liked Will’s motivations for holding out and wanting Ellie to remember on her own. But I can’t say why because it ruins some of my favourite moments.

Christine: The moment I knew Will was going to be a great character was when he and Ellie were at a diner, and the only thing he ordered was a root beer float. I loved him for that and instantly forgave him for withholding information.

Caitlin: I liked that he had to eat after every battle. I don’t know why, I thought it was cute and rather indicative of normal teenage males having to stuff themselves all day, every day.

Oh! Oh! And I liked, at the end, when…well, when that cool THING happened, and Will was all embarrassed. Sigh, I could talk about Will for awhile. Should we talk about something else?

Christine: Hmm, how about Nathaniel? And how I want one of him for me. He’s like the Giles of the group — unnaturally pale, kind of nerdy, untidy brown hair, silly, with a lopsided grin, PLUS he works at a library. Hotness incarnate.

Caitlin: Do you think he and Lauren have a thing? I think they do.

Christine: *gasp* They better not! He’s mine!

Caitlin: Oh wait. I forgot who I’m talking to. You probably hope Nathanial and Will have a thing.

Christine: Bwahahahha. Secretly… yes. I mean, they do live together.

Caitlin: And we’ve successfully brought the conversation back to Will.

Christine: Yay!

Caitlin: Mission accomplished!

Christine: Okay, okay. Let’s discuss Ellie and her supernatural ways.

Caitlin: I like Ellie. Not in the same way I like Will, though. I did enjoy her butt-kicking ways, her frank teenage talk (“That might exceed my skank limit.”), and her love of Sailor Moon.

Christine: Honestly, I felt sorry for her. She’s trying to juggle school, her friends, her family (including a crazy, enraged father… whatever that’s about), and now she has the weight of the world on her shoulders because she’s the only one who can kill demonic reapers with angelfire. I’m amazed that she doesn’t go insane from the pressure. But then, I guess she doesn’t because she has Will. (“He was like a security blanket… only less fluffy.”)

Caitlin: Do you think things would have been better for her if she’d gotten all her memories back right away?

Christine: In a way, yes. I think she wouldn’t be so confused about things (and we wouldn’t either since we know what she’s thinking). But I also think she’d lose a lot of her humanity to have that many lifetimes in her head and she would also know what she REALLY is… which is revealed at the end. Will even said this was the most human he’s ever seen her. And I think that has to do with her not knowing everything just yet.

Caitlin: Right. I guess, I really want to know what her…ah…let’s say “full self” thinks and feels about Will and about her sacred duty. Her thoughts and feelings were very much that of a teenage girl who just wants to be normal. But the her that she’s forgotten, I wonder what that part of Ellie wants and dreams. Definitely looking forward to the next book, which I just realized we’ll have to wait even longer for.

And the dark side of early copies rears its ugly head once again.

Christine: So, final verdict? I really liked this book. Loved Will (in case you couldn’t tell). Want my own Nathaniel. Can’t wait for the next one to see how Ellie changes and how the impact of everything that happened at the end of Angelfire takes shape.

Caitlin: With the plethora of angels (and Wills for that matter) in YA recently it’s difficult for one to stand out. This one did. And I really, really liked it.

Unfortunately this book doesn’t come out for a while (February 15, 2011), but it’ll be here sooner than you think and then you can read all about Ellie, Will and the going-ons in the world of Angelfire. Until then, you can follow (i.e., stalk) Courtney Allison Moulton on Twitter.

Also, we’d like to thank NetGalley for being awesome and HarperCollins for releasing this book early for reviews!

What’s been your favorite Angel-influenced book this year? Or ever? Are you excited to read this book? Let us know in the comments section!

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