Author: Susan Ee
Series: Penryn and the End of Days #1
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Date: May 2013
Source: ARC from publisher
Genres: Dystopian, Paranormal
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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.
Susan Ee is a brave woman. Not only for originally self-publishing this great book back in 2011, but for writing a book that takes all the gloss away from angels. Angelfall is stripped back tale of an apocalyptic world that is scarily real. The book made me laugh, cry, swoon and quiver in fear and loathing. It was an exceptional story with characters to love.
6 weeks after the angels destroyed the world as we know it, Penryn Young witnesses a brutal attack—someone getting his wings cut off by his fellow angels. After she tries to intervene, the attackers kidnap her sister and she’s left with a half-dead angel, a pair of snowy wings and no idea what to do. Against her better judgement (or maybe because of it), she keeps the injured Raffe alive and forces him to give her information on where to find her sister, using his wings as blackmail.
Reading through Penryn and Raffe’s quest was like walking on eggshells. Every situation they encountered had my nerves frayed because that one wrong move could spell disaster, and I have to hand it to Ee for creating a perfectly balanced story in terms of tension, humour, action and horror. My heart hasn’t ached like this through a book in a long time. The story was shock after shock, none bigger than that ending.
Penryn was wonderful. She’s got a strong survival instinct, honed through years of martial arts training and having to care for her schizophrenic mother and her wheelchair-bound sister Paige. She’s focused, sometimes too stubborn, as knows what she wants to achieve and will stop at nothing to get it. She’s also a delightful narrator, and the book is filled with her smart quips and wry observations. Raffe is equal parts terrifying and charming, as you would expect from an angel. He’s got his own dry humour, but when his skill and anger come through, it’s really mesmerising to read about him. Props to Ee for creating an agnostic angel made believable.
I loved Penryn and Raffe’s relationship. It started with nothing less than hate, only keeping each other alive for selfish reasons. Then it grew to an uneasy alliance, grudging respect, potentially friendship and finally just the slightest hints of attraction. Their banter was glorious, full of sharp dialogue, witty teasing and a good dose of sarcasm.
This book is definitely worth picking up, even if you’re not particularly a dystopian or a paranormal fan. It’s something I find myself recommending to my ‘non-bookish’ friends because it’s just that good.