Author: Susan Ee
Narrator: Caitlin Davies
Series: Penryn & the End of Days, book #1
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Publication Date: August 28, 2012
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible
I need a time machine so I can travel to the future and read all of the books in this series right now. Trouble is, the author isn't even sure how many books there will be altogether, so I wouldn't know what year to stop in. I suppose I could just jump forward ten years...that should be enough time to release all the books, right?
But I digress.
This review actually comes after my second listening of Angelfall. I previously listened to the audiobook over the summer, and I was so bummed that it was over that I immediately started a new book and didn't look back. Which means I also didn't review it the first time around, even though my thoughts kept returning to the world of Angelfall. I don't know how some of you have been waiting, what, nearly two years now for the sequel? Since commencing my re-listen, I've also taken to stalking the author's online presence again for any word on the next book. A novel this good demands a follow-up. Stat.
I'll be honest. I kept hearing about this book, and I read several fantastic reviews around the internets, but I wouldn't allow myself to be swayed. Indie novels are so hit or miss for me, and despite the relative affordability of this novel, my time is still valuable. No one, myself included, wants to read a book and end up hating it. There are so many books to spend time with, and my shelf hasn't been lacking in unread books for awhile now. And yet I kept finding myself drawn to this one. I finally purchased it for my Nook at a whopping $0.99...and there it sat unread for months.
Then Audible listed the audiobook for a mere $7.99. I could listen to it without feeling like I was wasting my precious time, for the price of a paperback. And I'd finally know what everyone was talking about. Oh, and they were soooo right. I should've read this book sooner. I shouldn't have been so skeptical. I should've trusted that my friends wouldn't lead me astray.
Angelfall is not your typical angel book. It's not even your typical post-apocalyptic fare. No, when these forces combine, you're left with a story about angels as the harbingers of evil, hell-bent on destroying the human race. And it is glorious...in an I-hope-this-never-happens sort of way.
Penryn Young may just have risen above the scores of protagonists vying for a spot as my favorite YA heroine ever. Because she's so unbelievably real. And normal. And feisty. She knows self-defense, so she can protect herself, but she still has this vulnerability about her that just makes you ache to give her a hug, especially knowing what all she's already been through prior to the angel apocalypse. And now the evil angels have stolen her sister away, and her mother has officially gone off the deep-end, but she perseveres and even teams up with an angel in order to find her sister and get her back.
As unlikely an ally as Raffe initially appears to be, he does come in handy. Penryn's rescue mission is never lacking in obstacles, and although Raffe is sarcastic and reluctant, his presence is necessary and encouraging. Maybe all angels aren't evil after all. And really, isn't it better to have an angel whose friends call him Wrath on your side rather than as your opponent? It probably doesn't hurt that he's gorgeous, either. I mean, his angelic beauty serves as a good distraction for Penryn so that she's not constantly dwelling on what the [evil] angels are doing to her sister. (And trust me, this is a very valid worry...those angels are not playing around.)
The characters, the story...it's all so profound. Even the more minor characters are laced with hidden depths, and as intriguing as Penryn and Raffe's stories were, I still found myself wanting to know more about Obi, DeeDum, and even the Politician. Great characters make for great storytelling, and neither department is lacking in Angelfall.
Since this is a post-apocalyptic novel, not much world-building is necessary. More like world-tearing-down. I'm sure with future novels, we'll learn the why's and how's of the angel apocalypse, but that doesn't mean I'm not curious about it now.
This novel was incredibly well-written and it kept me riveted. The narrator for the audio is so perfectly cast...she truly brings this story to life. I've never listened to another book performed by Caitlin Davies, but I have faith that if I ever do, that audiobook will also be perfection. People had to literally snap in my face to get my attention while I was listening, and though I usually try to multi-task while listening to an audiobook, I found that such a feat was nearly impossible while listening to Angelfall. This book demanded my full attention, and when I wasn't listening, it was calling to me to return to it. The darn thing simply wouldn't relent until I heeded it's siren call. And even though I've just finished listening for a second time, it's already calling to me again.
Suffice it to say, I want more. I want a time machine and/or access to Susan Ee's brain. And I want the movie to be a real thing.
“I'm not moping," I whisper back.
"Of course you're not. A girl like you, spending time with a warrior demigod like me. What's to mope about? Leaving a wheelchair behind couldn't possibly show up on the radar compared to that."
"You've got to be kidding me."
“I never kid about my warrior demigod status."
"Oh. My. God." I lower my voice, having forgotten to whisper. "You are nothing but a bird with an attitude. Okay, so you have a few muscles, I’ll grant you that. But you know, a bird is nothing but a barely evolved lizard. That’s what you are.”
“My friends call me Wrath,” says Raffe. “My enemies call me Please Have Mercy. What’s your name, soldier boy?”
“Here, I’ll show you how to use it. Let me see your foot.”
“That’s a pretty intimate demand in the angel world. It usually takes dinner, some wine, and sparkling conversation for me to give up my feet.”
“What if they don’t let us go through?” I ask, trying not to move my lips.
“They will,” he answers from the dark recesses of the backseat footwell.
“How do you know?”
“Because you have the look they’re looking for.”
“What look is that?”
“Beautiful.” His voice is like a caress from the shadows.”
“Anybody that ties you to a chair at gunpoint is a bad guy. Do I really need to explain this?”
“Why were the other angels attacking you?"
"It's impolite to ask the victim of violence what they did to be attacked.”
“She? You’re not one of those people who name their cars and coffee mugs, are you? It’s an inanimate object. Get over it.”
“It is not the gentle kiss of a couple on a first date, nor is it the kiss of a man driven by simple lust. He kisses me with the desperation of a dying man who believes the magic of eternal life is in this kiss.”
Okay, okay...I went a little overboard with the quotes. Sue me. =)