Why did I want to read this book?
I’ve had this book for ages and I can’t believe I’ve only read it now. I bought it because I was intrigued with the set-up, not really the post-apocalyptic setting but because of the deal that Penryn made with the ‘enemy angel’. I wanted to find out what happens next.
What worked for me?
I haven’t read that many post-apocalyptic books but what I have read are books featuring angels and I have to say, I haven’t read anything quite like this one yet. I love how the story unravels piece by piece what happened before, during, and after the ‘big event’ that changed the world. As this is the first of a series, I do appreciate that we weren’t dumped with loads of information and that the unraveling was done in a tasteful manner of writing.
I am completely in love with the tag team / temporary alliance / tentative partnership that has formed between our two main characters, Penryn and Raffe; the beginnings of which was brought on by the basic instinct of survival. And the rest that followed was such pure reading delight, in my opinion.
Penryn is on a quest to bring back and rescue her little sister from the angel who flew away with her and has her striking a sort-of bargain with Raffe, an injured angel who’s had his wings cut off from him by seemingly enemy angels. They journey towards the aerie, not unlike a capital or headquarters for the angels who have descended on earth in destruction and war.
I love the worldbuilding in this book. The setting and the atmosphere were really well-written. As I mentioned earlier, we thankfully don’t get info-dumped but there’s enough that we readers can understand what has happened to earth, to humanity and yet there’s still that mystery about the bigger picture that eludes us but that we hope would slowly come to light as the book progresses. Everything was so intriguing.
The characterizations were amazing. I couldn’t have asked for a better heroine for this book than Penryn. She’s a totally kick-ass heroine. There’s something very accessible about her character in the way she loves her family, her thoughts that still have both hints of being young and yet being mature already to have the responsibilities and priorities that she does have now. And her courageous and loyal heart is really just admirable. I love that she can take care of herself and is not some damsel in distress. She’s smart and resourceful. Raffe, on the other hand, is such a compelling character to read about. He’s an angel and in a way, that sets a tone for his character. But I love how we get glimpses of his sarcasm, his humor, (and yes, since he’s a demigod) beauty and form, his frustrations, rage, his emotions. The whole book is from Penryn’s POV but I was pretty satisfied that it doesn’t take away from my reader’s experience of Raffe. (Although, I would pay whatever it takes within my means, to read this book from his POV).
The secondary characters are also well-fleshed out, from Penryn’s little sister, Paige, to their mother, to the angels and the human characters.
And since I’m a big fan of romance, I obviously appreciate the subtle threads of romance within the story. It doesn’t overwhelm the rest of the plot and in a way, it’s somehow in the backseat of it all. But it’s still a presence on its own. I love their banters, seriously! I love the trajectory that the author has taken with it. Gosh, that scene towards the end!
I love the pacing of the whole book. It almost never allows you a quiet moment and it’s just plot development one after the other. I also love the glimpses we got about why the angels have come and all the angel politics that seem to be at play.
What did not work for me?
Nothing. I adored this book. And oh, what I really wouldn’t give to have this book written from Raffe’s POV as well.
My over-all take on it?
I can’t believe it has taken me this long to read this book. It was amazing! This will probably be one of my favorite reads this year with Penryn and Raffe one of my favorite couples. I love how all these great elements meshed well together to form this completely absorbing story. A must-read!
Susan Ee is a USA Today bestselling author of the Penryn & the End of Days trilogy, ANGELFALL, WORLD AFTER, and END OF DAYS. Her books have been translated into over twenty languages, and her short films have played at major festivals. She used to be a lawyer but loves being a writer because it allows her imagination to bust out and go feral.
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Have you read this series? Are you a fan of post-apocalyptic novels? Do you have recommendations of your favorites?