First of all, I would just like to say that I, along with many other YA aficionados, have really bad experiences when it comes to books that has something to do with angels. This paranormal archetype has been used in some of the most terrible YA books to ever come out in the history of YA Fiction, and yes I am talking about Hush Hush, Fallen, and Halo. These are just really bad books with angels in them as main characters and/or love interests, and they were so traumatizingly horrible that they made me super cautious about jumping into the angels bandwagon again. This is the reason why I kept on putting off reading Angelfall. It was in my Kobo for months before I even decided to give it a try.
And now all I can say is WOW.
Seriously. My logical mind predicted this book to be bad, bacause a.) it has angels in it and we all know how well that turned out for Lauren Kate and Becca Fitzpatrick and b.) it is a self-published book, which, you know, stereotypically means it’s not that good. But boy, did this book trash all of my logical predictions. It did so in a way that surprised me and completely caught me off guard.
Why is this book so good? It’s because Susan Ee’s depiction of the dystopian world we found Penryn in is so tragically beautiful in all its glorious monstrosity that we can’t help but fear it and at the same time, want to know all about it. In a post-apocalyptic world, Penryn Young struggles to keep her family alive and afloat despite the tide of disaster that is threatening to overwhelm them. With a troubled mother and a disabled sister, Penryn is the only person that can be trusted to make decisions that would keep all of them safe in an unsafe world. But what is causing all this havoc and chaos in the first place? Angels. That’s right. Winged monsters from the heavens who are as ruthless and brutal as they are beautiful.
The conflict of the book starts when Penryn rescues Raffe, an angel who was injured in a fight with five others of his kind. Our heroine soon realizes that the price for this act of kindness was more than she was willing to pay as it becomes clear that her sister Paige, the person she loves more than anything else in the world, was captured by one of the five angels who attacked the one she just saved. Determined to get her sister back at all costs, Penryn decides to take a risk and forges an unlikely alliance with a reluctant and arrogant heavenly creature whose entire race was the enemy of her own.
This is not your usual fraternizing with the enemy kind of tale, where at some point while camping on the dark forest floor the characters decide they were attracted to each other so they jump each other’s bones the first opportunity they get. No, thank you. The farthest Susan Ee took us into the romance department were Penryn and Raffe’s sharp, sarcastic banter, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Only a hint of a budding love was given because both characters have more pressing issues to attend to, and yet it only made this book a lot more enjoyable (and the sequel that much more covetable). You know it’s a good book when the author doesn’t need to bombard you with cheesiness and smut every 3rd page just to keep you interested.
Penryn as a character is very admirable and memorable. She is sassy and compassionate and brainy and full of steely determination to do what needs to be done no matter what it takes to get there. She knows how to kicks ass literally and is an overall warrior princess in all the ways that matter, and though she acknowledges Raffe’s physical allure, she does not act stupid in his presence just because of it. A+ for the self preservation, Susan. A++++
Y’all girls need to read about Penryn Young.
Anyway, this book is also full of action not limited to the main characters alone. There is a hidden military camp that aims to save the day, cannibals that lurk in the black of night, and supernatural experiments so nightmarish in their description that they make your shiver. In short, this beautiful story is backdropped by such unspeakable horrors that it creates a very interesting contrast in the narrative which works astoundingly well with all the elements of the story. Add this to the fact that Susan Ee’s version of angels are in accordance with the mythical cannon, which means she knows her shit and she knows it well.
All in all, this book has now landed itself a place in my shelf entitled BEST BOOKS EVER and Penryn Young has just secured herself a spot in my ALL-TIME FAVORITE BAD-ASS HEROINES list. Did I mention that Susan Ee is joining the exclusive club of my favorite authors whether she likes it or not? Well she is and she can’t do anything about it now. But you know what else is great about this book? It only costs $4.99 for paperback and $3.99 for Kindle. It’s so unbelievably affordable for a book of this caliber. I honestly think it should cost like, $20.00 or something.
To cap it all, I am just so glad I opened Angelfall when I did because otherwise, I would have deprived myself the opportunity to read something that is just plain excellent. You, too, should do yourself a favor and grab a copy of this insanely brilliant book now.
Trust me, you won’t regret it.