Monday, September 1, 2014

REVIEW: ANGELFALL by Susan Ee




Title: Angelfall
Series: Penryn and the End of Days, #1
Author: Susan Ee
Publisher: Feral Dream
Publication Date: May 21, 2011
Genres: YA, Post-Apocalyptic, Thriller
Reviewed by: Angie Edwards
My rating: 5/5

SUMMARY

It's been six weeks since angels of the apocalypse descended to demolish the modern world. Street gangs rule the day while fear and superstition rule the night. When warrior angels fly away with a helpless little girl, her seventeen-year-old sister Penryn will do anything to get her back.

Anything, including making a deal with an enemy angel.

Raffe is a warrior who lies broken and wingless on the street. After eons of fighting his own battles, he finds himself being rescued from a desperate situation by a half-starved teenage girl.

Traveling through a dark and twisted Northern California, they have only each other to rely on for survival. Together, they journey toward the angels' stronghold in San Francisco where she'll risk everything to rescue her sister and he'll put himself at the mercy of his greatest enemies for the chance to be made whole again.

  



REVIEW

I can’t believe I waited so long to read Angelfall! I kept putting it off, until recently when I saw the umpteenth glowing review for it on one of the many book blogs I follow. I decided there and then it was going to be my next read, and guess what? I already have the second book, World After, which I’ll be reading very soon. 

Penryn and Raffe’s story is all kinds of amazing. The first ten percent or so of the book didn’t interest me much, but once Raffe, the exiled archangel, came into the story the pace started picking up. My interest was cemented even more so when I discovered that Penryn’s mother is batshit crazy (it’s either that or she’s possessed by something really dark). But wait, let me not get ahead of myself. She might be watching.

I loved this book for two reasons. One, absolutely magnificent characters, and two, a plot unlike any other angel apocalypse book I’ve ever read before. This is not about good angels battling demons from hell, and humans caught in the cross-fire. It’s about good angels sent down to earth for reasons unbeknownst to them (but known to their leader); them losing their leader, and now going rogue and turning against each other in a power struggle...with our world caught in the middle. So basically the world was destroyed by beings we’ve always believed to be good and peaceful, but in Penryn’s world they’re not.

Penryn and Raffe are two characters who incidentally land in the same situation, but for different reasons. She wants to find her seven-year-old sister who is paralyzed from the waist down and who was kidnapped by angels, and Raffe was kicked out of the angel community and is trying his darndest to get back in for reasons of his own. No, don’t ask, it’s all about angel politics and who will be their new leader – or so it seems. You actually have to have patience while reading Angelfall, because only near the end is it possible to piece a lot of it together about what is happening, and even then you’re still left with a multitude of questions. But let me tell you, there are things in this book you’ll never see coming until it hits you smack dab in the face. And it will make your insides churn.

Penryn is a terrific character and exactly the type of protagonist I’d love to see more of in YA fiction.  She is trained in every kind of martial art imaginable, and she saves Raffe way more times than he saves her. She’s hardly ever the damsel in distress, but when she is, she takes care of the problem like a boss. I’ve read so many self-published angel vs demons paranormal romance novels the past couple of years, I expected the romance in this book to be instantaneous and stomach-cramp-inducing swoony. But, thank goodness, I was wrong. So. Very. Wrong. The little bit of romance there is (if you can even call it that), is more towards the end. It takes a backseat to the plot and isn’t icky or cheesy at all. I think it might be more a focus point in the next book or books thereafter (but let’s hope not).

Penryn gets the daylights beaten out of her time and again, and so does Raffe. I always appreciate it when an author doesn’t coddle her MCs. She shows the reader what they’re truly made off. Did I mention that Penryn’s mom is scary crazy? Seriously, she freaked me the hell out! And then there’s the discovery Penryn makes in the underground lab underneath the basement of the angels’ “lair”. Let me just say: the angel scientists in this story are heartless and evil. What they did to Penryn’s sister, countless children, and the abominations they bred in glass cylinders is outright shocking. I honestly didn’t see that coming. Not to mention what they did to Raffe. My heart broke for him.

Angelfall isn’t without it faults, though. The word-building in my opinion needs a lot more work and if it wasn’t for the incredibly compelling plot that had me reading during every waking second, I would’ve given this book a four-star rating. The dialogue between Penryn and Raffe was absolutely hysterical, and made up for whatever the world-building lacked. A narcissistic angel held hostage by a disgruntled teenage girl? You can only imagine how that would go. However, I would’ve liked to know what happened on the day the world ended. How did it happen? Where was Penryn when it happened? I need more explanations! Maybe these issues will be addressed somewhere in the rest of the series.

Angelfall is a completely original, addictive read. I can see why it is generating thousands of positive reviews on book review sites. Kudos to Ms Ee for creating characters and a storyline that rocks! 




  


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ABOUT the AUTHOR


Susan Ee is the bestselling author of the Penryn & the End of Days series which takes place in the San Francisco bay area. The first book, ANGELFALL, is being translated into 20 languages around the world. The second book, WORLD AFTER, was recently released in Nov. 2013 to international acclaim. The film rights to the series have been optioned by Sam Raimi, Rob Tapert, and Good Universe. Susan used to be a lawyer but loves being a writer because it allows her imagination to bust out and go feral.



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