Monday, September 3, 2012

REVIEW: Angelfall by Susan Ee

TITLE: Angelfall
AUTHOR: Susan Ee
MY RATING: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
PUBLISHED: August 28, 2012
RATING: Young Adult
GENRE: Post-Apocalyptic, Supernatural
ISBN: 9780761463276
PURCHASE LINKS: Amazon // Barnes & Noble


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.


Angels? Seriously?

These were the two main thoughts that went through my mind when I saw this book. I'm not a 'when angels fall' kind of reader. I find the books desperately depressing and more than a little too far-fetched for my liking. However, it's amazing what desperation can lead you to reading. Besides, it had a decent cover!

The lead female character is Penryn. What can I say about her? Well, she's smart. And she's strong, emotionally and mentally. She has had to take care of both her mother and her little sister for quite sometime; it's made more difficult in that her sister is crippled and in a wheelchair. She's loyal and she's responsible and has taken a massive load onto her shoulders for a person who is only 17 yrs old.

The two lesser female characters are Penryn's mother and her sister. Penryn's (or Pen, as she is known in the book) mother is mentally ill and is an...shall we say 'interesting' character within the book. As stated before, her sister is in a wheelchair. While the circumstances surrounding her being in a wheelchair are never really explained, there is enough allusion to make you suspect something incredibly tragic had happened.

The male lead is the angel Raffe. As stated in the synopsis, Raffe ends up being stripped of his wings and has to learn how to be 'human'. He is more than the 'Strong, Silent Type'. He almost takes it to an extreme, but at times will show an amazingly gentle soul.

During the course of Pen's desperate escape from the city, she is cornered on a deserted street due to Raffe's confrontation with other angels. Pen attempts to draw the other angels' attention from Raffe and instead causes all of their attention to fall on her and her family; this results in her sister being abducted and taken to what is eventually known as 'The Aviary'. The story centers around Pen's resolution to find both her mother and her sister and get them all to safety. You learn that Pen is resourceful and has been well-trained in martial arts.

There were several things that I greatly enjoyed about this book. The first being that all of the fight scenes involving Pen were written very convincingly. Even down to remarking on the joke that I have with my husband:
Why yes. Because in 'real fights', the villains will always wait their turns to attack you.
In the fight scenes, it is realistic, rough and dirty. Pen has to use all of her knowledge and skills and the villians don't just stop because she's managed to get a few shots in. And given that it is a post-apocalyptic setting, desperation for survival make the fights all the more down and dirty.

The connection that you see beginning to develop between Raffe and Pen is believable as well. There's not an immediate "Oh My God, I can't live without you!' moment. As it grows, the reader feels it starting to creep into them, as well. You can't help but wish that the two of them could just work it all out! You spend the whole book wondering, "Is there going to be more? Oh No! - she's never going to trust him now! Wait... maybe...!" It's written in such a manner that you have to keep reading if for no other reason than to see what's going to happen between the main characters.

I personally loved the dialogue and the descriptions of Pen's thoughts. It was believable, or as believeable as an Angel Revolution Apocalypse can be at any rate. Raffe's dialogue could be a bit stiff at times, but when you look at the fact that he's a Fallen Angel, you find that you can usually overlook it.

The ending of this book, the final scene, almost had me in tears. It was heartbreaking and well written.

Now... there were a couple of things that I had a hard time with. I can't go into great detail, given that to do so would create the need for major spoilers. However, I can allude to them.

The first issue is what the angels are doing with all of the abducted children. Personally, I found this a completely unnecessary plot device, but since there's a sequel coming out shortly, I figure that it's probably going to be central in that piece.

Secondly, I was never able to really figure out what the angels were doing in the city other than what was going on with the abducted children. It seemed like towards the end, the author sort of jumbled a lot of information together and left the reader to sort it out.

The last issue I had is what ends up happening to Raffe. Again, I felt that it was a bit overdone and not really necessary as many other things had already hit you in the gut. Not only that, but I was not completely clear as to why it was done. Again, as I stated, the end of the book felt like an overload of information.

All in all, it was great read and I found that I was able to read it fairly quickly. The writing was excellent and well-paced for my liking and while I had a hard time suspending my disbelief on some of the points in the book, overall I found that I really enjoyed it! I definitely recommend it to other supernatural lovers and to people who enjoy reading post-apocalypse books.


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