Wendy Darling's Reviews > Angelfall

Angelfall by Susan Ee
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In the beginning, it starts with a single feather drifting slowly down from the sky. When 17-year-old Penryn sees this simple sight, she is filled with incredible dread, because this lovely, floating, ephemeral thing is an unlikely sign of terrible things to come.

Six weeks after a devastating attack on earth, the world has been torn apart by a war between angels and humans. Caught up in a battle she doesn't understand, Penryn watches in horror as an angel named Raffe is cornered and brutally stripped of his wings. In trying to help, she antagonizes one of the perpetrators and is forced to watch as her wheelchair-bound little sister is taken away. Penryn angrily demands that Raffe provides information and assistance in finding her sibling, and the two natural enemies must work together to outwit danger at every turn.

If you've been searching high and low for a worthy successor to The Hunger Games, the wait is finally over. Susan Ee's stunning debut novel is the perfect combination of post-apocalyptic YA + cannibals + badass angels + kickass heroine, and it blew me away with its perfectly paced blend of action, story, and emotional tension. Penryn is a fantastic heroine, a whip-smart, funny girl who happens to be awesome in combat. I also found her interactions with her schizophrenic mother to be very touching, and it's impossible not to admire how her desperate resolve to find her sister never falters. As for Raffe...who the hell thinks of writing an agnostic angel? Brilliant! And so intriguing. Raffe is clearly hiding secrets, but it's impossible not to be drawn to him anyway. His relationship with Penryn develops slowly and naturally as they struggle to find shelter and to survive in bleak circumstances (yeah, they eat cat food at one point), all against a bleak backdrop of a war and all kinds of unspeakable horrors.

Readers who are uneasy with more gruesome books should be warned that there are some pretty intense scenarios, although they are tastefully (view spoiler) done and mostly appear in aftermath, rather than in present action. For my somewhat twisted sense of humor and enjoyment of creepy visuals, it was exciting to find an author who writes such dark and vivid imagery, however, and I'd say that if you're someone who's comfortable reading zombie books, you'd probably be okay with what happens here. Not that I didn't want to run around screaming when Penryn and Raffe happen upon the...things hanging in trees, mind you. But that's all part of the fun.

I have a few minor quibbles, mostly about Penryn's failure to ask and demand enough answers, as this seemed completely out of character for someone who grits her teeth and cool-headedly calculates whether she can keep someone alive long enough to be of use to her. It was frustrating and implausible that in such forced intimacy, a girl like this wouldn't have mercilessly hounded the information out of her traveling partner. I also wish we'd learned a bit more about the war and about the ghoulish experimentations that were going on, although you can certainly put some of that down to my general impatience to read the rest of this 5-part series. My quibbles are far outweighed by my rampant enthusiasm over this book, however, as the action-packed story, sharp and funny dialogue, macabre touches, unforgettable characters, and well-researched angelology all make for an incredible read. The twists and turns in this story are superbly done, and even if you happen to guess one of the major plot points that will have a major effect on the future books, it's not going to matter. And that's the mark of a book that can and will be read again and again.

I'd strongly recommend this book for: readers who were mesmerized by the grim beauty of The Reapers Are the Angels, zombie enthusiasts who enjoyed the spectacular first half of Ashes, people who loved the creepiness of Anna Dressed in Blood, anyone who was drawn to the idea of evil angels in Angel Burn, skeptics who thought that chick in Aftertime should have spent more time thinking about her daughter, action junkies who enjoyed the fight scenes in Divergent and Blood Red Road and Legend but wanted a little more substance, anyone who liked Daughter of Smoke and Bone, anyone who expected more from Smoke & Bone. And finally, anyone who appreciates a truly original and exciting story. Period.

This review also appears in The Midnight Garden.

About the Book

Buy this book NOW! It's only 99 cents as an ebook at the moment for Kindle and Nook, and may also be read on your computer or Smartphone. If you're undecided even after seeing all the phenomenal reviews of this book, you should read the first 5 chapters on the author's website. Update: the book is also available for purchase as a paperback from Amazon.

