Monday, 30 March 2015

Angelfall by Susan Ee (Hodder/Skyscape)

I share my thoughts on Susan Ee’s young adult post-apocalyptic young adult novel dealing with the aftermath of Angels destroying the world, entitled Angelfall, and published by Hodder in the UK and Skyscape in the USA. It’s the first in the Penryn and the End of Days Trilogy.

It's been six weeks since the angels of the apocalypse destroyed the world as we know it. Only pockets of humanity remain.

Savage street gangs rule the day while fear and superstition rule the night.

When angels fly away with a helpless girl, her seventeen-year-old sister Penryn will do anything to get her back...

I haven’t read that much fiction featuring Angels as I would have liked. They can be an interesting thing for urban fantasy to tackle, and can also be found on TV at the moment in the form of fan-favourite Castiel on the CW’s Supernatural, and Manny on NBC’s Constantine. There’s even a post-apocalyptic series on SyFy, Dominion, with Anthony Head. So there’s certainly a lot of material out there on TV, but in books, I’ve rarely read anything featuring them. One of the things that drew me to Angelfall, aside from its high praise and intriguing subject matter, was the cover. Simple yet jaw-dropping, it was one of the many things that made me interested in checking out on this book and I’m glad that I finally got around to doing so, because Susan E’s Angelfall certainly didn’t disappoint, serving as a brilliant opener to the Penryn and the End of Days Trilogy, that should be something that should appeal to a lot of young adult fans looking for something that’s not your normal post-apocalyptic YA.

First released as a self-published novel, Angelfall has proven to be really successful, and is very well written. It’s fast paced, well developed and very awesome to read, with Susan Ee crafting an interesting take on society only six weeks after the world ended, with Angels descending from the heavens to take out most of humanity, with only scattered pockets of humans remaining. Street gangs ruled the day, and fear and superstition rule the night. One of these humans that survived the apocalypse is teenager Penryn, who serves as a strong, well developed female character and a more than capable gateway into this world. She’s got a strong motivation to find her sister, who’s been taken away by the Angels for a mysterious purpose, and is willing to do anything to get her back.

At first glance, this book looks like your average, run of the mill dystopian/post-apocalyptic/urban young adult fantasy.  I was kind of sceptical about starting this book even with the praise that it had received from pretty much all quarters, but having recently read Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor and Allen Zadoff's Boy Nobody I was looking for some more YA, and Angelfall filled that void perfectly, proving a very interesting trilogy opener. It establishes the characters, the unique world and its rules very well whilst maintaining a confident pace that will keep readers engaged, with rarely anything boring happening within its pages. Ee manages to keep the reader hooked, and whilst it may not be for everyone’s taste, those who do enjoy Angelfall will more often than not, love it. It’s certainly one of the stronger young adult novels that I’ve read recently, and it’s great to see that I wasn’t disappointed.

Unfortunately, not everything’s perfect about Angelfall. The secondary characters are not as well developed and are quickly forgettable. The only names who I can recall without looking them up are Penryn, the main character, and Raffe, the male lead. Apart from that, nothing. But then again, this is the first book, so there’s always the potential for that to change in the sequels.

Angelfall is one of the darker young adult novels that I’ve read lately and it’s not afraid to go into detail about the violence and more action orientated parts of the book. It also manages to have a satisfactory ending that won’t leave readers disappointed, and will certainly have those who liked this first entry in the series coming back for the sequels, because I certainly intend to check them out at some point further down the line.


READ THIS IF YOU LIKED: Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment by James Patterson, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Divergent by Veronica Roth


  1. I have the first 2 books in this series sitting and waiting for me on my bookshelf, and I've heard some good things about them, mostly that they tend to buck a few trends in the YA post-apoc genre. So I'm very interested in reading them to see if they're as good as I've heard.

    1. Yeah. It's far from your typical YA post-apocalyptic novel, and it helps that it's also very quick to get through as well. Will be interested to hear your thoughts on this book if you do check it out.