Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Grim Life


Written by: Courtney Allison Moulton

Released: February 15, 2011 by HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen Books

Summary: This debut, the first novel in a trilogy, is achingly romantic, terrifying, and filled with blistering action.

When seventeen-year-old Ellie starts seeing reapers - monstrous creatures who devour humans and send their souls to Hell - she finds herself on the front lines of a supernatural war between archangels and the Fallen and faced with the possible destruction of her soul.

A mysterious boy named Will reveals she is the reincarnation of an ancient warrior, the only one capable of wielding swords of angelfire to fight the reapers, and he is an immortal sworn to protect her in battle. Now that Ellie's powers have been awakened, a powerful reaper called Bastian has come forward to challenge her. He has employed a fierce assassin to eliminate her - an assassin who has already killed her once.

While balancing her dwindling social life and reaper-hunting duties, she and Will discover Bastian is searching for a dormant creature believed to be a true soul reaper. Bastian plans to use this weapon to ignite the End of Days and to destroy Ellie's soul, ending her rebirth cycle forever. Now, she must face an army of Bastian's most frightening reapers, prevent the soul reaper from consuming her soul, and uncover the secrets of her past lives - including truths that may be too frightening to remember.

I’m not sure what I thought about this novel. I enjoyed reading it, but I felt as though it was something that I had to do rather than I wanted to do... even though I wanted to read it. Does that make sense? I think it’s because I haven’t been in a real book worm mood lately and reading anything has seemed like a chore. I’m in a bit of a book funk, I guess.

Anyways, though it took me a while to get into I liked this book; it was slightly different in the paranormal YA stream. I liked the mythology that was put into it and the entire story was well written and well played out. For a 2011 debut, this had the air of a more seasoned writer. It was also a well-crafted beginning to a set of novels which are set to follow in the coming years.

I liked reading about Ellie and how her personal discovery completely changes her life. I also liked how she dealt with the knowledge of her past lives as they slowly come back to her, along with Will and everything that she knows about her powers. The incorporation of past lives was a concept that I was pleasantly surprised to read about the first time that it made an appearance in the novel. I thought that it added another layer to the build-up and the foundation for the overall story arc.

Ellie herself was a strong character, which I always enjoy reading. Her fears are present and seeing how she works through (or around) them is a part of what makes her a great character.

Now, I have my speculations about certain aspects of what’s going to happen in the next books, but I don’t want to share them since they cause a few spoilers for this novel. Let’s just say that there are secondary characters who I think are more than they appear but who aren’t who they’re supposed to be. Once you read the novel (if you choose to read it) you may conclude who I’m talking about.

Overall, though I wasn’t in the mood to read this, I loved the fact that I was able to read a 2011 debut; especially one of this calibre. I look forward to reading not only more in this series but more from this author. I give this novel a 7/10.

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