by Susan Ee
Original Publishing Date: February 4, 2012
Length: 254 pages
Obtained Via: Borrowed from the library
Format Read In: Paperback
View at the Traffic light:
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.
Angelfall would have never really reached my reading radar if it wasn’t for Octavia of Read. Sleep. Repeat bringing it to my attention. Once I looked it up, I realized how many reviewers I trust have LOVED this book. That type of hype can be a bit intimidating, so I approached Angelfall with hesitancy, daring it to live up to my expectations. The question of course, is did it? Well, yes and no.
I certainly liked this book for a variety of reasons. One, and perhaps the main one, is HOORAY for utter apocalypse. This is not one of those books where it’s the end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it but the main characters never suffer. Nope, the way the world went down in this book I could buy as an angelic apocalypse. And for an angel book, it did a good deal more referencing the bible, God, etc. than most angel books, even if just to mention in passing that even in the bible, angels are not fluffy sweet flying things. And Angelfall sort of takes the whole God-and-angel thing along the lines of Supernatural in that only a handful of angels talk to God, so the chaos in the world makes sense book-wise.
Penryn was a fantastic character. Unlike so many Dystopian and post-apocalyptic main characters who start off as normal teenagers and then morph into hardened humans, Penryn is tough from the beginning. We get to see some of Penryn’s family situation that made her that way. Penryn’s mom struggles with hallucinations and visions while her sister is confined to a wheelchair. The whole situation makes Penryn’s survival understandable. Raffe was also a wonderful character to read on the page–the broken soldier who has conflicting loyalties, and since he’s one of the angels, we never get to quite see what’s going on is mind, which makes the mystery of his character even more appealing.
The last thing that I really LOVED was just the atmosphere of the book. We get to see quite a few places in Penryn’s world, and there are quite a few cases of mood whiplash. My favorite thing though is just how CREEPY, gritty, and DARK the world feels. New-found horrors for a new world. I LOVED those details.
However, there were some things I have trouble with. The main one is by the end, I still have NO answers. Now, during a series, I expect there to be more questions than answers in each book until the end, which I don’t have a problem with. But it’s another thing all together to really not know ANYTHING by the end of book one. Don’t know much about the angels, their purpose, etc. Some of it’s definitely spoiler-y at the end of the book I can’t talk about, but basically I’m left more confused about the world than when I started.
And the thing that really made me have trouble getting into this book was some of the writing, specifically, the metaphors Ee tends to use. I think Ee did a fantastic job of setting scenes and showing us great characters, but some of the metaphors and/or similes were just so awkwardly worded that I had trouble pushing through. Metaphors in general can be tricky to put in the middle of a scene and have them feel like they “fit”, and there were SO many in this book that just made me have to double-back and make sure I read it right. Especially in the first half of this book, I had trouble getting into the story because of that, and it took away quite a bit of my enjoyment.
Final Impression: There were two things that really threw me off in this book, so I didn’t love it as much as everyone else did, but I did like it! It was a different post-apocalyptic read and I appreciated how the world really did feel so BROKEN. It might not be a favorite for me like so many others, but I’d still recommend it and I’ll read the sequel! 3/5 cupcakes.