Thursday, April 19, 2012

Reading Reflection: Angelfall

Angelfall (Penryn and the End of Days #1)
by Susan Ee
Published May 21st 2011
P. 255
Rating: 5/5

It’s been six weeks since angels of the apocalypse descended to demolish the modern world. Street gangs rule the day while fear and superstition rule the night. When warrior angels fly away with a helpless little girl, her seventeen-year-old sister Penryn will do anything to get her back.

Anything, including making a deal with an enemy angel.

Raffe is a warrior who lies broken and wingless on the street. After eons of fighting his own battles, he finds himself being rescued from a desperate situation by a half-starved teenage girl.

Traveling through a dark and twisted Northern California, they have only each other to rely on for survival. Together, they journey toward the angels’ stronghold in San Francisco where she’ll risk everything to rescue her sister and he’ll put himself at the mercy of his greatest enemies for the chance to be made whole again.

Alright, I originally gave this book a 4 rating, but bumped it up to a 5 rating.  There were just so many things that set this apart from my other reads that I had to rate it accordingly.

Penryn is a 17 year-old who is trying to survive after angels descend and destroy humans in the apocalypse.  Her sister is wheel-chair bound and her mother is a paranoid schizophrenic off her meds -- that leaves Pen to handle their survival.  On their plan to move, Penryn witnesses something and is forced to intervene.  She witnessed one of the angels being assaulted by his own... by assault I mean beatings and wing ripping.  By saving this one angel, Raffe, she opened the opppertunity for the other aavenging angels to capture her disabled sister, Paige.  

Pen will do anything to save her sister, even if it means teaming up with the enemy.  Together, Pen and Raffe travel  through California, trying to reach the same place, but with different goals.

Alright, that's the general storyline.  Now the reasons I love this book.  One, I grew up in a very religious home... angels were kinda scary in the stories I was told.  I love how this book turns these beings into the avenging angels found in a lot of the biblical texts: scary, ruthless, and on a mission that often meant annihilating whole areas while only warning a selected few.  Not dreamy-eyed love interests.  This twist on angels was sooo very interesting and familiar.  

Two: I grew up with a family memeber who was a paranoid schizophrenic... that was a wild time.  How the author portrays Pen's mother -- especially during an apocalypse and off her medication -- is very realistic.  I remember the lucidness leaving my gentle aunt's features before a paranoid bout of insanity drove her into wild frenzies.  So I related to this aspect of the book.  I kept imagining her in some of these scenes, and from my experience, it didn't seem too far off.   

Now my favorite part.  Pen and Raffe.  Pen is strong, determined, loyal, and compassionate.  She is a wonderful protagonist with the right level of hardness to help her survive.  It's not overbearing though, not like she's lost all hope and is just making it day to day -- their's still life and compassion in her.  That's what sets her apart in my mind, she hasn't turned ruthless and lost her sense of emotions.  Raffe, of course, is beautiful, arrogant, and tough as nails. However, there are scenes that you can really see how emotionally torn he is by every thing he's faced.  The thing I love about this story is that it's not centered around a growing love... it's a growing comraderie and friendship.  Though these two are on opposing teams, they develop a loyal dedication to one another -- helping and supporting one another in their mission.  Of course, something brews from this, but its not the focus of the story. 

That's what set this novel apart for me so much, it wasn't a love at first sight -- forbidden love -- I'd die for you story.  It was a development of mutual trust and genuine regard, with slight hints of infatuation.  Very well written. 

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