Angelfall By Susan Ee Review
The End Times
It has only been six weeks since the end of the world and seventeen year old Penryn feels that she has lived another sixty instead. How quickly could the world fall to pieces after the invasion of the warrior angels, what could the humans have done to deserve this plight?
Huddled in what was left of a condo, Penryn is in her personal hell, far worse than anything the warring invaders and the street gangs of survivors fighting for what was left of the food and supplies in Susan Ee's Angelfall, the first of its series.
Times were crazy before the Apocalypse. The human race filled with hatred, greed, racism, and ignorance. Was this the reason that the world just suddenly exploded into madness?
Her father gone and mother insane due to mental illness long before the start, Penryn wonders if she has been training her whole life for this moment.
She hardly remembered the days when things were still normal, or what you could call normal anyway.
When she was young, she and her father had come home to her mother tearing her hair out standing over her now paralyzed little sister with no explanation to what had transpired.
As the only able bodied person left in the family, Penryn is forced to take care of both her unstable mother who has become lost in schizophrenia well before the start of the war, and her disabled sister that can not get around with her help.
Penryn knows the time to move is soon as the chaos has gotten closer to the condo,. Gangs have taken over the last of the stores where supplies could be gathered and finding food meant risking death.
The electricity was about to be cut off in the condo.
They had to keep moving and find somewhere else, Penryn had only one instruction as she executed her plan to relocate. She would push Paige in the wheelchair and her mother would push the shopping cart of supplies and rare treasures she had collected that were meaningless to anyone else.
All they had to do was run, giving Penryn time to think of their next move.
Penryn didn't love her mother anymore, truly. It was hard to explain. After whatever had happened to Paige her mother's silence had slowly turned to insanity. While she and her father fretted on how to pay the medical bills and readjust Paige to whatever would be the new normal for her, her mother had gone off the deep end in guilt and began to talk to demons and blame them for her destructive behavior.
All they had to do was run to the end of the block.
They could decide what to do after that, it was all Penryn had.
With Paige's wheelchair in her hands, she took off running, the chairs wheels grinding against the debris that caked the streets. Broken glass crunched under her feet. Her eyes caught sight of angel wings caked in what she hoped wasn't dried blood tacked up to a door frame of the building that had once been their hideout. Penryn knew it was from the gangs that had taken over the territory and hoped that the wings weren't actually real but she had seen a lot of things she hadn't wanted to see since the war had begun and man began to die.
Her mother's shopping cart clacked loudly behind her which saved Penryn from having to look back and check on the mentally ill woman. While they needed weapons and supplies, her mother had made sure to pack rotten eggs she had been collecting, some moth eaten blankets, and other strange treasures that she wouldn't part with. Penryn had to convince her to also arm the cart with weapons and some instant noodle cups that the family had been living off of since the beginning of the war when food had to be prepared on the fly.
Clambering towards the end of the street, Penryn panting as she pushed Paige, her mother heaving as she shoved the cart along, the group suddenly came to an abrupt stop as two angels were tussling in the street.
One was badly injured, blood spilling down his body. Taken to his knees, the victor had sliced off his wings and left the other to die in his wake.
Suddenly noticing the humans, the victorious angel reached for the wheelchair and seized Paige.
Nothing could be done as Penryn screamed and reached for her sister as she lifted into the sky, her dead legs hanging limply as she climbed higher and higher. Paige screamed and it was driving her to madness.
Suddenly they disappeared upon the horizon.
The only person that mattered at all to Penryn was suddenly gone.
As Paige drifted away into the sky, Penryn searched for her mother, who had cowardly run off and hidden leaving her daughter to deal with the vanishing. A ball of hate grew tight in Penryn's chest as she reached for the angel laying battered on the ground and demanded that he take her to where ever her sister was to be taken. The angel only laughed saying that surely Paige was already dead or soon would be.
Penryn had trained to be a warrior since her mother had gone mad.
Weeks after whatever had happened to Paige, the accident was still a mystery and there was no hope of unlocking the truth. Her mother had squandered away whatever money the family had left.
She hid about the house doing strange things, telling her children that the demons that commanded her were whispering in her sleep and the only way to get away from them was to hide in the attic.
Penryn was beside herself but she used her fear and grief to motive her into becoming stronger not only for herself but for Paige taking up any survivalist classes and self defense.
As her mother grew more and more unstable and more scary, she feared one day she might need to defend herself and Paige from their mother and she had to come up the victor.
Now it seems her mother had also been training for the end of the world.
Had the demons that her mother had talked to been telling her about the coming of the war on earth? Had her mother's strange behavior all been her own form of training?
What had really happened the night that they found Paige broken?
Why wouldn't her mother break her silence?
Since the war, her mother had begun to play with the corpses she had come across slashing them with lipstick to make her mark. It was from this that when she was reunited with Penryn, that the teen knew for sure the corpses found with all the knifes stuck inside had been her mother battling survivors.
Penryn was relieved that she was still alive but it troubled her more to think what her mother saw when she had killed these people.
Taken back to the condo that had hidden them away for the last few weeks, Penryn begrudgingly nursed the angel, Rafee from his injuries hoping that he would give information on how to find Paige. Rafee didn't appreciate his host and eventually had to be taken captive and tied up. Once the wounds from the missing wings had healed, Penryn convinced him to take her to where Paige was being held as an experiment.
A Narrow Escape
Earning back his wings for his deeds helping the humans, Rafee still didn't trust them. Although he was finding a friendship with Penryn along the way, he defiantly couldn't admit to the others that he had taken the side of the humans in the war, even though the other angels had betrayed his trust.
Saving Paige was only the first step.
Penryn is wounded in the showdown but whisked away with the rest of the fleeing humans into the back of a truck. Her eyes trace the skies above as she watches Rafee in flight on his restored wings following the path of his human alliance.
Angelfall while written for a young adult and teen audience has it darken tones and graphic depictions of the wartime violence. Perhaps too as this story is the first in the series, it seems draggy in parts as not much happens between the taking and finding of Paige other than a bond starting to form between Penryn and Rafee.
Not faulting the briefness of the plot as again the book is only the first in a series, further installations will fan out the story.
Still it feels the same as every Hunger Games type clone out there.
The writing was gripping but somehow I was still hungry for more in the plot then the search for Paige.