I have a book hangover.
After devouring books in what I assume was an attempt to escape from the drabness of a twelve week term (twelve! seriously!) I have come to a halt. I read a few things here, a few things there….and then I read Angelfall by Susan Ee. I bought it because it was less that $5 on kindle and I was just desperate for book.
The first thing that I noticed was that it was much better writing than the book I had previously finished, Uglies by Scott Westerfield. Seriously, the power of a first person narrative voice is not to be underestimated. Although, it did take me a while to realise Penryn, the main character and narrative voice, was a girl. Oh well.
The setting is America and there is an end of days vibe happening. Penryn and her family are trying to escape their home and find somewhere safe. They are an unlikely group for survival – sister in a wheelchair, mother with a big crazy shopping trolly of stuff squeaking along….
So what are they trying to get away from? Gangs, thugs, and angels. Yup. End of days angel invasion. Quite a cool idea actually. With all the dystopian novels that seem to reflect an obsession with the prospect of an apocalypse, why not make it a kind of biblical apocalypse?
There is a bit of a forbidden love style romance between Penryn and an angel character. I have thought about whether I should be offended by this as a Christian and I think that given the circumstances in which they meet and spend time together it is more thought provoking than offensive. The author goes to significant lengths to emphasize the impossibility of such a relationship, using the example of the Nephilim as a warning. Our angel has seen firsthand the results of such a relationship and by using this back story Susan Ee raises some interesting questions about angels and what they are like in contrast to humans. Do angels face temptations? They must, or the fall might not have happened. Do humans factor in to those temptations? They must, or how is the story of the Nephilim credible? So, while the thought of a human hanging out with an angel and being unafraid and becoming close with an angel seems difficult to reconcile with my idea of angels (who in the Bible always have to reassure anyone they speak to with words like ‘Do not be afraid’)I did kind of manage to get past this and enjoy the story. There is a weird sense of dread of their relationship really turning romantic, paired with that typical ‘come on get together already’ feeling.
Aside from the romantic element (which isn’t really the main focus in a lot of ways, which I appreciate) I can only describe my experience of reading this as being driven by morbid fascination and curiosity. There are a lovely array of creepy apocalypse creatures, which I won’t describe because I think it would be too much of a spoiler. Just kidding, I can’t help myself… SCORPION DEMON FETUSES. That is what it is all about. I might add I read this book while away on a camping trip in a forest in the middle of nowhere. Which added to the ambiance in which SCORPION DEMON FETUSES can really have an impact.
So far there are two books. I really like them. I couldn’t put them down. Its a good read for a good price and is thought provoking in a different way.
I have recommended this to a few people and so far am yet to find anyone else who enjoys it! This might just be because I read it too fast to have time for it to annoy me? However, I did recount the plot to all willing listeners when I was reading it and at least in that context it was interesting for others.
My rating? I think a 3/5.