Angelfall by Susan Ee

Genre: YA/Fantasy
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: I love anything to do with angels, and the more biblically accurate they are in their ruthless violence, the better. Vampires, werewolves and zombies are definitely the anti-heroes of the day, but I wish there were more, well-written books about angels. Until that happens, this one will certainly do the trick. It is a fairly light read with some unexpectedly heavy elements. I could have taken an extra hundred pages with a bit more depth - but allowing for its YA status, it ain't bad.

I didn't have high hopes going into it, as most YA fantasy tends to involve some form of romance. Not only does this one have nothing bordering on regular YA/fantasy romance, I'd even go so far as to say there isn't any in this book. Some setup for future romance, maybe, but honestly by then I'm totally going to buy it, and that's an achievement. And in the meantime, this romance-independent novel instead focuses on building a small cast of likeable, if not nice, characters and depicting a slice of world-wide catastrophe through their eyes. While quite a few Bella-Swan-esque observations about the beauty of angels irked me somewhat, the main character Penryn is actually a pretty level-headed, streetwise heroine who can really hold her own. By contrast, the main angel Raffe is a tad undercooked for my taste, but still a respectably serious character.

The story reeled me in pretty quickly, with some really interesting and creative elements - for example the mentally-deteriorated (and yet still strong and independent) character of Penryn's mother. The darkly comedic decoration of a corpse early in the book was the first point that I stopped and thought 'okay, this could be pretty good'. Some small surprises and interesting creatures sealed that appraisal by halfway through. The appeal dipped a bit at one point about two thirds of the way in, but then revved right back up into a deeply disturbing end sequence which, honestly, brings about resolution of each character's primary goals in such a twisted and borderline way that it left me dying to see what happens next. I already have the next book ready to go.

Rating: 4/5

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