Maggie's Reviews > Angelfall

Angelfall by Susan Ee
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's review
Dec 24, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: debut-novels, asian-american-authors, 2011, i-ve-just-read-you-and-i-love-you, reviewed
Read from December 23 to 25, 2011 — I own a copy

I just got my paperback copy of Angelfall today, so I thought I'd revisit this book and write a proper review -- one that doesn't involve a Korean grandma, a cell phone, and a 911 operator.**

I've made some successful forays into fantasy recently (Finnikin of the Rock, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Seraphina), but as a genre, two elements repel me: tedious world-building and nonsensical names. The latter reason is why, despite some glowing reviews, I can't even consider a Rachel Vincent novel. Angelfall, a self-published dystopian fantasy about a 17-year-old girl named Penryn, looked like a potential disaster. However, it was only a $0.99 potential disaster, so I decided to risk it and buy it for my Kindle.

I'm so glad I did.

Angelfall throws you into San Francisco 6 weeks after angels descended and attacked. All we know is that the angel Gabriel was gunned down, unleashing an angel apocalypse all over the world. Penryn, named after an exit off Interstate 80 by her mentally unstable mom, is trying to survive in this new world order, with angels up top and humans trying to fill whatever space they can underneath, no matter the cost to themselves. It's human nature in its basest form -- survival of the fittest, kill or be killed. Penryn can fend for herself. Her paranoid schizophrenic mother made sure of this, enrolling her daughter in self-defense classes from an early age. However, Penryn isn't just fending for herself. She's caring for her handicapped younger sister, Paige. Except Paige gets taken by an angel while Penryn is defending another angel from certain death. Now Penryn must trust this injured angel, Raffe, to take her to the guarded angel aerie to find her sister.

And that's just the beginning.

Going back to my two fantasy dealbreakers, there is no tedious world-building -- some would say that there isn't enough world-building, or world-explaining, but that works for me. I'd prefer to know less, at least initially. Secondly, Penryn's name fits her completely. This isn't a cool name; this is a name chosen because it was there. Like her child.

Angels were another potential stumbling block because I consider myself devoutly agnostic. I don't mind religion if it's intrinsic to the story and the characters, like in Sorta Like a Rock Star. I just don't like being preached to.


Imagine my delight in finding out Raffe, the angel, was agnostic! And that wasn't even the turning point for me because I was already invested in the story. I loved the dynamic between our two feisty leads, Penryn and Raffe. I really loved what happened when Penryn pulled out her Ally McBeal "I am a trained kickboxer" card and punched a man twice her size, fully expecting all the people around her to swoop in and stop the fight before any harm came to her. Not in this new reality. This is the kind of detail I love. It shows how societal norms have changed, that a man fighting a woman who challenges him isn't the end all because they've seen the end all.

This is a novel that I thoroughly enjoyed -- so much so that after finishing it on Christmas, I gifted it to 5 friends that night. (And still only spent $5!) This is a quality story with quality characters written by a very qualified author. I highly recommend it.

Verdict: 4.5/5 stars.

This is my inaugural review for Young Adult Anonymous.

**My original review posted on Dec. 25, 2011. Saved per Shirley Marr's request.
Review to come. Too much wine tonight. And Bailey's. And, okay, a little Johnnie Walker Blue earlier. What can I say, Christmas started with Grandma accidentally dialing 911 and yelling in Korean before hanging up. It's been a long day.
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Comments (showing 1-7 of 7) (7 new)

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Michelle, the Bookshelf Stalker  Queen of the Undead Loved your mini-review. Can't imagine what the 911 operator was thinking.

Maggie He actually called back to find out if she was okay, which was how we found out she had called them. I was so impressed! Haha.

Michelle, the Bookshelf Stalker  Queen of the Undead Maggie wrote: "He actually called back to find out if she was okay, which was how we found out she had called them. I was so impressed! Haha."

I agree. It's nice to know they followed up but funny what your grandma did.

Sarah I just started this one, Maggie. So far, I'm impressed... wouldn't have guessed it's self-pubbed.

Shirley Marr I LOVE your mini-review Maggie. Please don't delete it when you do a long review. Your poor granny!

message 6: by Amy (new) - rated it 5 stars

Amy I was so caught up in this book, I hated to put it down (even when I got a chance at work, which has been BUSY). Maggie, I'm shocked you were able to pull your thoughts away from the book long enough to speak to the cops on the phone. I probably would have not noticed a thing until they knocked on the front door. Can't wait for your full review!

Gena Nice review! I was excited about it all over again! Can't wait for the next.....

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