Book Discussion: Angelfall

Helloooooo, party peoples! Hope you’re having a great Saturday, wherever you are, whatever you’re doing. Welcome to a joint discussion on Angelfall between fellow book blogger Katiebabs and I. We realized right around the same time late last year that we were going to read this one. It’s been a while since we blah blah blah-ed about a book together, so we thought this one might offer up the perfect opportunity since we’d heard it was so good. Turns out we were right!

We started it out over at her blog, so hop over to get the first bit and then right back here to finish it up.

Kenda: In all honesty, I’d never considered Obadiah West, the leader of the resistance army they run into in the woods, as a love interest for Pen – but you never know, you could be onto something.

I think the reason it didn’t cross my mind (although I know why you feel as you do, I can recall Obi’s interest in her) is because the resistance army is one of the few elements of the book I found rather generic to these kinds of stories. There’s just about always a resistance army that’s a ragtag group of folks with mixed experience and talents. While this makes sense because, hello, the world is now a different place and you must take what you can get when folks have to pull together, I was actually a little disappointed to see it included here as it was, which to me felt like a pretty straight-forward resistance. They are set on their goals and convinced their plans are the only ones that will work. They rule the civilians in their group as totally as the angels would rule everyone on earth.

And due to events that happen later, Obi isn’t nearly as attractive to me for a love interest as Raffe could possibly be. I think that in the end, Obi’s goals as a resistance leader would be far more important to him than any romantic feelings he might harbor. Raffe displays far more convincing clues.

But if we get back to Paige – holy crap, I cannot believe while also at the same time loving how brutally the author went with her character! There are hints in the book before we see Paige again, but I was still shocked and amazed that the author goes where she does. But I think her doing so is part of what makes the entire effort of this book work. The angels are a horrific species, but that’s not all there is to them, and I love the layers of complexity that are packed into this short, thrilling book. What did you think of Paige’s roll in all of it?

KB: What Susan does with Paige took major balls and a twist I would have never expected. It’s something straight out of a 1950’s sci fi B-movie, but I mean that in a good way. The angels are like humans, some good, some bad and how they react to situations are based on their survival. I can see Paige being used as weapon and the angels who made her into this new breed will want to get their hands on her again. My heart broke for Pen because she felt she failed and I can see her having major guilt issues in the second book. I had no idea what Paige’s role will be, but it should be interesting!

The last fifty pages were on the edge of your seat action and really answered some questions I had regarding the angels and why they were sent to Earth. As for the spoiler regarding who Raffe really is, that was awesome. What did you think of the ending and how for the most part the angels have been kept in the dark regarding the reason for them coming down to Earth and taking over. Do you think they want to destroy mankind and make the humans slaves?

Kenda: Dude, as far as what the angels want? I have no idea! On the one hand, it does seem like they’re preparing to have them a little dystopian village party right on Earth and there’s already been mass destruction to humanity a-doin’. This is in keeping in some ways with Biblical mythology (of which I claim absolutely zero authority on), whereby the angels are possibly jealous of God’s love for humans, so why wouldn’t they mind all the pillage-the-village scenery? Due to events that happen in the last third of the book, it does seem like that’s how things will go, but then we have Raffe, who isn’t aspiring to these goals, possibly, and it makes me wonder if there are others like him who might oppose the “bad” angels, so to speak.

There’s definitely some interesting twists happening, and I am excited to see them continuing to twist in book two. I enjoyed the surprises we got and hope the author can keep this up and not give too much away. I kind of hate seeing what’s coming way before it happens. So for me, the ending totally worked, and I think enough things were answered to leave everything in a satisfactory place as opposed to feeling like a dreaded cliffhanger. As short as the book is, I felt like a got a whopper of a book thanks to wonderful development of everything across the board. This is one book that deserves the attention it’s getting hand over fist and I hope plenty of others read it and enjoy it as well.

KB: I have no idea what to expect with book two! I can see Paige being used as a weapon for both the humans and angels and it will be up to Pen to protect her. Susan really hit the mark with the character development and thought out, believable world building. I do think book two will have some romance in it because of a specific type of moment between Raffe and Pen. I really look forward to whatever Susan writes next. What grade would you give Angelfall?

Kenda: Could not agree more – this is an author I’m happy to put on my watch list. And that is saying something considering how fast I hit the road and how far I run when I see angels pimped out in a book blurb these days. I would Macarena the entire way in a chicken suit, gladly, if that was the only way possible to get away from them. And cars no longer ran. And bicycles had no wheels. And skates couldn’t be found. Or no one would let me piggy-back and run for me.

