Series: Penryn & the End of Days #1
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Romance
Rating: 3.75 out of 5 stars
Word Rating: Straightforwardly Fantastic
Okay let's take a break from House of Hades (just kidding, House of Hades is life). But seriously, Kiersten is out of commission for the weekend, so I have come to the rescue with this lovely tale of romance. I did, after all, promise a review of this.
Alright, so, Angelfall. Positives: this book can be very, very driving. It's ridden with emotion, dappled with lots of wit and humor and it has a strange aura of being magical around it; maybe it's the fantastic diction that Susan Ee lays down:
He kisses me with the desperation of a dying man who believes the magic of eternal life is in this kiss. (Page numbers are worthless with ebooks, worthless.)Unf. That's pretty romantic. And I love that. It represents the romance that you literally have to fight for in your head because Susan Ee does her level best to have Penryn despise Raffe. But you know it's going to happen. You want it to happen. So it must happen. Not even a spoiler, it's a damn romance, okay? There's even a slight decoy when our characters are captured. But that decoy is nothing in comparison to my loves. It's the typical I hate you I hate you I hate you, no please don't go, okay I think I love you. And Ee pulls it off magnificently by nearly making us snap.
More positives: the characters are thrilling. We've got two protags, Penryn the damningly short and Raffe the damningly gorgeous. Both are on missions, stuck together because of mutual need (though Raffe would never admit it.)
This is Penryn:
"Oh. My. God." I lower my voice, having forgotten to whisper. "You are nothing but a bird with an attitude. Okay, so you have a few muscles, I’ll grant you that. But you know, a bird is nothing but a barely evolved lizard. That’s what you are.” (The Middle of the Beginning)And this is Raffe:
“My friends call me Wrath,” says Raffe. “My enemies call me Please Have Mercy. What’s your name, soldier boy?” (I don't like my epub reader)What's odd is that I love these characters even though they're mostly static. Their changes are very, very gradual. Penryn is hardened by her time post-apocalypse, and she takes it out on Raffe. She tortures him, she berates him, distrusts him, and the book is, in the beginning, about using him. That is because he's an angel . . . but he's different. He's very arrogant, witty, cunning, doubtful (doubt is a good thing, people; doubt means you trust and require evidence), determined, and miserable. He's a bit damaged, too so it's difficult to see the person behind his mask. Ooh goodies.
Unfortunately, this novel suffers from an exceedingly limited and linear plot. It's a fine plotline, but it's almost boring. It seems like a staircase, each step leading toward a better understanding of the text . . . but that leaves little space for mystery and too much space for suspense. In fact, there are just about zero plot twists ever, and all the mystery is found in why the angels invaded and what they're doing, nothing very far beyond initial contemplation. Sure, Raffe, who is an angel, is agnostic . . . but you can tell this text has simple dynamics so even that's probably going to be eradicated with some lame moment of miracles the same way Penryn's faith grows. I hope World After strays away from this kind of construction because Ee is such a good writer otherwise.
Anyway, read this book damnit.
If the world was ending, what would be the most important thing to you?
Let us know in the comments!