And believe it or not, this book also happens to be self-published. I'm not sure why Susan Ee decided to go the indie route with this book, but I'm quite sure it was by her choice and her design. Regardless of whether you read it now or whether you read it later when it's available as a print book, I can't imagine that most readers won't have a tremendous time with it. This is an author worth supporting, and how exciting it is to find her so early in her writing career.

A Thank You to My Lovely Friends

This is one of those cases where GoodReads must be thanked for providing such a great platform for all of us to find out about such incredible books. If it weren't for the amazing reviews written by Michelle and AH back in July and for Jen's nudging a few weeks ago, I never would have read it, and neither would many of my friends. If you've found your way to this book and enjoyed it, I hope you'll please do your part in helping someone else find it as well.

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Quotes Wendy Darling Liked

Susan Ee
“I am not afraid of you, your kind, or your god.”
Susan Ee, Angelfall

Susan Ee
“It is not the gentle kiss of a couple on a first date, nor is it the kiss of a man driven by simple lust. He kisses me with the desperation of a dying man who believes the magic of eternal life is in this kiss.”
Susan Ee, Angelfall

Susan Ee
“I am an ant in the battlefield of the gods. There's no room for pride or ego, and barely enough room for survival.”
Susan Ee, Angelfall

Susan Ee
“I never thought about it before, but I'm proud to be human. We're ever so flawed. We're frail, confused, violent, and we struggle with so many issues. But all in all, I'm proud to be a Daughter of Man.”
Susan Ee, Angelfall

Susan Ee
“The thought of superhuman beings with human temptations and flaws sends a chill through me.”
Susan Ee, Angelfall

Reading Progress

July 15, 2011 – Shelved
December 23, 2011 – Started Reading
December 23, 2011 –
17.0% "I am blown away at how good this book is. Blown. Away."
December 23, 2011 –
25.0% "Ooooo. CANNIBALS! Yay. :D"
December 24, 2011 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-50 of 289 (289 new)

message 1: by JJ. (new) - added it

JJ. Based on the fact that you liked MacKenzie in The Shadow Reader, I'm pretty sure you would love Penryn in this book!

Wendy Darling Oh thanks, Jen! Wow, I think everyone I know has rated this 5 stars. I really need to try and read this very soon.

Wendy Darling P.S. Telling me anything has anything in common with Shadow Reader is a very tricky but very effective technique. ;)

message 4: by JJ. (last edited Dec 17, 2011 07:48PM) (new) - added it


Haha... I speak no lies; Penryn is like Mackenzie with a black belt. :)

Wendy Darling Damn, and you throw Ryan Reynolds into the mix, too. You minx!

I may or may not have already emailed my favorite sci-fi readalong partner to see if she wants to read this next week. :D I had another look at all my friends' ratings and all of them are 5s except for one...and that was a 4.

message 6: by JJ. (new) - added it

JJ. That high school psychology class I took must have really paid off. ;)

This book gets ridiculously high ratings, but it deserves each and every one of them. I'm not sure I would categorize Angelfall as sci-fi though; it's more... fantasy/adventure, but then again, I guess that's close enough. :)

Wendy Darling Oh, I'm so silly. I understood the category--I was just generalizing for the type of books this friend and I like to read together. :) I just started this late last night, btw, and it is AMAZING.

message 8: by [deleted user] (new)

YES!! I'm so glad you're loving it. I cannot wait to see what you think when you finish!

message 9: by Jen (new) - added it

Jen From the summary it looks really good. Glad to see you are loving it, too. Looking forward to reading this eventually :)

Wendy Darling I don't know what took me so long to get around to it, Sarah! I've had this on my list for months and months. I have Jen of the Skyline to thank for giving me another nudge to finally do it before the end of the year. :)

And it really is fantastic, Jen! So well written and so entertaining.

