Review: Angelfall (Penryn & the End of Days #1) – Susan Ee

Release Date: May 23rd 2013 (first published May 21st 2011)
Published By: Hodder and Stoughton
Pages: 325
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Purchase: Click here to purchase

Rating: 5 out of 5

Synopsis: It’s been six weeks since the angels of the apocalypse destroyed the world as we know it. Only pockets of humanity remain.

 
Savage street gangs rule the day while fear and superstition rule the night.

When angels fly away with a helpless girl, her seventeen-year-old sister Penryn will do anything to get her back…

Review:

Now this is a how a book about angels should be written! I utterly loved Angelfall – I enjoyed everything about it – from the post-apocalyptic world, to the descriptions of angel feathers, to the character’s personalities, to the combination of hope and horror.

Angelfall is set in post-apocalyptic world, where six weeks ago angels descended to earth and destroyed the world as we know it. Fear and destruction rule, and for Penryn this scary new existence is only the start of her journey. Right from the start Angelfall has plenty of action, with Penryn and her family finding themselves caught in the crossfire of a fight between angels. As Penryn watches in horror as an angel has his wings brutally cut off him by others of his kind,  she feels the need to try to help the now wingless angel, and by doing this she aggravates the attackers, who in turn kidnaps her little sister, Paige.

As the unlikely pair of a broken warrior angel and a teenage girl set out to get Raffe’s wings back and to rescue Penryn’s sister, their relationship slowly goes from thinly veiled contempt, to reluctant acceptance, to being amused, to protecting each other. During their struggle to find food and shelter and basically just trying to survive death, war, and other unimaginable horrors along their journey, they slowly get to know each other and learn to rely on each other.

Penryn is a fantastic protagonist – she is fierce, loyal, stubborn, and realistic and is mortified with herself when she catches herself thinking about her wingless and sarcastic companion. Her loyalty to her family is astounding, and her desperate desire to protect her sister, and her struggle with, but acceptance of, her schizophrenic mother is conveyed flawlessly. Penryn has not had a simple life, but she takes it all in her stride and even thought she is has survive an apocalypse, she hasn’t let it change who she is.  She is smart, funny, determined and she kick-ass.

Raffe is a perfect example as to why I think that Susan Ee is literary mastermind. Here is a character that I should have basically hated right from the start – if for nothing else, but for the fact that he is (constantly) described as an Adonis. Focus on a male characters looks, and specifically the description of an Adonis, normally drives me crazy, and it instantly makes me dislike the male lead, the female protagonist, and the book in general. However, Susan Ee didn’t make me feel any of those things – not once. The descriptions of Raffe, even “Adonis”, somehow suited the characters – and I can honestly say I never thought I would say that I like a male character constantly referred to that way (or the female character saying it).  I don’t know how Susan Ee managed it, but she got me to not only overlook it, but to accept it as part of the storyline. (Bravo Susan Ee). So, all in all, I loved Raffe, I think this character is great. Sarcastic, egoistical, determined, withdrawn, dangerous, protective, and beautifully sweet. He is clearly hiding many secrets, and he doesn’t reveal things about himself unless he has to, but you can clearly see his fascination in Penryn, and the fact that his unknowingly getting drawn in. Sadly, due to spoilers, I cannot tell you the one thing I really loved, but let me say this, this one tiny little thing would have won me over if nothing else had. We find out at one stage about some of Raffe’s beliefs – and he reveals something that I thought was utter genius! For me, this is where it was confirmed that Susan Ee is a mastermind – the irony in this one detail was brilliant – I loved it!

I also loved the use of “minor” characters throughout this book, and it is clear that certain characters will develop later in the series, and may even become key players. However, you can’t exactly tell how, as the mixture of good and evil, hidden motives, secret desires and unknown plans are layered together, creating a complexity of darkness and hope.

With a darkly beautiful prose, Susan Ee has an amazing ability to write with a mix of intrigue and horror, hope and awe. She has created a world filled with action, intensity, gore, determination, loyalty and hope. This book has an amazing plot, with twists you couldn’t imagine, and it had me hooked from the very first page until the moment I put it down. I highly recommend this book! Go read it!

Due to the violence in this book, it is recommended to ages 16 and up – but if you are above this age bracket – you are in for one hell of treat!!

 

Quotes:

“You are nothing but a bird with an attitude. Okay, so you have a few muscles, I’ll grant you that. But you know, a bird is nothing but a barely evolved lizard. That’s what you are.”

“We now play a permanent game of I-am-crazier-and-scarier-than-you. And in that game, my mother is our secret weapon.”

“Asleep, he looks like a bleeding Prince Charming chained in the dungeon. When I was little, I always thought I’d be Cinderella, but I guess this makes me the wicked witch.
But then again, Cinderella didn’t live in a post-apocalyptic world invaded by avenging angels.”

“Your sense of judgement could use a dash of common sense.”

“A sense of humor is one more thing I don’t think angels should have. The fact that his sense of humor is corny makes it even more wrong.”

“I wonder which will get you killed faster—your loyalty or your stubbornness?”

“It is not the gentle kiss of a couple on a first date, nor is it the kiss of a man driven by simple lust. He kisses me with the desperation of a dying man who believes the magic of eternal life is in this kiss.”

What do you think?

  • So glad you enjoyed this one! I have to agree about the Adonis thing – normally stuff like that makes me absolutely gag and roll my eyes but it really fit with Raffe’s character. Plus, he wasn’t just good-looking, and there was a lot more to his personality that balanced it all out I think.

    • Kristy says:

      Hi Kayla. I really really did enjoy this one! I am glad I am not alone in the Adonis thing, I generally find that type of thing a complete turn-off, but not in this book. Maybe it was because Raffe’s personality balanced it out, but I also didn’t find it annoying when Penryn said it (I am normally thinking “really? that’s all you can think of?”).. which is also a huge testament to her character and the writing in general.

  • Cait D says:

    Oh gosh, I really need to read this! I’ve seen it (and the sequels) everywhere, and everyone seems to think they’re pretty awesome. I, for one, am mostly in love with the cover.

    • Kristy says:

      Hi Cait. Yes, the cover is stunning! That was one thing that certainly drew me in, however after reading it, the cover took a backseat to the book (although still beautiful). I hope that you enjoy it as much as I did when you do read it!

  • I really want to read this book D: I mean, a copy is on its way but it just HAD to get lost somewhere, which sucks, because people have been recommending this book to me for ages now. And Raffe sounds like literary genius! I’d love to see how the author makes the constant use of ‘Adonis’ acceptable XD So yeah, great review as always!

    • Kristy says:

      Oh no! There is nothing worse when a book gets lost – why does that always happen to the ones we really want to read? I can’t wait to hear what you think of Raffe and his Adonis description :) Happy reading!!
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