Angelfall (Penryn & The End of Days #1) by Susan Ee
Paperback, 272 pages
Published May 23rd 2013 by Hodder and Stoughton
My shelves: angels-demons, apocalyptic, better-than-expected, books-i-own, dystopian, fantasy, horror, really-good, sci-fi, series-or-companions, young-adult
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Description via Goodreads
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.
If I'm being honest, I was a little weary of reading this book. It seemed to appear from nowhere, it was first self published and it was only available as an eBook for a long time. Sure, none of these things mean that it will necessarily be bad, but it didn't endear me to the idea of Angelfall - I'm one of those people who likes physical books. When I heard that it was finally being made into a paperback, I was delighted! I found that it was a real treasure and in fact far better than many other post-apocalyptic young-adult books that have been commercially released recently and in the past few years. It is evident that Ee has a talent for writing and it felt as every word had been carefully thought out and was important in this book.
The story does feel slightly commercial in the way that I feel as though it will appeal to many people. It seemed like an amalgamation of factors from other released books, but adapted. I certainly don't mean that this feels like a copy of other books, but that it does certain familiarities to several other things that I have read. However, the story is new, fresh and exciting. I have never read a book about Angels that has gripped me or that I have enjoyed as much as I did with this.
From the first page, I got thrown into the post-apocalyptic setting which was both fascinating and frightening. Ee has done a wonderful job of making everything seem very vivid and as though we are seeing things through Penryn's eyes. The writing and emotion feels authentic, raw and bold. From start to finish, the book is very eventful and had me on the edge of my seat. There was a certain addictive quality, just wanting to know where Penryn would take us next and what she would see. Most of what Penryn does see is gruesome and Ee creates some extremely macabre, horrifying and unsettling scenes.
Nothing seems to stop Penryn from the search for her family. We are given a strong protagonist, a fantastic heroine. Around her are many more curious characters, including her abducted sister, Paige, and Penryn's mother, who is mentally unstable and claims to talk to demons - these both seem to be especially complex characters that I'm interested to watch develop. Raffe, the angel that is alongside Penryn for the majority of this book, is shown to have ethereal beauty and a strong personality, without any flowery writing, which was refreshing. The relationship between Penryn and Raffe was interesting to read about, as Raffe is essentially one of the enemies, simply by being an angel. I found Dee and Dum to provide some joviality to the harsh background of the apocalypse and I absolutely loved them.
There are a few things that if revealed would have helped me to understand things more, such as a little more information about the mythology and the reason of the apocalypse, but this is the first in a series and so I hope that, and assume it will be, explained further on in the next books which I simply can't wait to be released!