Eunice Yay! I just finished this the other day and I so loved it! It makes me happy when someone's liking the book I love! :)) I'll be waiting for your review Wendy! Happy reading! :DD

Wendy Darling Eunice wrote: "It makes me happy when someone's liking the book I love! :)) I'll be waiting for your review Wendy! Happy reading! :DD"

Same here! And yay, so happy to see that you loved this too, Eunice. :)

Bridget Just bought it on Kindle for .99 cents. Thanks for finding this one. I'm looking forward to reading it but I know I'll hate waiting for the next installment;)

Jennie Just grabbed this one myself. Looks like it's a hit with lots of folks and the price can't be beat.

Wendy Darling You won't care, Bridget--it's so, so good!

Jennie, I hope you enjoy it too! I wish I could spend all day reading this.

Megan I just picked this up for the Nook. Thanks for the heads up. This looks like my kind of book.

Wendy Darling I'm so glad you bought it, Megan. This is one of the best post-apocalyptic YAs I've read yet!

message 18: by JJ. (new) - added it

JJ. Wendy Darling wrote: "I don't know what took me so long to get around to it, Sarah! I've had this on my list for months and months. I have Jen of the Skyline to thank for giving me another nudge to finally do it before ..."

I can't wait until you're done so we can compare notes! GOSH, the ending, the emotions!

Wendy Darling I am speeding through this like a demon, Jen! :D

Amber J. I just bought this based on Cait's review, but if you say it's good too then it must be gold! :)
definitely going to start reading this tonight

steph Bah, I'm convinced. I just bought it and will be starting it in a few. Super excited!

Wendy Darling It's gold dipped in more gold, Amber. So much fun!

And yay, I'm glad you bought this too, Stephanie. It's kind of like a massive readalong, hah. :) Can't wait to see your reactions to some of these scenes. o_O I yelped a few times.

Michelle, the Bookshelf Stalker  Queen of the Undead You AND Maja...both reading it. yeahhhhhh!

Wendy Darling Michelle! Why didn't you TELL ME there were cannibals? I would have read this months ago!

Michelle, the Bookshelf Stalker  Queen of the Undead Wendy Darling wrote: "Michelle! Why didn't you TELL ME there were cannibals? I would have read this months ago!"

LOL!!!! Bad Ass Angels and Cannibals....what else can you ask for???? If I knew that cannibals would have made you read it long ago, I'd hinted to the little nibblers long ago!!

Wendy Darling I blame you completely!! But you also get full credit for having persuaded me to put this on my list to begin with many months ago. :) I'm only about halfway through, but I LOVE this so much, Michelle.

The things they find in the trees? :-( Equal parts horrifying and thrilling!

Michelle, the Bookshelf Stalker  Queen of the Undead Wendy Darling wrote: "I blame you completely!! But you also get full credit for having persuaded me to put this on my list to begin with many months ago. :) I'm only about halfway through, but I LOVE this so much, Miche..."

I'm going to have to pop in over the weekend to see what you think of the rest of the book! Just wait until you get closer to the end.

Wendy Darling Hah, I have a feeling I'm not going to be able to leave GoodReads completely this weekend either, Michelle. Although I'm sure it will be quieter than usual.

Have a wonderful time with your family this weekend, dear Michelle. :)

Mandy at Blythes & Books Well after all these positive reviews I seriously WANT this book! But I want a *real* book, not an e-book. Any chance for that happening?
And Wendy thanx for making me buy another book the other day, your fault I bought 'Deadly Cool' because you made it seem... well... deadly cool and funny and all!
~Happy Holidays!!!

Ai Haibara I can't wait to read this book when I buy it off Amazon; all the glowing reviews that I've read on Goodreads makes me in love with the book already!!
And the book cover is superb~~ <3

Emily May I know you haven't actually written a review yet but I got excited when I saw your rating and liked it anyway :D I'm so so pleased you enjoyed it!


message 33: by AH (new) - rated it 4 stars

AH Woo-hoo!

Elena I don't have a Kindle. ;_;

message 35: by Ali (new) - added it

Ali Just bought it! Thx for the heads up

Michelle, the Bookshelf Stalker  Queen of the Undead I almost unliked the review so I could like it again. Me = dork!

message 37: by AH (new) - rated it 4 stars

AH Elena wrote: "I don't have a Kindle. ;_;"

Kobo? Nook? Adobe Digital Editions loaded on your PC? This one is worth getting that computer headache...

