Angelfall (Penryn and the End of Days #1)
Hodder & Stoughton
Published May 23, 2013 (Originally published 2011)
Since angels of the apocalypse swarmed the skies, humanity has been on the run. With their supplies running low, Penryn and her small family risk their lives to scavenge for food and find themselves in the middle of an angel battle. When angels carry Penryn’s sister away, she’ll do anything to get her back, even form an alliance with one of the enemy.
Angelfall is dark and twisty. Penryn not only battles outside evil, but also struggles to cope with her mother’s mental illness and the voices she hears which tell her to do things that sometimes put Penryn and her sister in danger. I liked Penryn’s fierceness and her intelligence. Her determination keeps her going even when the odds stack steeply against her. I liked Raffe, the angel with whom she forms an alliance, too. He definitely has that quiet, wounded-warrior thing going on, but as he and Penryn get to know each other, he also consistently acts honorably toward her, and uses his strength to compliment hers.
There were a couple of moments in the story that required a heavy dose of willing-suspension-of-disbelief. Though Raffe’s other injuries heal super-quickly, the place where his wings have been severed remains raw and open. There’s some plot armor happening there, and we sort of accept it as, hey, angels clearly have different bodies than we do. Later, when Penryn and Raffe conceal themselves among humans, Raffe hides his wounds and the fact that he weighs far less than a man his size would with little trouble. I was pretty willing to buy into the necessary setup of the story, so those things didn’t trip me up too much. Another hurdle for Christian readers may be the secularized story of angels. Angelfall does reference verses about angels in the Bible, but in this story, angels are cut off from God, with only one leader claiming to be His mouthpiece.
For readers interested in urban fantasy and fans of Melissa de la Cruz’s Blue Bloods series, Angelfall is a sure win. (It’s also quite a bit cleaner in terms of content.) The angels vs. humans element might also appeal to readers of Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone, but the style of Angelfall is much more urban, if that makes sense. Less artsy, more adventure-ish.
Penryn’s sister Paige is in a wheelchair due to an accident. Penryn and her family are Asian-Americans.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
Mild profanity used fairly frequently (maybe once per chapter or so?)
Raffe and Penryn crash a party of sorts in which girls seem to be serving as escorts or prostitutes. The girls wear provocative dresses. Some kissing between boy and girl.
Raffe and the other angels have a story that begins in the Bible (Raffe references this in a conversation with Penryn), but it diverges. Angels seem to be cut off from God. Raffe himself makes a comment about not having spoken with God in a very long time. One angel seems to serve at God’s mouthpiece, but there’s some doubt about whether or not he’s speaking truth. There’s a sense of hopelessness or abandonment. A demon forms an alliance with some of the angels. A swarm of demon-like creatures sweep through a forest attacking anyone in reach.
Raffe speaks to Penryn about the history of angels who took humans as lovers and the judgment they faced. He made a commitment to prevent his kind from ever experiencing that again, though it seems not all of his angel brethren feel the same.
Battles between humans and angels and angels vs. angels. Gangs control the streets and murder people. Penryn’s mother stabs a dead man. Starvation has led some to cannibalism. A scorpion-like monster feeds on energy from humans in a really creepy scene. Later it attacks a girl.