Series: Penryn & the End of Days #1
Published by Hodder and Stoughton on May 23rd 2013
Genres: Dystopian, Young Adult
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.
Well, that was underwhelming.
This book is incredibly hyped and I can count the number of reviews below 4 stars that I’ve seen for it on one hand. I didn’t hate Angelfall by any means, but I just found it to be so…meh.
First of all, I was very surprised by how simple and “ordinary” the plot was. Don’t get me wrong, it was fast-paced and entertaining for the most part, but it didn’t wholly capture my attention. From all the other glowing reviews, I figured this would be a novel that once started, I wouldn’t be able to put down. That I would want would read it in one sitting. But that wasn’t the case. For one thing, the plot was nothing I hadn’t read before; but it also lacked a certain complexity. There was almost a complete lack of subplots. It was very much a from-point-A-to-point-B story and I would have preferred it had there been more elements.
The other large problem I had, was with the world and the explanations we received. Or rather, the lack of explanations. I understand that this is a trilogy and we will most likely get answers in the follow-up books, but I personally still feel like the first instalment should give of us something. Instead, the last 100 pages only gave us more questions. What kind of creatures are the angels in this novel exactly? I have no idea. Why did they invade you ask? Haven’t got a clue. What is up with that ending? I’d like to know that too. Overall, there was just too little information on the apocalypse; the novel was written in a way that made you feel like the angel invasion happened years maybe even decades ago, like humankind had forgotten many of the details, but the attack happened six weeks earlier.
However, a real strength of the novel was Penryn, our protagonist. I loved her. She kicks some serious butt, is both brave and kind and has her priorities straight. More than anything, she wants her family to be safe and I thought her ability to never lose hope was admirable. She is very determined and the author portrayed her inner conflicts well, in a way that wasn’t frustrating or grating.
I also loved the twins Dee and Dum, they were so much fun and I wish they would have had more of a presence in the novel.
Unfortunately, Raffe left me cold. I didn’t dislike him, I just didn’t think he was anything remotely special. If I’m going to swoon over a male character, he needs to be more than a pretty face. He needs to have character, and that is what I missed in Raffe. He was incredibly bland.
The writing itself wasn’t my favourite. I would have liked for it flow a little bit more and to be slightly less repetitive, but it served the story.
The novel does get some credit from me for the lack of insta-love, Penryn’s schizophrenic mother (I mean wow, I’ve never read a YA novel in this genre that had a parent with a mental disorder!) and the fact that the author didn’t shy away from gore and violence (towards the end I was actually being like “ew, that’s disgusting”!).
Overall, Angelfall was a quick and entertaining read, if overhyped. I don’t think I’ll be picking up the sequel; I’m not interested enough in knowing how the story continues.