REVIEW: Angelfall by Susan Ee

Angelfall (Penryn and the End of Days #1) by Susan Ee
Feral Dream Books (Feb 2012) | Paperback, 254 pages

Paranormal YA 

Angelfall is set in the post-apocalyptic United States and this time it isn’t a zombie apocalypse or nuclear holocaust….it’s angels. Yes, angels destroyed the world, killing and enslaving millions. Society is all but gone and gangs terrorise the streets while angels roam the skies hunting for survivors.

Penryn is in the process of escaping the confines of her home with her psychotic mother and crippled sister when a group of angels start to attack and brutalise another angel. The angel under attack has his beautiful, white wings chopped from his body and despite what the angels have done to mankind Penryn decides to intervene. In the process of trying to save the doomed angel her crippled sister gets kidnapped by one of the horde of angels. Her one hope of saving her sister is in the hands of the beaten and wingless angel, Raffe. Together the pair trek across the country relying on each other to stay alive and find a way to rescue Penyrn’s sister and return Raffe to his former glory. Their journey is harrowing and their fight to survive is a hard one. Not only is there very little food, virtually no transport but there are both angels and humans scouring the countryside for survivors. The journey is not just a physical one as both Penryn and Raffe learn not just what they are capable of as a team but what they are willing to do in order to survive.

Normally, I try to avoid angel stories as I am invariably left disappointed. Having angels as the antagonists in Angelfall was a really interesting and unique plot device as any ‘angel’ stories I have read have always portrayed them as the beautiful heroes of the tale. I wasn’t sure whether the angels attacked initially because of some noble cause of whether they attacked with malevolent intent and this made the plot all the more interesting.

Humanity is weakened and seems to be on the edge of destruction, however the attack on Raffe by another angel indicated that there is a division within the holy ranks which is revealed towards the end of the novel. Penryn and Raffe’s journey across North Carolina is not just harrowing for the two characters but also for the reader. I was immediately gripped by both the characters and the plot and was on the edge of my seat for most of the story. The final chapters were particularly tense and in some parts it almost veered into horror rather than young adult or urban fantasy.

I thought Angelfall was a fantastic, intense read that turned ‘angel fiction’ on its head for me. The pace was fast and the plot action packed. Ee broke away from regular stereotypes not just with the angels but also with Penryn and especially her mother. Penryn was well developed as a character and a very mature, kick ass teenager who was both pragmatic and determined. She reminded me a bit of Katniss from Hunger Games and in fact, the novel had a bit of a Hunger Games vibe to it.

Raffe had your typical angelic good looks but he wasn’t without his faults and we didn’t fully learn how he ended up the pariah of the angel world in the first place. Ee didn’t spell out everything for the reader and she was almost unforgiving to her characters with what they had to endure. I read this story non-stop over a weekend and quite a few things didn’t get done and a few meals were late as I was transfixed by what would happen next to Penryn and Raffe. I don’t think I can rave enough about this book and I am anxiously waiting for second book of the series. I hope I don’t have to wait too long.


Angelfall was a big surprise for me and I was drawn immediately into the story. I loved the twist that angels were actually the bringers of the apocalypse and generally the bad guys. They ruined the world, killed millions, oppressed the rest and kidnapped children. Penryn and Raffe were great characters and you never knew what the psychotic mother was going to be up to next. This was a face paced thriller with a truly gruesome, horrific ending and I loved every minute of reading it. I am looking forward to book two!


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A displaced Canadian living in the UK who when not reading is often found trawling through GoodReads looking for something to read or buying another book on Amazon. [Melanie no longer reviews for the site.]


Gemma November 26, 2012 at 9:53 am

Ooh this sounds really good! It seems to follow on really nicely from Blood and Feathers by Lou Morgan (Try that out! Angels aren’t really the good guys as such in that either!!)

*Rushes to put this on a wish list*


Melanie November 26, 2012 at 12:47 pm

I saw your review of Blood and Feathers and was going to get it.

GET Angelfall…is fantabulous


Becs November 26, 2012 at 10:43 pm

Melanie, I have been looking forward to your review of Angelfall and you have made me add another book to my wishlist, sigh! so many great books to read 😀


Melanie November 27, 2012 at 12:36 pm

Hee heee…my evil plan…

but seriously this is a fantastic book.


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