{Review} Angelfall by Susan Ee

{Review} Angelfall by Susan Ee

Beads of water cling to him like in a dream. The combined effect of the soft light behind him from the bathroom and steam curling around his muscles gives the impression of a mythological water god visiting our world. 

Angelfall by Susan Ee

Angelfall by Susan Ee

This is not a mythological water god, rather it is Raffe, an agnostic angel created by Susan Ee in her post-apocalyptic self-published novel, Angelfall.

Penryn or Pen, whose world has turned into a nightmare of gangs of roaming scoundrels, witnesses the brutality of celestial beings de-winging the handsome angel Raffe who becomes her ally in working to regain the world she once knew. She wraps his wings in a bundle to protect them from more damage. They’re carried with him as he navigates with Pen this frightening new world.

Without wings, Raffe is vulnerable. With them he is nearly invincible.  Pen’s theory is that they can be reattached like a human’s thumb. Together they search for an angel-surgeon to perform the feat.

Angelfall kept my interest with its fast-paced action and unusual characters.

Raffe (the wingless agnostic angel) plays a central role in the story. Angels have swept the earth creating an end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it shattered existence. Food, shelter and safety are only memories. Broken lives along with literal debris from a once a thriving world litter the pages like dominoes scattered across a playroom floor. 

Pen, from whose eyes and mind the first-person story evolves, struggles as she always has to hold her family together. She’s a teenager who’s versatile, strong, savvy and determined. Her mother’s mental instability and paranoid insanity means that monsters and demons have been her constant companions for years, therefore this new world’s not new to her.

Paige, Pen’s sweet and dearly loved sister, at eight years of age is confined to a wheelchair. Pushing Paige through the debris strewn streets and all the while  keeping her mother under some semblance of control is not an easy task. Then, Paige is ferreted away by angels who do not have much use for humans while her paranoid mother wanders off on her own path. 

The basic plot is breathless and absorbing.

It’s filled with fight scenes, action, revolutionary humans fighting to end the reign of angels who are encumbered with  human failings. The descriptive writing is beautiful even when detailing the horror of living in this dangerous new world.

Blood splattered everything – the trees, the dirt, the soldiers. The dimming light has leached the color out of it, making it look like oil dripping off the branches.

Even in a blood splattered world love ascends above the gore. Going against angel rules and human good sense, Raffe and Pen’s lips  irresistibly meet. 

I’ve always found kissing nice and pleasant, like smelling roses or laughter on a summer day…This was a knee-melting, gut twisting, nuclear meltdown.

The romance between the two isn’t the main plot of the story, but it provides an interesting conflict that moves the story forward. Naturally, since the angels caused the apocalyse, a relationship between the two has all the makings of one that is doomed from the start. 

I completed Angelfall in two intense readings, finishing it in the early morning hours.

It’s  absorbing but will leave you wondering what direction the relationship between Pen and Raffe will take, how Pen will deal with her mother’s insanity and, of course, her sister’s situation. Not to be a spoiler, but Paige is severely changed during her captivity with the angels. It’s unclear whether the end result will be positive, negative or somewhere between.

Angelfall does not deal with the devastated world and how it may or may not be put back together. I hope this is addressed in the sequel, as the events that lead to the apocalypse are not thoroughly fleshed out in the first installment of this series, as is often the case in trilogies such as Divergent. But nevertheless, Angelfall delivers more excitement and intrigue than many traditional published novels that have hopped on the post-apocalyptic or angel bandwagons.

Susan Ee titillates with a cliffhanger that left me unsatisfied, as cliffhangers are frustratingly meant to do.  A sequel is due out (I’d read that it’s anticipated later this year), which I hope will settle the splintered pieces of the lives of these humans and angels.

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