Monday, October 29, 2012

Armageddon has never been so entertaining!

Susan Ee

Violence, Frightening Content

The world may be ending, but thank God this story isn't! Susan Ee's debut young adult novel, Angelfall, sets the stage for a new series which adds an interesting twist to the post-apocalyptic genre. Angels have descended to Earth with the apparent intention of destroying humanity. They've certainly succeeded in wiping out most vestiges of human civilization.

The story follows Penryn Young, who has been thrust into the role of protecting her wheelchair-bound younger sister, Paige, and their schizophrenic mother. She has to move them from abandoned building to abandoned building, staying one step ahead of the street gangs in Silicon Valley, while also keeping them safe from whatever makes the gangs stay inside at night.

One day, while moving from one hopefully safe house to another, they stumble upon a group of angels attacking one of their own, cutting off his wings. In an attempt to create a diversion, Penryn enters the fray, tossing the wingless warrior his sword. He is able to fight off his attackers, but one of them kidnaps Penryn's sister as he flies away.

Penryn nurses the angel back to health so that she can use him to find her sister. The rest of the story follows the two as they make their way to the angels base in San Francisco. Along the way they encounter street gangs, armed human resistance fighters, and something more frightening than warriors of either species.

Penryn is a sympathetic character and I had no problem rooting for her to succeed. She isn't week and helpless as her mother had insisted on her pursuing self-defense and martial arts training throughout her childhood. Susan Ee does a good job of developing the relationship between Penryn and the angel, Raffe. Reluctant allies, the two members of warring species develop grudging respect for each other as they're forced to fight shoulder to shoulder to reach their mutual goal.

Ee also does a good job of creating a landscape of destruction and showing the difference between those people who have determined to keep fighting back and those who have resigned themselves to merely surviving in the new world order of angelic domination. She includes enough biblical "end-times" imagery to make Tim LaHaye proud, but Angelfall shouldn't be confused with the Left Behind series. You won't find this book on Christian bookstore shelves. Where you should find Angelfall is on your shelf or nightstand. The story combines dystopian themes with elements of horror and science fiction. If you're a fan of any of those genres or if you just enjoy heart pounding action, then this is the book for you.

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