Reading Level: Young Adult
Kindle Edition: 235 pages
Release Date: May 21, 2011
Source: purchased copy
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.
Back sometime in July, a good friend of mine brought Angelfall to my attention. Still flying high like a kite off of her recent book crack consumption, she overenthusiastically exclaimed, "Read it. Read it. READ. IT. NOW!!" I responded, "Chillax, dude. I'll take your book pimpin' suggestion under advisement." And I did, but truth be told, the synopsis only partially intrigued me, and I already had my sights set on several major releases of the Summer & upcoming Fall. Plus, I had given a few self-published books a try in the past and none of them did anything for me. Consequently, I decided to pass on my friend's recommendation and instead moved onto other books.
Fast forward six months, and I suddenly started seeing 5-star reviews of Angelfall popping up left & right on multiple book blogs as well as on Goodreads. Now, normally lots of hype tends to make me extremely apprehensive, and I've definitely never been one to call shotgun on any kind of bandwagon. Come to think of it, I'm more likely to pelt a bandwagon with rotten eggs & multilingual profanities than ride any part of it. However, after seeing the book praised by several bloggers/reviewers whose opinions I value and tend to agree with, I felt compelled to finally give it a chance.
As it turns out, I didn't quite love Angelfall as much as others did, but I was (for the most part) entertained from start to finish. I think what I enjoyed the most about this book was the dark grittiness of the storytelling as well as the fast, grab-a-hold-of-you-and-never-let-go pace of the plot. Other things I really liked included the vivid descriptions, the often bloody action, and some of the creative, fascinatingly gruesome ideas (especially the Frankenstein monster-like cannibalistic children and the scorpion-tailed deformed angelic creatures that paralyzed & sucked their prey dry).
I was also quite fond of Penryn, the heroine, who I found to be fairly well-rounded & developed. In fact, she had many different & likable aspects to her character & personality. She was determined, resilient, brave, smart, loyal, and fiercely protective of the people she cared about. Furthermore, the girl knew how to kick ass and wasn't afraid to speak her mind. And despite her multiple displays of badassery, Penryn still possessed a vulnerable side, experienced some insecurities, and struggled with certain moral/ethical decisions, which helped make her seem more real and easy to relate to.
Unfortunately there were a few things that really irked me about Angelfall. First of all, as another reviewer already pointed out, I had a lot of difficulty accepting the extreme degree of deterioration & chaos that both the physical & social environment was in after only six weeks from the initial angel attack. That's a really short amount of time to successfully obliterate multiple military & law enforcement entities, to kill off a major portion of the world's population, and to have survivors scavenge for the tiniest scraps of food while others become crazed & feral (hunting & mutilating each other). Hence, the fascinating horror of it all just didn't feel organic; it felt contrived & exaggerated for the mere purpose of shock value.
Secondly, I hated...no, I LOATHED the abso-frakkin-lutely ridiculous angel nightclub. With all this previous talk of infiltrating the supposedly super dangerous & secret angel aerie, I had expected Penryn's Mission Little Sister Rescue to be more complicated, exciting, and badass than simply dressing up in a skanky barely-there outfit and flirting her way into A Blast From The Past themed costume party. It was silly and made no sense whatsoever.
Lastly, I can't say that I was a big fan of Raffe. The dude was supposed to be a hardcore divine warrior of Heaven, but he came off to me as an emo teen boy with a devil may care attitude and a chip on his shoulder, trying way too hard to appear "cool" & intimidating. Most of his lines were soooo cheesy that they made me cringe while simultaneously rolling my eyes so hard I gave myself a headache. Additionally, he seemed two-dimensional and kinda one-note for almost the entire book.
And quite honestly, I never fully bought into Raffe's romance with Penryn. There was just something about it that didn't click for me. I suppose it's because the chemistry between them felt forced, and I didn't quite understand Penryn's ability to care so quickly & deeply for someone she's not even sure she can trust—someone who not only helped attack & destroy her world, but who didn't seem remorseful or compassionate about it at all AND who referred to humans as monkeys.