Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Review: Angelfall by Susan Ee

Finished: December 28, 2011

Pages: 255

Series: Penryn & the End of Days (#1)

Synopsis: 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.

You can read the first five chapters of Angelfall at Susan’s website.


“Angels are violent creatures.”
“So I noticed. I used to think they were all sweet and kind.”
“Why would you think that? Even in your Bible, we’re harbingers of doom, willing and able to destroy entire cities. Just because we sometimes warned one or two of you beforehand doesn’t make us altruistic.” 

Thoughts: So many rave reviews have been posted for this book in the past few days, that I’m probably just preaching to the choir at this point, but I enjoyed this book so much that I want to promote it so others can find it too. So here I am, adding to the praise!

I devoured this book so quickly, I almost wonder if I’m capable of writing a detailed review about it. I walked away from it in a sleepy and satisfied daze, though shocked at the ending. I love a book that is unpredictable, and this book was certainly that. If you think you know exactly what is going to happen in the end, you’re probably wrong.

Angelfall starts off and reminds me a lot of both The Hunger Games and Daughter of Smoke and Bone right away. The main character is fiercely independent and tough when it comes to making hard decisions, very reminiscent of Katniss, and the setting is dark and gritty and easy to imagine. The author crafts her words in a way that allow you to fully envision the world, which I’ve found is not something every author does for me. Penryn also has a mother and sister that she is responsible for, but their relationships are deeply twisted. Despite the comparisons to the aforementioned books, this book is a whole other animal entirely. I don’t claim to know the publishing world, but I almost wonder if one reason this book is so good is because the author self-published the novel, and didn’t have anyone she had to please. There are some things in this book so horrific that it’s shocking, and there are some uses of language by male soldiers that you wouldn’t expect to see in a YA novel, but they work. They feel real in this world that is supposed to be the end of days. Some post-apocalyptic novels don’t manage to capture the feeling that the world has gone completely mad, they don’t want to make things too gritty and dark for their heroine even if that is what would be realistic, but in this book, Susan Ee accomplishes just that. Cannibals, anyone?

The romance in this book is A+. While at times it does stray into the cliche of Penryn obsessing over the angel’s beauty in her private thoughts, it never really became annoying, and she stayed focused on the task at hand. The romance in this book takes a backseat to the story, as it should in a world where so many things are happening, and as a result the end feels all the more heart-wrenching and real. You could actually feel this love develop, see how it might have become what it is, and you don’t feel manipulated. This is important.

I’ve never been a fan of books centered around angels, but it seems after 2011, I can no longer say that is so. I enjoyed Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Unearthly, and now Angellfall immensely. I even think the angels in Angelfall were the most interesting. They are evil (but not all) and their wings and skin are unnatural colors. The author also takes the mythology and sticks close to it but spins it into something truly exciting. I don’t know much about religion, but after the end of the book, I looked up the things referenced here and appreciated the book even more when I was through.

Self-published? Yes. I’ve never really read self-published books. I simply do not have the time to sift through for the hidden gems, when I’ve got so many other books on my shelves already, but this novel stands as proof that these gems are out there, and they need to be noticed. This was truly one of my favorite novels of the year and I could easily see it as a movie. It is better than several of the other hyped dystopian novels I’ve read and far more deserving of recognition. I truly hope the author receives it.

Recommendation: Dystopia lovers, Fantasy lovers, Angel lovers, Mythology lovers, Instalove haters, seekers of badass protagonists.


Five out of Five Coffees

Angellfall is on sale now only (currently) in Ebook format. You can purchase it right now at Amazon and Barnes & Noble for only 99cents! You do not need to have a Kindle device to purchase from Amazon. You can download the Kindle App on to your Apple device or computer.

Extras: Want to check out some other perspectives on Angelfall? Find other reviews at The Nocturnal Library and The Midnight Garden.

Looking for other books similar to this one? You might also like The Hunger Games, Daughter of Smoke and Bone and Pure.


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