Angelfall (Penryn & the End of Days, #1) - Susan Ee “I am not afraid of you, your kind, or your god.”

Penryn Young lives in a post-apocalyptic future with her seven-year-old sister, Paige, and her paranoid schizophrenic mother. While Penryn attempts to herd her family to safety, Paige is captured by angels and whisked away. Desperate to rescue her sister, Penryn forges a tenuous bond with one of the enemy, Raffe, a de-winged angel. Can he help her find her sister...or is he just waiting to turn her in?

You know how all these YA novels these days are proclaiming to be the next Hunger Games? Yeah, they're all posers, hacks, drippy romances concealing their naughty bits with shreds of dystopia and strips of the apocalypse. They are more concerned with getting our heroine her two love interests than creating a real conflict. They are more concerned with having our heroine gush over her beaus than have our couple have any real chemistry. They are more concerned with the status quo than forging new territory, twisting the norm, and being unique and gripping.

THIS is the new Hunger Games. THIS is a spell-binding, page-turning, nail-biting, I can't stop reading and it's 3am in the morning and I have to get up for work at 6am book. The characters aren't fashioned out of cereal box cardboard. The romance isn't thrown together, like a Big Mac at Burger King. The conflict isn't so pathetic, even an eight-year old would roll her eyes. The dystopian/post-apocalyptic atmosphere isn't so poorly constructed that a quick glance could tear apart all the flaws, like a used car salesman.

THIS book is frakkin' amazing. I read it in a whopping TWO DAYS and most of that was NOT while I was flying!! (I tend to read a lot more when I am shoe-horned into a window-seat for 3 hours.) I tossed this book in my luggage, hoping it would be as good as everyone said...and when I finished it, 5 minutes into a flight, I had to take 10 minutes to sit there, gripping the book to my chest and figure out what the f@#$ I was going to do with myself now that A) I had finished the book and B) I didn't have book 2.

Susan Ee, I am begging you...write faster!!

Penryn Young is the kick-@ss heroine that tons of YA "dystopias" wish they had. She is competent, caring, determined, strong-willed, and smart. We don't need half the book describing her "sexy" fighting lessons with one of her love interests; she already KNOWS how to fight. If you liked Katniss Everdeen, then you will definitely like Penryn.

Raffe was amazing. In general, I loved the entire deconstruction of what being an angel entails (from them being always good to their sense of humor--or lack thereof!--to how they too have questions about God), but I definitely loved Raffe. Somehow, he can be a snarky "bad boy" and yet you legitimately care about him.

And Penryn and Raffe DEFINITELY have some chemistry, and I'm not talking about "I can barely keep my hands off you" territory. They hardly even TOUCH in this book, and yet you STILL find that you have to fan yourself every so often. THIS is how you write potential romantic couples, people!

The story is gripping and interesting. At first, I wasn't so sure about these "Angels killing humans for no apparent reason" thing, but then, I started to like it. It takes what we expect--angels being good and sweet and looking out for humans--and twists it, making us wonder "ZOMG, WTF is happening?!"

There is a journey in this story, as Raffe and Penryn have to fight their way to San Francisco. And I LOVED IT. There was tension, there was creepiness, there was spookiness, there was foreboding...every page, something new happens. And while bits of the story go along the path you expect, trust me, the last 100 pages go somewhere I totally didn't expect. And I still loved it!

An important part of this novel is the post-apocalyptic setting. And yes, it works. We get an actual, real look at life, instead of vague "Oh, we can't read anymore" or "People are starving...somewhere". No, we get an in depth look at this world through Penryn's eyes. Civilization has been destroyed, gangs have arisen, people are so hungry and food is so sparse that the topic of cannibalism is brought up. The world has changed, and Ee has shown us HOW instead of making us guess.

And let me talk about one thing that many books (specifically, Shatter Me) have done terribly: the description.

Here is a sample from aforementioned book:

"My eyes break open. Two shattered windows filling my mouth with glass."

Here is a sample from "Angelfall":

"My heart flutters in my chest like a dying bird."

Which is better? While I know that Mafi was going for a more, erm, "unique" description, honestly, I think sample 2 was better. It was clear, it got to the point, and I knew EXACTLY what was going on. I didn't need my decoder ring to figure out WTF was going on.

At this point, I feel the obligation to make a few potential warnings. There isn't much in the way of swearing or sexual situations (a few "da**s" at most, the women that approach the aerie are for the angel's *ahem* entertainment), but there IS quite a bit of gore/violence. So the weak of heart, be wary! However, unless you are VERY weak of heart, don't let this put you down--I hate reading about "gobbets of flesh", and I ADORE this book.

After seeing this pop up all over the place on Goodreads, I added this book to my "To Read" list and when I found it in paperback on Amazon, I snatched it up. But in the back of my mind, I wondered if it really was as good as people said. I actually tossed it in my luggage more on a whim than really thinking I would get into the book.

Joke's on me. This book is TOTALLY worth the price of paperback (I paid $12.99). I can't BELIEVE that major publishers keep churning out this crap posing as dystopian/post-apocalyptic fiction instead of picking this book up. Do yourself a favor and buy this book--either paperback or Kindle. You don't know what you are missing!