Book Review: Angelfall by Susan Ee

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Angelfall by Susan Ee

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Title: Angelfall

Author: Susan Ee

Series: Penryn and the End of Days (#1)

Publisher: Feral Dream

Publication Date: 5-21-11

Pages: 283

Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian, Fantasy

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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.

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Going into this book, I was a little skeptical. “Angels? Are you kidding me?” But, considering that I recently read (and loved) a romance novel starring werewolves (Feral Sins by Suzanne Wright), I figured that I should at least give this one a shot.

One thing that I do have to mention is that I noticed a lot of grammatical/punctuation errors in the ebook version. Granted…I’m an editor. But, still. I’m pretty good about not letting that part of my brain affect me too much when I’m reading for fun, but it was noticeable enough that it was bothering me quite a bit, starting pretty early on in the book.

Another thing that I noticed right off the bat is that the characters are sort of similar to those in The Hunger Games — badass, teenage female; younger, helpless sister; irresponsible mother; nonexistent father; and a hot guy. I was a little bit wary of how similar the character structures were at first, but this book turned out to be VERY different from The Hunger Games, with that being the only similarity.

Now that I’ve finished the book, I’m really not quite sure what to say about it. I didn’t love it, but I didn’t hate it. I’m glad I read it, though, because it was interesting, and also a new genre for me. Apparently this whole dystopian angel theme is a “thing” now, so it was cool to get a taste of it. But there were a lot of things that I didn’t like about this book…

First of all, the relationship between God and the humans, as well as God and the angels, was so confusing in this book. The author was trying to get the reader to question what we normally would think of as an “angel,” but the book left me with tons of actual questions and zero answers at the end. I know that it’s part of a series, but there needs to be some kind of resolution, and there really wasn’t.

Going along those same lines, this book had an immature vibe to it. The writing style was amateurish, and there wasn’t a lot of character development. We learn literally nothing about Penryn’s life before the whole dystopia thing happened, and nothing at all about Raffe. While it seemed like the story could’ve really gone someplace, as there was a few surprising moments and lot of interesting twists that I’m curious about, it was, again, very confusing. We start the book not knowing anything about this strange world that angels have apparently destroyed and claimed for their own, and the book ends without having cleared any of that up. I think I do want to keep reading the series, mostly just to find out what the heck is going on, but I’m frustrated by the fact that this book that had zero resolution on its own.

There were some parts of the book that I did really like. I thought that the dynamic between Penryn and Raffe was intriguing, although it did seem to be kind of the cookie-cutter teen novel relationship at times. I also really liked a lot of the scenes towards the end of the book, where lots of stuff is going on and we get to see things happening with the angels (trying to be nonspecific here). And some of it was seriously downright creepy. I was not expecting the book to go to that dark of a place, but it really goes there…and I liked it.

This book had a lot of potential to turn into something great, but ultimately I wish that the author had spent a little bit more time on it, in order to turn it into something more whole and leave us with a better understanding of this world and its characters.

**I originally read this book back in April of 2013, but that was before I started this blog. I decided to post it now, because the second book in this series, World After, is about to be released in a few weeks!**

(see this review on Goodreads)

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4 responses to “Book Review: Angelfall by Susan Ee

  1. Pingback: Weekly Wrap-Up (#5) |·

  2. I’ve been hearing a lot of good things about this book. According to reviews, it sort of made Goodreads explode with reviews of the book a while ago. I’m glad that you were able to enjoy this book, even if you thought it could have been better.

    I love the sound of the story but I’m a little worried, since you thought that the book had an immature vibe to it. I really pay attention to character development when I read and, although I am more forgiving of books that are first in a series, I don’t like to be confused about a book’s world.

    However, it does seem like Angelfall offers an entertaining story and, hey, maybe the author decides to fix up the stuff that you had trouble with in World After 🙂 I have this book on my Kindle but haven’t read it yet… Hopefully I will enjoy it. Amazing review, Miranda.

    (You’re an editor? Do you work for a book publishing company? Even if you don’t, that’s pretty awesome! I’m actually thinking of being an editor when I grow up (since I like working with words), even though my grammar might not be the best now. )

    • Since you already own it, you should probably just read it, haha. There were a lot of things about it that I didn’t like, but there were also a lot of really unique qualities to it and I’m really interested to see where the series goes. I’ll probably have a better sense of whether I would recommend it or not after reading the second one.

      I don’t specifically remember what I was talking about in regards to the immaturity. I think that it was maybe the dialogue? It really bothers me when there’s unrealistic/poorly written conversations. But don’t quote me on that, haha.

      The MC does have some character growth within the novel (although, not tons). My problem was more with the development of the characters as a whole — they don’t really have background stories, so it was hard to relate to them and get a sense of who they are/their motivations. I just wanted to specify, because I wasn’t sure which kind you meant.

      Yes, I’m an editor! I work for my Dad’s publishing company. We do books and have a bimonthly magazine. I’ve always wanted to do something with words ever since I was little. I originally wanted to be an English teacher, but there were some complications at my University, and I wasn’t able to switch into the Education program (long story, haha). So I ended up with an English degree and now am working for my father! I’m not sure if that’s where I will be forever, but I’m really enjoying the job so far (it’s been about a year).

  3. Ahh, yours is the only review I’ve read that really echoes my feelings about this book. While it was a great dystopian read, the concept of fallen angels didn’t sit very well with me. Great review!

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