(Penryn & the End of Days #1)Susan Ee
Paranormal Young Adult/Dystopian
Amazon Children's Publishing
Received from Authors on the Web for review
THE STORY (from Goodreads)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.
MY THOUGHTSAngelfall is a striking debut, easily capturing our attention from the opening pages with Ms. Ee's version of a California newly decimated at the hands of entities we may have previously described as comforting, heavenly, and protective, but we must quickly revise our preconceived notions to include words like dark, brutal, and most disturbingly, evil. Though the concept of vengeful angels is certainly nothing new, Ms. Ee’s world still manages to feel unique, possessing a grittiness that has us instantly on the defensive as Penryn is met with violence in the very first chapter, her loyalty to her family something we can easily grab onto and hold tight as we’re pulled unceremoniously into the deep waters of an existence we’d much prefer stay relegated to the pages of fiction.
Penryn is a glorious young heroine, pushed into an unwanted leadership role with a wheelchair-bound younger sister and a severely paranoid schizophrenic mother, but she accepts her responsibilities with grim determination, even when faced with the horrors of her sister’s kidnapping and the rapid deterioration of her mother’s sanity. She’s not only quick of mind but also extremely strong of body, able to fight off angelic and human foes alike, yet she does so in a remarkably ordinary way to make us feel as though we might be able to achieve the same results were we in her shoes. When she's navigating this new and desolate world we are right there with her, easily projecting ourselves onto her as she continuously stumbles but always manages to right herself again, putting one foot in front of the other until she achieves her goal, large or small.
Raffe is different than we anticipate after reading the synopsis and learning of the destruction his kind have caused the human race, expecting a cold and hard warrior but instead finding a man with a wry sense of humor and youthful personality. He banters with Penryn from the moment she drags him bleeding from the street, often teasing and mocking her for the assumptions she makes about him as well as her remarkably ineffective attempts to restrain him. As Penryn often muses, he comes across amazingly human, the indifference and cruelty shown by others of his kind finding no home in his countenance as he continually protects Penryn from harm. Their relationship is one comprised of tension and hesitant partnership with an underlying romantic tinge, and their dealings with one another slowly and deliciously evolve from antagonistic to something thick with possibility. Perfect happiness is not to be found however, and our hearts suffer a stunning blow once we learn just how impossible this new and as-of-yet-undefined thing between them truly is.
Angelfall is not without it’s minor flaws, those readers who find themselves asking “why” a great deal while reading may balk at the lack of reasoning behind the angel attacks and their purpose in playing with humans the way they do, but it’s incredibly easy to tuck those few questions into the recesses of our minds as we travel with Penryn and Raffe, so caught up in their journey that the whys of their circumstances become inconsequential. Inevitably future books will expand what was only touched upon briefly in this first installment, with angel politics sure to become a much larger focus moving forward. The ending is a touch abrupt as well, though our main criticism upon reaching the last page is not that it leaves us hanging a bit, but more than it ends at all, our desire for more time with Raffe and Penryn a throbbing need we desperately want sated as soon as possible.
SPECIAL RAFFE EXTRAI was recently given the opportunity to ask Susan about Angelfall, and I enthusiastically jumped at the chance to talk to her about Raffe, requesting any tidbits of information about him she might be willing to share. She oh-so nicely sent me 5 important things we should all know about him, and if you're not in love with him after my review and this list, perfect, because that means I'll have a better chance with him ;-)
1. He's loyal to his angels
2. He's a legendary warrior
3. Everyone wants him on their team
4. He's led the campaign against angels fraternizing with Daughters of Men
5. He's been alone for a long, long time
How many of you volunteer to help Raffe out with number 5? *raises both hands*
GIVEAWAYThanks to Authors on the Web and Susan I have one copy of Angelfall to give away on the blog today. To enter, please just leave a comment on this post with a valid email address so I can contact if you if you win. Giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents only and will run through midnight EST on Friday, September 7th after which time a winner will be chosen and emailed. Good luck everyone!