Review: Angelfall by Susan Ee


Summary (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.


Recommended by a friend, this sat on my TBR pile for years, that is until this summer. Anticipating it be a typical YA novel, I didn’t give it much thought or hold out much hope – big mistake!

Six weeks after the angels of the apocalypse descend to demolish the world, Penryn, her mother and little sister struggle to survive in a world where street gangs rule by day and ‘other creatures’ rule by night. When Penryn’s little sister is kidnapped by an angel, Penryn decides to do anything it takes, including making a deal with Raffe, an enemy angel (a gorgeous, Greek god-look alike angel) to save her sister. What ensues is a suspenseful, heart-breaking, frightening, moving, and non-stop, action packed race to not only save her sister, but also to possibly save what’s left of the human race.

In some ways, this is a typical YA novel in that it’s written in first person, so every thought and emotion is described in (sometimes painful) detail. There is the inevitable love story between the handsome Raffe and the ‘ordinary’ Penryn (but it doesn’t end the way you’d expect, which is good), a trend of most fantasy for young adults these days. Also, like some good YA with young girls as protagonists, Penryn is incredibly self-sufficient, knowledgeable in self-defense, and is the sole provider and protector of her family.

However, the refreshing aspects of the novel were the minor characters of Penryn’s schizophrenic mother, the resistance and its leader Obi, and the angels themselves (their motivation for the attack, the power struggle within their ranks, and their morality). The plot is also unusual – an angel attack is not quite the norm in fantasy/dystopian literature – especially where there are questions of faith, family, and loyalty are questioned.

What I am trying to very “wordily” explain is that this was a novel that took me by surprise in the best possible way. I was hooked from the first page and read compulsively to the end knowing that I would have an indeterminate wait for the next installment – the sequel, publication date yet to be announced, is called World After (Penryn & the End of Days, Book 2). For more information, check out Susan Ee’s blog:

If you enjoy fantasy or dystopian worlds or adventure or YA or all of these together, then I would highly recommend this one.



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