Series: Penryn & the End of Days (book 1)
Author: Susan Ee
Genre(s): Post-apocalyptic, Dystopian, YA/NA, Romance, Paranormal, Angels
Main Character(s): Penryn Young, Raffe, Paige, Obadiah West
Rating: 5/5 stars
Susan Ee's website
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.
Recommended for ages 16 and up.
So. Freaking. Good.
This book is such a beautiful blend of the post-apocalyptic, paranormal, romance, horror, and YA genres. And honestly, other than the fact that there was a romantic thread weaved throughout and that the protagonist was a 17-year-old girl, it didn't feel YA to me--not in the way that books like The Iron King or Vampire Diaries felt YA. To reiterate this, I'll add that I've been off YA for a while now, favoring New Adult and Adult books for their tone, themes, and complexity, and still, I inhaled Angelfall.
I loved the premise, the idea that the biblical (and I mean that in a very loose Judeo-Christian sense) end of days will be filled with humans fighting back against the celestial beings carrying out armageddon is so unexpectedly awesome. I was impressed with Susan Ee's willingness to cross lines I'm hesitant to cross in my own writing. And in a way, I was inspired. So what are these lines she crossed?
Insanity. Honest, no-nonsense Paranoid Schitzophrenia. Penryn's mom suffers from it, and Penryn's experience dealing with and taking care of her is both harrowing and endearing.
Religion. She went there. There's an agnostic angel, good people fighting back against the angels just to survive, and speciesist angels who call humans "monkeys" and do experiments on humans that dwarf those done by the Nazis during WWII.
Mass-murder and systematic mutilation of children. These kids...it's like child Frankenstein meets The Ring. I mean...ack! And eeek! I'm a visual scaredy-cat, but not usually a mind's-eye one, and there was a portion of this book near the end where I couldn't go to sleep until Penryn had moved out of a certain area because a certain horrifying scene was seared into my mind. Nicely done, Ee, nicely, horrifyingly done, indeed.
*THE NEXT PARAGRAPH IS SPOILERY*
And then there's Penryn and Raffe, and the things Raffe says when he thinks she's dead. Tear my heart out, why don't you? And after that kiss? *frustrated sigh* I just hope he's not an eternally repressive, sexually frustrated angel, if you catch my drift... ;)
This book isn't long, but it's packed full of so much awesomeness that it's well worth a read. Oh, and the covers are gorgeous. Maybe you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but these babies totally fit. Angelfall. Read it.
Book 2 (which I'm reading now because, really, how could I wait?) is World After. So far, so damn good.