Grade-wise, I would give this one a solid four scoops going by my book judging scale of ice cream scoops (five being best), about a B+/A-.  There was very little that took away from this reading experience for me. I devoured it and I’m so glad the next book isn’t too far off (being published in summer of 2012). What’s your grade, fellow angel-loather?

KB: No annoying emo fallen angels here! I would give this an A- because Susan takes walks a fine line, especially toward the end with the Paige shocker. I’m not certain if this was traditionally published, she could have kept this shocking act in her book. But because she did, I really have to give her kudos. She pulled off a shocker of a read and gives me hope that the YA paranormal genre isn’t going to sink like the Titanic in the next few years. She has me anxious for the sequel. I’m telling anyone I know to buy and read Angelfall because it’s that good and one of the best self-published books I ever read. Thank you, Susan for giving me hope that all the crap YA books I’m reading won’t take over the world. I can see great things coming down the road for Susan and this series.

How do you feel about the current YA angel trend? Have you read any that were particularly good – or not – lately? What about Angelfall? Like Katiebabs above, I highly rec it. Hope you enjoy it should you pick it up! As of this posting, the Kindle edition is indeed still $0.99 and it’s the kind of discounted ebook that was worth more to me than that.

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  1. Great discussion guys. I loved this book. I specifically got it because I love Angle stories that go dark and the blurb enticed me. I only hesitated a moment because it was YA but once I started reading never gave it a thought again.

    This book really delivered for me. It went in directions I never saw coming. I agree with Kenda I don’t see Obi as a interest. I don’t think Susan is going to put the triangle thing in. Raffe and Pen have enough obstacles if this story goes full on romance.

    I can’t wait for book 2. I am so intrigued on the Paige storyline – seriously I was so focused elsewhere I never even saw this coming and I should have!

    People need to read it.

  2. Loved this book:
    I loved the loyalties of these three broken women to each other, It was so poignant in the end when Paige and her Mum pulled Pen into the truck taking care of her for once as she cared for them. Paige is strong and caring and that still exists inside her.

    I loved the beautifully implied and foreshadowed stories about what really is/maybe going on – I think the angels are not just the enemy but have been played and the scrapbook stories are important

    I loved Raffe’s broken-ness/his deconstructed sense of self. As readers we know that along with Penryn’s family he stands for something and stands between humanity and the end of everything. These four with their damaged bodies and their identities forcibly re-made through these bodies are heroes of a different sort who re-define the specialness/chosen one status that is so often a feature of YA or UF characters.

    I loved that there is so much they and we don’t know because that is what it is really like when crises happen.

    My only quibble was the six week timeframe for events. I think it is too short for the resistence to be so organised and for society to have so utterly collapsed.

    Loved the conversational review ladies

  3. I will pretty much read the majority of anything you recommend, though, like you, I’ve grown adverse to a lot of YA novels these days. I think the last that I tried that promised more than it actually delivered was Melissa Marrs’ series. But this is going on my shopping list ASAP. It sounds fantastic.

  4. I read and liked this one too! Still need to work on my review at some point..

    Anyway, I really hope Obi isn’t going to be a love interest. I got the impression he had a personality that would not gel with Pen. I feel the way Kenda feels about that one! And I also agree with what you say here about the angels being like humans, some bad, some good, and their relationship with God is also similar. It made the story more of the author’s world, without feeling like she these are the angels we know from the Bible. I could treat the story as fiction instead of feeling like.. ok am I going to be preached to?

    I was pleased with this one. Really hating on the angels in YA but this was the exception for me so far.

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  6. Sorry for the late reply, everyone! Been a busy past few days. Didn’t weekends used to be about resting?

    Marnie – I think my fave part of the book is like you say, that you never saw some things coming. I just love a book that does the twists well!

    Merrian – your point on how loyal the three women are is so spot on and I didn’t even think about it! Honestly, the mother, while an awesome character, turned me off so I didn’t catch on to the loyalty undertone, but I think you’re right after thinking about it. Great point!

    And I hear you on the time frame. Six weeks does seem incredulous for almost complete destruction and downfall of all the worlds’ societies. I think I didn’t notice it as much though because the story just pulled me right in.

    Lianne – I was disappointed in Marr’s ealier fairy books and haven’t tried anything else by her since. Hope you enjoy this one!

    Janicu, I hear you on not being preached to! I’m not a fan of that either, and Ee does a great job of treating the idea of an actual religious-based Apocalypse as a true, horrific event complete with all the moral, emotional, physical, societal, etc. issues we’d expect to happen. It’s not about God, per say, but more about survival. Notice there was no talk of anyone having been “saved” prior to the big event.

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