Author Info: Website | Twitter | Facebook
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Source: Goodreads First Reads
Buy the Book: Amazon | The Book Depository
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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.
Angelfall completely blew away all my expectations (although admittedly they were quite low in the first place). YA paranormal books about angels have easily been a huge disappointment for me in recent years, with prominent offenders including Fallen, Hush Hush and Halo (however Daughter of Smoke and Bone is an exception, along with Unearthly which I haven't read yet but have heard good things about). The point is, I was very sceptical prior to reading Angelfall due to its cliché sounding title and blurb and I honestly thought that it was just another one of those "angel books" that were all the same anyway. However it was due to the plethora of 4 and 5 star reviews from my Goodreads friends that made me pick this up. Clearly I was completely wrong as now I am forever in their debt for introducing me to this amazing piece of work!
Angelfall is a thrilling, fast paced post-apocalyptic story where angels have taken over the earth within the span of just six weeks. Set in the chaotic aftermath of the attack, humanity has sunk to a new low as gangs scrounge the streets and compete for survival. In the midst of it all, sixteen year old girl Penryn has to deal with her sister Paige being taken away from by angels for reasons unknown. She will do anything to get her back, even if it means allying with one of the enemy. I still can't believe that this book was formerly self-published. The quality of the plot and characters is exceptional and really puts certain traditionally published books mentioned above to shame. The first few pages immediately sucked me in and I was hopelessly hooked in no time.
I admit that the setup was nothing special at first, especially with the whole 'girl-looking-for-missing-sibling' trope that seems to be popular with many other similar YA novels. Her writing style is simple but easy and quick to read which is useful during intense action scenes (think The Hunger Games). Angelfall isn't a deep, mind-blowing book that will leave you contemplating the meaning of life or the nature of the human condition. It's pure, unadulterated fun and adrenaline that will leave readers both satisfied and ravenous for the sequel. I literally could not put this down and I was eventually forced to question the necessity of sleep. However a warning to any students out there; Angelfall is the worst book to read during exams as it has a dangerous capacity to seriously extend your procrastination levels. Fortunately I found it to be a quick read and I was able to devour it within a day.
I loved Penryn as the main character. She was a strong, engaging and likeable person and it was a pleasure reading from her perspective. I found her vulnerable moments to be realistic as she screws up and makes mistakes just like any normal person. There were a number of times in the book where she had made plans that SEEMED great at that time but of course things don't always work out which makes the story all the more interesting. Otherwise, I liked how she was smart and resourceful, if not overly harsh at times although I'll let that slide due to her extremely dire situation. It was also refreshing to read about a YA heroine who was not a Mary Sue or Too Stupid To Live and not once did I want strangle her throughout the entire book. Success!
The other characters in this book were also well developed and fleshed out. It was interesting to read about Penryn's mother who had paranoid schizophrenia and strangely enough, I quite liked her erratic antics and unpredictability. However at some moments, there were certain things she did that I felt were a little TOO convenient for the plot, but nevertheless she was an intriguing character that I can't wait to read more about. And finally there's... Raffe. I refuse to say anything more about him as it is something you should experience for yourself. All I can say is that he is NOT your typical YA 'hero' (if you even call it at that) and frankly he was quite an arrogant, self-aggrandising jerk at times. However I can guarantee you that there is no insta-love or a love triangle in this book. All I can say about their relationship is that it was realistic given the post-apocalyptic angel invasion situation.
The only slight flaw in this book (as many others have pointed out) is the lack of background information behind the angel attacks. Ee could have even afforded to add a little info-dump here and there as the plot was very fast paced and she barely gave me any downtime to stop and catch my breath. For those who prefer a book with very detailed and solid world building, you may be slightly disappointed although I still believe Angelfall has enough redeeming qualities to win almost every reader. The plot twist at the climax was very disturbing and shocking as I was anxiously sitting at the edge of my seat throughout the whole time. Ultimately I thought that the ending was perfect and while there was a lot of things left unsaid, and there was certainly enough resolution to bring the book to a satisfying close. Thank god for no cheap cliff-hangers here.
Overall, Angelfall is an addictive action-packed novel with a refreshing take on angels. I absolutely fell in love with this new series and I can't wait to read the next book World After (which is fortunately coming out near the end of this year!) For those who are still reading this long, convoluted review, what are you waiting for?! Just read it. End of story.