Review: Angelfall by Susan Ee

August 1, 2016 Books, Reading, Reviews 1 ★★★½

Review: Angelfall by Susan EeAngelfall by Susan Ee
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.
Series: Penryn & the End of Days #1
Published by Skyscape on August 28th 2012
Genres: Contemporary Fantasy, Paranormal, Post-Apocalyptic, Speculative Fiction, Teen Fantasy, Teen/YA Fiction
Pages: 325
Format: eBook
Find this book on Goodreads
Buy the Book at: Amazon
This book contains potentially triggering material. You can find details of potential triggers at the end of this review.

I think I stumbled upon this book while fighting insomnia one night. It must have been in an email from Amazon, and after I read the sample chapter, I was intrigued and bought it, hoping for an interesting apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic YA novel.

Angelfall has a few problems, but overall? I got my wish. It’s not your average dystopia or paranormal YA romance, the kinds that have flooded the market in recent years, though it definitely plays off of both of those genres. It’s a fresh take on the end of the world even though it uses a very old story: angels have come to cleanse the earth of humankind.

Penryn is in many ways a fairly typical YA heroine: she’s forced into a position of both independence and responsibility at a young age, particularly after the angels have left the Bay Area devastated. Her mother is mentally ill and borderline abusive, and her younger sister is physically disabled. Their mother’s grasp on reality has slipped badly, and the responsibility for taking care of the entire family falls to Penryn. She is competent, but she was forced into that competency by circumstance, and she often finds herself missing earlier days, before her father died, when she was allowed to just be a kid.

I like Penryn a lot. She’s an intelligent, stubborn smartass who refuses to give up and accept the bad things that life keeps throwing at her. She occasionally falls into the “someone is telling me it’s too dangerous to do The Thing, but I’m going to do The Thing anyway!’ trap, but I was happy to find that luck is mostly on her side. She’s not Too Stupid To Live, and instead has an occasionally uncanny sense of what to do at the right time to find, for example, information that she needs.

Raffe (which is pronounced raf-fee, and unfortunately makes me think of Raffi, the children’s singer) is a bit more of a wild card. He’s handsome and brooding and a bit of a jerk, but I appreciate how Ee slowly builds him up to be more than that typical YA handsome hero. Penryn never knows if she should trust him, even as her feelings toward him soften, and I really appreciate the complexity of their relationship. I also appreciate that despite the fact she finds him attractive, she doesn’t immediately fall for him.

My only real complaint about the book is its point of view/tense. It’s written in first person, present tense, which… is really not my favorite. It takes me a while to get into a book told in that POV/tense, and I did struggle a bit with Angelfall at first. But as the story really started rolling, I mostly forgot about my dislike of the POV/tense and just got into it.

It’s not without flaws, but Angelfall has me intrigued enough to want to know more. I’m definitely going to snag the rest of the series.

Content warnings: View Spoiler »