Thursday, July 12, 2012

Thumbs Up Thursdays: Angelfall by Susan Ee

Um, wow!  Between hearing about Susan Ee's success and the buzz surrounding this book on Goodreads, I decided I had to read it.  I can sum it up by saying this: Ee deserves every bit of praise she's getting.

Genre: Young adult postapocalyptic

What I love about the characters: Honestly, I could probably write a ten-page essay in which I fangirl on and on about how much I absolutely adored Penryn.  Have I mentioned that I loved her?  I read a lot of YA fiction, but it's rare that I find a female protagonist that I care for and root for as much as I did with Penryn.  She is everything I hope to make my female protagonists: smart, tough, proactive, and yet she still has a tender, compassionate side.  On top of all that, she has one of the most interesting family dynamics I've yet read about in a work of YA fiction.  This is how a well-done female character should be.

I also really liked Raffe.  Though he is godlike, gorgeous, as well as an awe-inspiring warrior (he is an angel, after all!), he never comes across unlikeable.  When he's being an arrogant jerk, Penryn calls him on it, and I thought that was awesome.  The two have great tension, and their relationship builds slowly and carefully.  You really get the sense that these are two characters taking the time to get to know one another.

What I love about the setting: Ee has created a very real, very scary world.  Seriously, I read the last few chapters of the book late one night and I was honestly afraid to go to bed because I was sure I was going to have nightmares.  It is chilling to read such a dark, dire portrayal of the U.S. in the wake of Armageddon, and Ee really cranks up the horror factor.  Her prose is extremely vivid, and I could perfectly picture every scene she depicted.  I envy her prodigious imagination.

What I love about the plot: It flows so wonderfully.  It's exciting and action-packed, and many chapters left me biting my nails, wondering what would happen to Penryn and Raffe.  It's the kind of book that I was reluctant to put down because I just had to know what would happen next.  Yet, Ee also does a fantastic job of rounding out her characters, so you get the total package.

What I'm jealous of: All of it, really.  It's so well-written, so tense, so scary, and so heartbreaking.  It also made me think.  I don't want to spoil anything, but there is one central question in the novel that I'm *still* thinking about and trying to decide how I would handle.  I cannot wait for the next book in the series so I can find out what happens.

Who I'd recommend it to: Anyone who likes strong female characters, postapocalyptic novels, and novels about angels.