Wendy Darling Emily, Giselle, AH, Michelle--ahhhhh, it was so good! *crazy eyes* I want the next book NOW. I cannot believe how it ended.

Betty, Freebird, Ali, I am so excited for you to read this! It is AMAZING. Totally entertaining from start to finish. :)

Mandy and Elena, believe it or not, this is actually a self-published book. I'm guessing that if we can throw enough support behind this author, perhaps we'll eventually see them in print. In the meantime, as AH says, it's totally worth downloading a free Kindle reading app for your computer or Smartphone!

message 39: by AH (new) - rated it 4 stars

AH There are plans for it to be out in print. Not sure when or how much it will cost.

Wendy Darling Oh cool! Maybe she's doing one of those Createspace print deals? That would be great, because I'd love a print copy of this book, too.

However, I have no idea why this is not traditionally published when it's so much better than just about every other book that has attempted to do the same story. There is not one part of it that would have made me guess this was self-published.

message 41: by Cait (last edited Dec 24, 2011 12:16PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Cait Hehehehe right, Wendy! Best. Book. EVER! I seriously had such a freak-out when I was reading this book; this is the kind of angel series that I've been waiting for! And the ending..........oh my God that ending make me want to cry, and I probably stayed up for an extra two hours afterwards just thinking about this book.

Wendy Darling I seriously want to re-read this straight away, Cait! I can't believe this book--it just came out of nowhere. I love all the badass angels, hah!

I guess book two will be out this spring, though? I cannot wait!

Elena Oh! I have access to a Nook. You all were going on and on about it being $.99 on Amazon, so I just assumed it was Kindle-only. But BN has it too! I'll definitely check it out soon, in that case.

Believe it or not, many people prefer to self-publish. They're under the (mostly misguided, IMO) opinion that self-publishing is superior to traditional publishing because you have more control over the final product and all the profits go to you, as opposed to a small percentage. If the book is as good as everyone says, I'm guessing that Susan Ee didn't even try traditional publishing with this book, for whatever reason.

I'm excited to read it now that I know I can! :)

Wendy Darling I can see why you loved it, Vivian! I'll definitely come check out your review after I've gotten off my high and have had a chance to write mine. :)

And hah, sorry Elena, I'm Kindle-obsessed. Sometimes I remember to post links to other platforms, but I don't always. I know AH has a Kobo and a lot of other people have Nooks, too.

Yes, self-publishing is an interesting animal. Either way, I'd love to see this author do well, because she deserves it. And as a fellow lover of post-apocalyptic novels (switching out zombies for cannibals!) I am pretty sure you will love this, Elena.

Clair 86 pence on the UK store! o_o *buys*

Cassi aka Snow White Haggard What another must read this close to Christmas? Oh dear!

Wendy Darling Hooray Sei! :) It's good to know it's discounted in the UK, too.

YES, I had to read this before end of year. It definitely made my faves of 2011!

Cristina I had to buy thissss! excitedddtoread itt

Wendy Darling Yay! I will be stalking your updates, Cristina. So much good stuff in this one. :D

message 50: by Cait (new) - rated it 5 stars

Cait Wendy Darling wrote: "I seriously want to re-read this straight away, Cait! I can't believe this book--it just came out of nowhere. I love all the badass angels, hah!

I guess book two will be out this spring, though? I..."

Ohhhhhh it's coming out in the Spring? YESSSSSSS! You just made my day, Wendy dear! I knew it was coming out in 2012, but for it to be in the Spring just makes me so happy!! Oh I've already re-read all of my favorite parts (which is basically the whole freaking book hahaha) especially the few scenes with Raffe being affectionate to Penryn; those make me melt. And I know, right? Finally some evil, badass, killing, and at least one agnostic (which I found to be really hilarious), angels that don't sparkle purple like some angels we all know......

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