Saturday, December 31, 2011

Review: Angelfall

Title: Angelfall

Author: Susan Ee

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Part of a Series?: First in series

Goodreads Summary:
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.

I'm fighting my snooty, good-books-cost-more-than-99-cents-on-Amazon gag reflex here when I'm giving this book 5 (technically, 4.5 but it's still a MUST READ book) stars. There are certain issues I could point out about Angelfall, but I would much rather relish the great quality of the first book I've ever read that lives up to the epic potential of angels.

I wouldn't say that this book currently fills the shoes left by The Hunger Games, but Ee's story has the potential. I'll admit that the first couple of chapters were a little hard to get through because 1) I had to get over my previously mentioned prejudice against the "bargain books" of Amazon and 2) the start of the book was pretty formulaic: Penryn's sister is kidnapped, and in the process, Penryn joins up with the beautiful angel Raffe (who obviously is going to be the main love interest). But I had to eat my words--or thoughts--because the book continued to kick up the pace from that point on. I read past midnight with a huge migraine just to finish this book, showing how addictive Angelfall is once it gets its momentum.

The characters aren't just interesting -- they're believable. Penryn and Raffe, my favorite agnostic angel, are really realistic; in other words, they are not the Mary Sue byproduct of the YA author syndrome to create the perfect protagonists. Before writing this review, I read some other ones on Goodreads, and they all commented on the dialogue. Obviously, there is that spark of wit and sarcasm we all like to read, but I actually loved the moments when Penryn failed to come up with good comebacks. I mean, realistically, don't you ever have those moments when you finish the argument, and minutes later, you come up with some witty retort that you wish  you could've used?

Another point I really liked is the angel plot line. I'm not religious so I can't say whether the mythology is accurate or not, but I think everything was presented in a way that was believable. My debate coach used to say that, as long as you spoke with confidence, you could lie as much as you want and get away with it. Let's not get into the touchy morals of that statement, but the gist pretty much fits the book's angel premise. Ee is unabashedly confident with describing her "antagonists." I use quotation marks because it seems like there is a whole new level to them than just the blackhearted beasts that destroyed the world. I'd personally like to know more about what happened when Raffe went to get his wings reattached.

Gah, there is just so much to talk about for Angelfall. And can I say, this is only the first in the series! The last third presented so many questions and not enough answers. And the ending! PLEASE, I MUST KNOW WHAT HAPPENS NEXT! 


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