Title: Angelfall (Penryn and the End of Days book 1)
Author: Susan Ee
Genre(s): Young Adult, Paranormal, Apocalyptic
Release Date: May 21, 2011
Synopsis: Six weeks ago the world ended. Those cute little angel mosaics and statues? Turns out they’re about as far from the truth as it is possible to imagine. The apocalypse was not from an alien invasion or scientific invention. The world was destroyed by angels.
17-year-old Penryn Young doesn’t care about saving the world. She just wants to have her sister back, and there’s only one person who can help her. The only problem is that he’s not exactly human.
He’s a wingless angel named Raffe, and angels are the enemy.
If Penryn is to find her sister and Raffe is to get his wings back these two must make a temporarily alliance. Their only hope is to reach San Francisco where the angels have gathered in number, but there is no guarantee that arriving in San Francisco will give either of them what they want.
Review: When I told my friends I had read this book in one night they thought I was crazy. When I reached the “100%” mark on my e-reader in one sitting I was not at all surprised. I enjoyed this novel that much. Angelfall is the suspense grabbing, action-packed type of novel that leaves readers wondering “what happens next?”
I must admit that I came into this book with some doubts. To put it simply, I had a prejudice against self-published authors. But, this book has helped change that. If I hadn’t known before I started reading that this book had been self-published I never would have guessed.
One of the main reason this books works is our main character, Penryn. Unlike most of the heroine’s I’ve read lately Penryn is a very strong female lead who never forgets what’s at stake and is determined to find her sister no matter what the cost. Penryn isn’t about to let anyone push her around– not even Raffe.
Raffe knows this about Penryn. He lets Penryn fight her own battles and acknowledges her strengths. Some readers might be expecting some Penryn and Raffe insta-love thanks to all the paranormal romances in existence, but this was not the case. This book does contain a touch of romance, but it is mostly found in the last ten percent. Perhaps one of my favorite elements of this book was the absence of the “love triangle” cliche that plagues paranormal novels.
The usage of angels in this book was fairly well done. The author was trying to write an angel book that appeals to the general audience. I know that a lot of people are hesitant to read books containing angels because they either a) don’t read books that are preachy or b) don’t read books that are the opposite of preachy. As this book takes a neutral stance, neither audience is likely to have a problem with it on this regard.
Raffe is not your stereotypical angel from modern YA novels either– none of the angels in this novel are. Most novelists either decide to have the focus of their angel novel be on fallen angels or morally perfect beings who can do no wrong but Mrs. Ee has decided for her angels to be more like the angels of the Old Testament. Meaning that there is destruction to the point that the world can say goodbye to most of its major cities.
The world building was another strong point. This novel is set only a few weeks after the start of the apocalypses which results in characters who still remember their lives before and most modern infrastructure is still around but useless. I liked the way the author intermixed the highly popular Apocalyptic and Paranormal genres. I often see the two apart but almost never written into the same book, and I found the combination of angels and the end of the world to be a refreshing twist.
One of the only element that I didn’t enjoy was the cannibalism. I give a detailed analysis of my reasoning without giving away major spoilers so all I can say is I felt it was unnecessary.
This book was one of the best apocalyptic novels I’ve read in a while.
Disclaimers: If this book were a movie I’d rate it towards the more gruesome end of the PG-13 spectrum. This novel contains references to cannibalism and potentially disturbing depictions of dead bodies.
Rating/Recommendations: I recommend this book for people who enjoy strong heroines and are looking for a fast paced read. I would recommend reading this book when you have time set aside to read through it quickly.
I give this book 4.5/5 because I adored Penryn, liked that the romance remained a subplot, and found the world Susan Ee created facinating. The .5 is only taken off because I didn’t enjoy the way cannibalism is used in the story-line.