Angelfall by Susan Ee
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
No spoilers and colorful language abound!
I can do this.
When this books updates dominated my newsfeed I knew two things would come to pass. Firstly I would be reading this, secondly I was tremendously nervous, I never seem to like what everyone else does. It feels nice to be one of the masses this time around, this book as a fantastic read!
There is very little introduction here, it starts with a family of three, a broken mother and two daughters leaving the fleeting safety of their condo and I am instantly entranced. Two things are immediately obvious, Ee's writing is fantastic and this female lead is an intoxicating mix of logical, sarcastic and real. Wait... what am I reading?
After the last tragically disgusting YA book I read I vowed I would not be entering that genre again, it leaves me angry and some what afraid for the next generation, aka my daughters. Something happens when you have children, almost instantly you see the world through a mothers eyes, your walls against the onslaught of pain and destruction all around you crumble, and a permanent vulnerability to which there is no defense settles in. I accepted this change fairly quickly, but my battle with the YA genre as a whole waged on. Mostly it was with the parents of these books, absent flighty parents who are all too oblivious to the escapades of their 16 year old daughters. Often being subjected to some forms of emotional and mental abuse from the somewhat older moody and mysterious male lead, then mistake it for love and respect. I suppose it makes sense, if you raise your daughter with a strong sense of self worth and secure foothold in your family where she respected she would tell the boy giving her dirty looks in the hallway to fuck off, then there would be no story. All of these thoughts flood my mind when I read this at 1% when they are about to leave:
"I take a deep breath, and yank open the door."
I get in the van, no regrets and such.
Then I read this:
" The rosy love I'm supposed to feel for her is slashed with black and splattered with various shades of grey."
and Ee slammed on the gas.
Paige, Penryns 7 year old sister who is also wheelchair bound was abducted by a particularly nasty angel and her mother took off like any paranoid schizophrenic should. Penryn is left with Raffe, a dying angel and an unwavering determination to rescue her sister. Like I said, Ee slammed on the gas and never let up.
While browsing these reviews you are going to see the word "refreshing" a lot, and rightfully so.
Penryn simply makes sense, nothing about her is other worldly special as in not the only human on earth that has some obscure special ability that single handily holds the fate of the human race. She is well trained in defense, for a reason. She's a bit jaded, for a reason. She's quick to put her emotions aside when needed:
"I've heard plenty of wacky things in my time and you just have to learn to roll with them without directly challenging the person spewing the weirdness. Challenging weirdness is a pointless and sometimes dangerous exercise."
She's not selfless to a fault, nor is she clumsy, awkward or emotionally starving. Hold up, there is a female lead in a YA book who isn't looking for someone to complete her? SHE'S A WHOLE PERSON ALL ON HER FUCKNG OWN!?
The answer is yes.
Raffe, the angel in question also makes sense, aside from being an angel and all. He doesn't claim her, stalk her, put her down, treat her like a piece of china, punish her for not listing to him, or get all creepy rapey eyed at her. He accepts her for who she is and the two of them tentatively allow each other to lean on the other for support. He's gentle with her but not indulgent, he supports her without telling her who to be. He understands a soft way to encourage her without forcing her to see things, his way. He never once belittled her on the muddy mountain and her battle with the chair.
" You still have her chocolate," says Raffe, his voice not ungentle. "The rest is just logistics."
Wait... no abusive tendencies? That cannot be right, can it?
Oh, but it is.
They play off each other really well:
"When I look back, Raffe has a smug grin on his face. That's when I realize I've been manipulated into feeling better. I stubbornly try to resist, but it's already too late.:
The mother, oh lawd I adore her! Bitch is craycray, and I'm not talking about an attitude problem, I'm talking about genuine psychosis. She assimilates to the post apocalyptic world with ease, perhaps that's how the world has always been for her. She's honestly terrifying, unstable, badass and endearing. Her love for her daughters, albeit expressed through a broken mind is ever present.
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