Books like Angelfall are one the few reasons why readers shouldn’t give up on reading paranormal stories and picking up self-published books. The journey might be taxing but once you come across stories like Angelfall, all those hitches you’ve passed by will be greatly compensated. It is amazingly unique and greatly depicts Susan Ee’s superb devotion to the genre.
Rather than being your typical fluffy angel read wherein you daydream about being saved by a chiselled, glowing, haloed, creature of goodness; Angelfall will deliver you straight to a world of macabre and horror where angels are the warlords of blood and suffering. There will be no escape from it and the only thing you can do is to accompany Penryn and Raffe in their gruelling journey.
The first thing that I love about Angelfall is that it started strong. I was immediately thrust into an action filled scenario that got my adrenaline pumping. And the main characters immediately stood out to me. Penryn and Raffe are perhaps one of the oddest pair that you would stumble upon in Ee’s world of apocalypse but oh boy, they are a perfect match made in heaven. They have equal levels of bad-assery, arrogance, loyalty, ambitiousness and cunning. They’re two creatures who know what they want and wouldn’t rest until they get it. I SHIP THEM! I TOTALLY SHIP THEM, dammit!
And don’t get me started about the secondary characters. Penryn’s mom is a curious subject with her schizophrenia disorder. I am not an expert on it but based on my reading, Susan’s portrayal of the disease is almost realistic. However, her tendency towards violence is something that is subject for debate because schizophrenics are socially withdrawn and are more likely to hurt themselves than those around them. Another character that caught my attention was Paige. Heaven knows how I struggled not to kill the bastards who made her into a monster. Uriel and his cronies should be the ones sporting the devil’s wings and suffer eternal punishment in Hell for what they did. Grrrr.
Another asset of Angelfall is its fantastic world-building. The future Northern California is a perfect picture of anarchy and melancholy. The destruction felt authentic without resorting to terrible info dumps. It was scary with Ee’s talent of manipulating the book’s atmosphere to become dark and chilling.
Angelfall’s plot is also a gem. It’s an apocalyptic story laced with a seraphic mythos and sci-fi elements. Further to that, there’s a political intrigue amongst the angels here which is quite surprising. I mean, angels are supposed to be busy with fighting the Devil’s spawns but Angelfall tells us again that it’s not one of those riffraff books that failed to provide a concrete foundation about angelic community. For all their honourable reputations, angels are scheming, malicious bastards. There’s so much going on in this book that it’s hard to put down.
The only downside that I can point about Angelfall is that it has a huge parallelism with The Hunger Games in terms of plot driver. Everything that happened in THG was triggered because Katniss was uberly loyal to her sister. And her actions set things in motion that eventually led her to become the symbol of the rebellion. And here in Angelfall, our young heroine’s exploits are also the product of her relentless need to protect and save her sister. However, I was just glad that Paige’s role is more than that of Prim’s. And thus, I am willing to overlook the said likeness.
To conclude, Angelfall is not your average angel book. It exudes a sinister aura that will certainly make a great masochist out of a reader. Yes, it is painful…it is full of corruption…it is carnage contained in a book but despite all that, you will choose to read it… you will choose to endure.
Apocalypse is coming.