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Shadows in the Silence by Courtney Allison Moulton

Shadows in the Silence by Courtney Allison Moulton

Shadows in the Silence (Angelfire #3)

By: Courtney Allison Moulton

Release Date: January 29, 2013

Rating: 4 Stars

Summary: Your strength in heart and hand will fall. . . .
Ellie knows that the darkest moments are still to come, and she has everything to fight for:

She must fight for Will.
The demonic have resorted to their cruelest weapons to put Will in mortal danger, and Ellie makes an unlikely alliance to save him and to stop Lilith and Sammael, who seek to drown the world in blood and tear a hole into Heaven.

She must fight for humanity.
As the armies of Hell rise and gather for the looming End of Days, Ellie and her band of allies travel to the world’s darkest and most ancient regions in her quest to come into her full glory as the archangel Gabriel.

And Ellie must save herself.
Her humanity withers beneath the weight of her cold archangel power, but Ellie must hold tight to who she is and who she loves as she prepares for the ultimate battle for Heaven and Earth.

In this final installment in the Angelfire trilogy, Courtney Allison Moulton brings her dark world of epic battles and blistering romance to a blazing bright conclusion.



Review:

The appeal of Angelfire and, really, the reason why this series gets such high marks in my book, can be summed up by the following simple analogy:

TWILIGHT:VAMPIRE ACADEMY

any of FALLEN; HUSH, HUSH; or UNEARTHLY:ANGELFIRE

I’m tired of being tricked into reading paranormal after paranormal – vampire, angel, or otherwise – where the first half or two thirds of the book is nothing but overwrought angsting and love triangle setup, with really no plot until the bit of action tacked on in the last two or three chapters just so there’s nominally something paranormal related, so a book with a kickass heroine, actual, threatening villains, and a plot that’s all angel related from the first page to the last all exactly as advertised is, umm, refreshingly honest? Action packed and interesting? Actually good? All of the above?

Anyway, yeah, I liked Angelfire even though it didn’t have the depth it could’ve had, I thought Wings of the Wicked was much improved if a bit uneven, and Shadows in the Silence continues to kick ass and take no prisoners. I’m not demonic reaper slayer Ellie’s biggest fan; I thought she was a bit too bland in the first book, too whiny in the second – particularly with the stuff between her and her father, even though there’s a reason for that, and too shrill at the beginning of this one – the way she’s described as acting is kind of bad, but despite her flaws, I like what she’s doing. She’s off saving the world and Will’s life with Cadan and it’s not one of those obnoxious will they or won’t they situations that other angel books will spend six or seven chapters going into in excruciatingly bad detail – one slap takes care of that – so the focus is entirely on finding a cure for Will and then stopping Sammael and Lilith from bring on the apocalypse. And along the way, there are swords to the chest, swords to the neck, swords to the … well, yeah, there’s hardly a dull moment as usual. Yet even still, Ellie’s not written as a robotic character – the badass Preliator fighting off the demonic reapers – I’ve said before one of the strengths of this series is that Courtney Allison Moulton knows how to balance action and character development, and Ellie having to channel Gabriel to save the world while possibly sacrificing her own humanity certainly qualifies as a great angle to her character.

I liked Nathaniel and his presence is sorely missed, so I’m not sure if I’m the best judge of whether the supporting characters work out, but I do think Ellie and Will’s dynamic with the whole her saving him and then him being unable to save her from becoming Gabriel situation is really what makes most of the story work (even if the scene with Michael after his warning to Will in the last book was really really cheesy), so much so I don’t think the epilogue could’ve ended this series any better than it did. I’m a little disappointed with Cadan because he started out in the first book as the stereotypical bad guy with possibly more to him and he really got some interesting development in the second book and the short story A Dance with Darkness, but I just got the feeling here Moulton didn’t really know what to do with him and Ellie now that he’s officially switched sides so there was something missing to his development and he missed a lot of the conflict that could’ve been, except for one fake out right before the climatical showdown, but the stuff with him and Will being half brothers makes up for it, sort of, I guess. Otherwise, the new characters are really put to good use, I didn’t expect to see Antares again after Ellie’s quest to cure Will or Ronan for that matter, didn’t expect Azrael to really do anything either, but they make cameos in just the right places to make things interesting. Plus, the supporting gang is more or less back, Kate rocks the best friend role for the third book in a row and did that really just happen to Landon? Ummm. Yeah.

Best of all though is, compared to most angel books, the actual plot is fairly well paced. Ellie goes from resolving the cliffhanger from the last book with Will being poisoned to finishing off the loose villain plot thread with Merodach to figuring out the clues to beating Sammael and Lilith, and all of it is tied together with action and character development and angel mythology and historical intrigue that it really flows. The pacing is almost absurdly fast, going from haunted Belgian castles to mysterious underground Syrian ruins to a showdown in Israel in a span of a few chapters that at times leaves me with a billion questions like ‘I’d think people would freak out more from seeing an angel flying around Jerusalem…’ or ‘Those mercenaries fighting with Ellie at Armageddon are going to be like on every news channel at the end of this…’ whereas the actual book is kind of dismissive of the climax besides focusing on Ellie and Will, but I’m still distracted by the awesome fight scenes, including one in the middle of a highway between Ellie and Merodach, and the final showdown against Sammael that I’m really letting all the loose ends about the effects of Armageddon on the world basically slide. Something for a spinoff series maybe? Since Lucifer is still around?

I don’t think I’ll ever accept Gabriel being a girl, but these books are so action packed and intense that I’m more than willing to overlook that and all the other flaws I’ve called out. Shadows in the Silence ends the series at just the right place that I think will satisfy any fan of the series.

Go to Mitch’s review on Goodreads.

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