Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Review: Angelbound, by Christina Bauer

Release date: December 17, 2013
Publisher: Ink Monster LLC
Format: ebook, 532 pages

Goodreads description:
Eighteen year old Myla Lewis is a girl who loves two things: kicking ass and kicking ass. She’s not your every day quasi-demon, half-demon and half-human, girl. For the past five years, Myla has lived for the days she gets to fight in Purgatory’s arena. When souls want a trial by combat for their right to enter heaven or hell, they go up against her, and she hasn’t lost a battle yet.

But as she starts her senior year at Purgatory High, the arena fights aren’t enough to keep her spirits up anymore. When the demons start to act weird, even for demons, and the King of the Demons, Armageddon, shows up at Myla’s school, she knows that things are changing and it’s not looking good for the quasi-demons. Myla starts to question everything, and doesn’t like the answers she finds. What happened seventeen years ago that turned the quasi-demons into slave labor? Why was her mom always so sad? And why won’t anyone tell her who her father is? Things heat up when Myla meets Lincoln, the High Prince of the Thrax, a super sexy half-human and half-angel demon hunter. But what’s a quasi-demon girl to do when she falls for a demon hunter? It’s a good thing that Myla’s not afraid of breaking a few rules. With a love worth fighting for, Myla’s going to shake up Purgatory.

The following review is based on a copy provided to me by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

I took a chance on Angelbound based on the cover (which is absolutely perfect for the book!) and the description that promised a very kickass heroine. And I’m very happy to say that the book delivers – on both the kickass and the general awesomeness account.

Part of what made the book awesome is that despite the sometimes rather serious and doomy subject matter, there were so many fun, snarky, sarcastic moments! I laughed aloud all the time (also because of the nicknames Myla gave all the ghouls). Myla’s voice came off strong from the first page onwards, and over the course of the book I really felt like I knew this person in whose head I had taken up temporary residence. And it’s not just the book saying she is kickass – we, dear readers, actually get to see her kicking said ass. She’s got spunk, she’s maybe a little too cocky sometimes, but not in an annoying way. She’s also loyal and a good friend. And she’s got an overprotective mother who keeps things from her, such as who her father is, which puts a strain on their relationship.

Next up, I really need to praise the world building. You guys know how I’m a sucker for world building, and Angelbound has plenty to go around. It’s basically a version of purgatory (that’s where the action takes place) but there are also other realms, other creatures, and a very thought-out, well-developed system of powers. Basically, purgatory used to belong to the quasi-demons – people like Myla who are basically human, apart from some demonic traits (like bursts of rage or jealousy, depending on what type of demon you descend from) and, well, tails. I know the tail thing might sound ridiculous, but it really works and I liked how Myla’s sometimes had a mind of its own.
Anyway, purgatory got taken over by a ghoul government and now quasi-demons are not much more than servants. Also, Armageddon, the ruler of hell, has more plans. Things are getting worse for her kind and Myla is among the people who actually might have a chance of stopping him. I’m being deliberately vague here because this is a big book and it’s hard to avoid spoilers. In short, there were some parts of the plot that were a bit predictable but there were enough twists to make up for that, and either way I was always entertained as there was never a dull moment.

Where there’s demons, there are also demon hunters. In this case, they are called thrax. Their culture is very different from Myla’s and in many ways quite medieval. You know, as for the rights of women and the rules of decorum etc. Basically, many of them are stuck-up idiots who think they have it all under control and enjoy looking down their noses at other people. Needless to say, when Myla meets Lincoln, the prince of the thrax, the two don’t exactly hit it off. Him thinking of her as demon spawn and all that. Personally, I really like it when two people start off loathing each other (I wanted to throttle him) and then slowly grow closer, become friends, and maybe more than that. Lincoln really grew on me and I like that Myla didn’t get all mushy over him all of a sudden – they’re equals and they trust in each other’s’ strength. There is no drama for drama’s sake and the romance doesn’t hijack the plot, which is always a plus for me. They also a have a few pretty heated moments, but nothing too graphic. I’d locate the book in the mature YA/possibly NA category.

As for the secondary characters, many of them were pretty fleshed-out and likeable. Some of my favorites were Lincoln’s mother (I always love a fierce queen, especially if she takes me by surprise) and Walker, who is something like Myla’s ghoul guardian and accompanies her to her fights in the arena. I had some mixed feelings about Cissy, Myla’s best friend, but she eventually developed in a direction I found promising.

Overall, Angelbound is a fun read with a world that takes up a few well-known elements but spins them in a way that is new and refreshing. Myla is a great mixture of fierceness and a streak of vulnerability, and I enjoyed both her personal arc as she finds out who she is as well as the romance between her and Lincoln. There are some parts of the book that could have been shortened a bit, but then again that would have taken away from the world building, and I’ve already pointed out how much I loved that.

The flashes back to things that happened before Myla’s birth also brought variety to the story and will keep you engaged as you try to put the pieces together and figure out what this means for the timeline in the present. I have to point out again how much I liked the varied roles of women in this novel. They fight, they take on political responsibility, they try to make the system work in their favor. There are also other cases, of course, but this was really something I liked and would love to see more often: strong women, and the bonds (instead of just rivalry) between strong women.
In short, if you love fierceness, action, romance, awesome world building, and great humor – go pick up Angelbound. The sequel, Scala will be out in May (so no long pining for the next book), and after that ending, I’m very curious about how Myla’s story will go on!

From what you've heard, what do you think of the book? Do you like heroines who can kick butt?


  1. Ok, so as much as the cover of this one grabbed my interest straight away when I saw it one here, reading your review had me positively riveted! I will be adding this one to my TBR as soon as I finish typing this comment :D I LOVE LOVE LOVE the sound of the MC, the setting, the world...yeah, pretty much everything XD You did a really good job of bringing out all the awesome in this one girl, can't wait to experience it for myself!!

    1. Myla's got spunk and I really enjoyed that :) I hope you will, too! Thanks for taking the time to comment, hun <3

  2. I loved Angelbound.So glad you enjoyed it!And I'm a sucker for kick ass heroines so this book was perfect for me!!!

    1. There can never be too many kickass heroines ;) Gald you enjoyed it too!