(book cover links to Goodreads)

Keywords: fantasy, young adult, religious paranormal?

Stars: ★★

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.

So first the good:
The story has taken several topics in Christianity and put a very nice spin on them. The most interesting being the idea behind angels, and while baddie angels aren’t something new, the structure and their goals where nicely touched upon in Angelfall.

I also really enjoyed the path the novel took after about halfway. Without spoiling too much, The setup for the next novel and the warm up of several subplots was well-executed.

Unfortunately, where there is good there is also less than good.

My biggest beef with Angelfall has to be Penryn’s “I know ten-or-so martial arts styles and am good at all of them enough to be a proficient fighter”. No.

I won’t go off on why it crumpled every bit of believability in Penryn’s character or why it isn’t possible to be good at a wide variety of fighting styles, but it killed my affection for the character and made me feel Susan Ee really could have spent a lot more time researching this. As well as giving Penryn some actual internal flaws, all of her perceived and unperceived flaws come from the world and people around her.

Penryn is a boring character. Sadly, more research also could have gone into exploring Penryn’s mother who has a mental illness but is presented as a caricature of mental illness.

However, the cast of other characters was very nice. They were well balanced, had interesting ideology, and flaws compose most of the cast.

All in all, it’s an ish-enjoyable read. But with the poor writing and research involving Penryn and the achingly slow middle of the book Angelfall fell flat.


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