Author: Susan Ee
Published: August 28th, 2012 by Skyscape
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.
In a world destroyed by angels and humans are struggling to survive, one girl has taken it upon her shoulders to save the world and the entire human ra— wait. That’s not what Angelfall is about!
Angelfall tells the story of Penryn, whose sister has been taken by one of the angels that have invaded earth. Okay, when I say it like that, it doesn’t sound like the most original story. After all, so many dystopian novels center around the main character trying to save/find his/her little brother/sister from angels/demons/vampires/aliens/whatever else is out there, but Angelfall is really good so hear me out!
From the very first chapter, Angelfall managed to grab my attention and didn’t let go. It has an addictive quality that made it difficult to stop reading. While the story seems pretty straightforward, Penryn trying to rescue her sister from her captors with the help of an unlikely ally, it becomes a LOT more interesting when great characters, awesome dialogue and interesting subplots are added into the mix.
Penryn is a great main character and she’s so perfectly imperfect that it makes her very relatable to me. She’s smart, well trained in martial arts and she’s perfectly capable of defending herself, but at the same time, she’s very calculating and knows when to back down from a fight. I like that she never takes on more responsibility than she can handle and that she knows her limits. She has a complicated relationship with her mother, who is mentally unstable, but even with her frustrations, Penryn shows that she cares with small gestures that she does throughout the book. It’s things like this, along with other things like her concern for hygiene and many other things that make her a very realistic character. Of course, she’s not alone on her journey. Raffe, an angel who’s had his wings viciously cut off, is forced to help Penryn to find her sister. They both have different goals to reach at the end of their travel, but while they’re together, their relationship was a lot of fun to read about. Raffe’s dry humor and his interactions with Penryn made me laugh more than once.
The world in Angelfall is definitely darker than most YA I’ve read. We’ve seen the ‘evil angels’ angle done before, like in Angel Fever by L.A. Weatherly for example. But the angels in Angelfall takes ‘scary’ to another level. I won’t talk much about it because I don’t want to go into spoiler territory, but some scenes in this book really creeped me out. The worldbuilding feels like a few other dystopian novels, but Susan Ee managed to create an eerie atmosphere filled with suspense that made me want to stop reading but at the same time continue reading the next chapter.
Written in the first person narrative, the writing in Angelfall is not very elaborate or verbose, but I think it reflects Penryn’s personality perfectly. The action scenes are very vivid and well-written, and the scenes where Penryn has to fight her assailants shows that the author knows what she’s talking about because they are realistically written. The chapters are mostly pretty short which made it easy to read even though most of the time they end in cliffhangers and you just can’t help but read on. I love that there is almost no romance in the entire book and it never gets in the way of the plot. In fact, it was very subtle that I almost wished that there would be more.
Angelfall, in my opinion, shows how people deal with the aftermath of a disaster. It’s not about a girl who realized that she’s the only person who can save the world or a girl who wants to be part of a rebellion who wants to take down their oppressors. Instead, it shows how a person who is stripped of everything they once considered ‘normal’ deal with a horrible situation. I feel that Angelfall is a realistic representation of how a person would react, how the first thing on their mind wouldn’t be to find love or to save the world from those who are trying to destroy it, but to survive in the harsh new reality. It shows how in a horrible situation, the first thing someone would want to do is to be with their family.
I think Angelfall is an amazing story with great characters, witty dialogue and twists you probably wouldn’t see coming. It’s dark, creepy and could get pretty violent, but I definitely enjoyed reading it from the beginning until the end. Shoutout to Liesje @A Thousand Lives for buddy reading Angelfall with me. I had a great time talking to you about the book and I hope we can do another buddy read in the future 🙂
“I never thought about it before, but I’m proud to be human. We’re ever so flawed. We’re frail, confused, violent, and we struggle with so many issues. But all in all, I’m proud to be a Daughter of Man.”
― Susan Ee,