Title: Angelfall (Penryn and the End of Days, Book #1)
Author: Susan Ee
Warnings: PG 13 for violence, disturbing imagery, and graphic portrayal of paranoid schizophrenia/accompanying issues.
THIS REVIEW CONTAINS MAJOR SPOILERS AND STRONG, HONEST OPINIONS. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.
Angelfall takes place six weeks after the angels have come to destroy Penryn’s world. Scavenging for food and a roof to sleep under is now the norm, and Penryn’s already got her hands full with her unstable mother and paralyzed sister Paige when a wounded angel drops from the sky. When Paige is kidnapped, Penryn must make a choice—help the angel in order to find her sister, or let her prejudice be the cause of Paige’s imminent demise.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I know why self-pubs tend to get a bad rap— lack of editorial direction, poor copyediting, self-indulgent authors who never stop to think about the audience they’re writing for—and none of these tendencies are exhibited here. In fact, I was surprised to find that this was a self-pubbed book—it could easily have been at home on a shelf beside The Hunger Games in my library, were a print version available.
And the characters! I simply couldn’t get enough of them. Penryn and Raffe were both excellently badass. Penryn’s mother was a perfect, chilling portrayal of a woman dancing with madness in a crazy world. Even side characters such as the spymaster twins, the leaders of the Resistance, and the albino angel were interesting and complex to a certain degree. The world was also nicely done—very rough and tumble, very post-apocalypse, though human society does seem to have degenerated exceedingly quickly for only six weeks of occupancy by the angels. It feels more like six months, or even six years, but I’m sure it would feel that way to live in Ee’s world so I count this as a nice nuance rather than a flaw.
In summary? Awesome book. Rather like Sandman Slim met The Hunger Games and had an awesome YA baby. And at only 99 cents on Kindle/Nook, there’s no reason not to check it out! Book #2 is due out Summer 2012, according to Ee’s website, so grab Angelfall and read it now. You won’t regret it.
IN CASE YOU IGNORED THE SPOILER WARNING ABOVE, HERE’S WHERE IT GETS REALLY SPOILER-Y. IF YOU HAVEN’T READ ANGELFALL, STOP RIGHT NOW OR PREPARE TO BE SPOILED.
- The world. Chilling, gritty, not a time I’d want to live in but a time that I freaking love reading about.
- Penryn. I love several things about Penryn. I love that she’s a fighter, and that the reasons for her being a good fighter are explained. I appreciate the fact that her odd name is also explained, at location 1507 according to my Kindle app and my notes. I love that she loves Paige so much, and that she exhibits infinite patience with her mother. Mostly? I love that Penryn is the resourceful, awesome survivor that she is.
- the romance. I am always in support of badass x badass, and Penryn and Raffe are definitely badasses.
- Raffe. An agnostic archangel with bucketloads of snark always makes me happy. It doesn’t hurt that he’s pretty to boot.
- I really, really like how Penryn’s mom’s mental illness is handled in this book. It’s chilling, realistic, and does not dehumanize the character; rather, it makes her more human and more sympathetic to the reader.
- Two words. ZOMBIE ANGELS. BEST PLOT TWIST EVER.
- The romance. Which also appeared on the Pros list, but whatever. I always cringe a little when a centuries old, practically immortal being falls in love with a teenage girl, but in this case, the badass factor of both participants outweighs the squick.
- Some descriptive passages could be shortened, and certain descriptive words are used repetitively (Paige’s face is described as being “pixie-like” on numerous occasions).
- I felt the ending was a little abrupt, and was not thrilled about the fact that Penryn was paralyzed for the entire climax, but it did match the tone of the story.
Star Rating on Goodreads: 4.5 stars out of 5.
Final Grade: A+. Will definitely reread, eagerly awaiting the next book in the series.