Author: Susan Ee
Publication Date: 5/21/11
Publisher: Feral Dream
Blurb (GR): 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, I guess I got schooled again. Clearly I can't hold on to this particular reading prejudice against self-published books any more, because here it is, a self-pub that is not equal in quality to similar books released by major publishers, but, in fact, better than probably 75% of those books. Angelfall is a competently-written and competently-edited novel.
If you are a fan of UF and post-apocalyptic adventure stories like Blood Red Road and Under the Never Sky, there is hardly any doubt you will enjoy Angelfall. It is a dynamic, practically unputdownable, even though very familiar, story. A pair of beings - a human girl and a wingless angel in this case - ally to achieve their separate goals. They are reluctant and unnatural partners in Angelfall's world almost completely destroyed by angels. But, of course, they learn to respect and trust each other. I am not going to elaborate any further. You get the idea, I am sure.
Everything I am fond of in novels of this sort is there: self-reliant, courageous heroine who loves her family and is ready to sacrifice everything for them - check; romance secondary to survival - check; action, gore and moderate violence - check; a unique, fresh and twisty mythology (Ee does something rather interesting with the angel lore here) - check. Some compare Angelfall to Daughter of Smoke and Bone, but I personally wouldn't go that far. These two books are completely different beasts that only have a word "angel" connecting them. Daughter of Smoke and Bone is a more literary, more complex and better written work, whereas Angelfall is a more commercial, easier to digest story, and I see nothing wrong with that. Give me more good genre fiction!
There is only a couple of things that bothered me in this novel. First, I feel there had to be a tad more information about the angel-orchestrated apocalypse. You see, the attack happened about 2 months prior to the book's beginning, but the description of it is very murky, as if it happened centuries, not weeks before and nobody remembers the details anymore. I have only the vaguest idea of what exactly happened and how it unfolded. I wish this was addressed better in the novel. Actually, some info-dumping about the apocalypse in the beginning of the book, in the barest and slowest part of it, would have been quite appropriate.
And again, connected to the same 2-months post-apocalypse timeline, the human civilization seems to have digressed too severely over this rather short time. Surely, considering that a huge percentage of human population has been wiped out, there is still enough canned food in ruined Wal-Marts to prevent people from doing some very atrocious things they do in this story for food. Plus, the main character's survival skills appear to have developed too quickly as well.
Other than that, there is nothing to complain about, really. Angelfall is certainly a page-turner and it gets better and better as the story progresses. I am not surprised everyone who's read this novel is so excited about it and its sequel. Angelfall is a stellar entertainment. Now I only wish I had an opportunity to hold a hardcover of it in my hands. How and why this book was never published the traditional way is a mystery to me.