First off, Amazon is selling the Kindle version of this book for $2.99. If you like post-apocalypse YA lit with a healthy serving of creepy undead-ish things and antagonistic angels, BUY THIS NOW.
Got it yet?
Reading this book made me happy. Happier than Fridays, happier than eating cupcakes, happier than buying shoes, for chrissakes! It was a book that made me go
because geez, it was a very well written story with a gripping plot.
Six weeks before the beginning of the book, angels had invaded the world, wiped out a huge portion of the human population, and basically destroyed almost all aspects of civilization. The survivors eke out a desperate living, either by joining gangs or running away from them. Penryn is of the latter group. When the book starts, we see her debating a mad dash toward the hills to escape local gangs that scavenge for food. The problem? She's only seventeen years old and barely surviving, her sweet young sister is bound to a wheelchair, and her mother is super schizophrenic. Through a twist of events, Penryn runs into a fight between the mysterious angel Raffe and another group of angels. She witnesses the angels cutting off Raffe's wings before joining in the fight. However, the fight results in serious consequences that forces Penryn to ally with an angel to get back her most precious thing in the world.
So, that's the set up. It's general, kind of predictable. But for some reason this novel worked. I had a really hard time putting my finger on why and how. The plot has been done, and while well characterized and reliable, the main characters aren't hyper gush-worthy. Penryn is strong, reliable, and focused. Raffe is mysterious, aloof, and gorgeous.
But what is it about this book that made it so standout amazing?
Maybe it's the world building. What the hell happened to our world? is a question that is on our minds constantly because, for the most part, it's never answered. The visual image of our world in the shits is poignant and well written. It's like a scene from The Day After Tomorrow or Independence Day after the weather/aliens start invading. However, we barely get the answers we want because we view the world through Penryn's eyes, who despite her world burning around her, is only single mindedly focused on accomplishing her task.
Or maybe it's that sinister feeling you get whenever Penryn manages to get some answers. Like there's something lurking in the dark behind you, and even though it's bad now, it's the possibility of things getting worse that keeps you on the edge. Kind of like how Penryn's mom feels all the time, but multiplied by one hundred.
The addition of Penryn's mom was great. The woman is batshit CRAY, and I think it's by observing her that we realize how bad things have gotten. She is violent, sneaky, and so completely without regular-people guile. Yet she's the one who survives because she knows how to escape the figurative and literal monsters that have been haunting her since who knows when. Her psychotic, schizophrenic world has become reality. She's always moving and waiting in the shadows, like a specter that will pop out and say BOO when you least expect it.
It keeps your guard up.
This book is dark and creepy. Not in the overt blood-and-guts kind of way (though there are definitely copious amounts of blood and guts). It's more of a feeling of perversion, that something is seriously way more effed up than it seems. Kind of like Penryn's mom. In some ways, this book reminded me of Angel Sanctuary, a beautiful work that revolves around dark themes, like moral and spiritual decay, incest, blasphemy, sex, drugs, and creepy monster fetuses. But it's still done beautifully. It's that feeling of looking at something beautiful, knowing that it's only a maggot-infested shell, but still wanting it.
So if you like stuff like that, you'll love this book. It's self published, but this is one of those rare books that is much better many published books out there so don't let that deter you. I'll admit, I wasn't expecting to like the book this much. It was only because of the very high reviews of the GR community that I picked this book up. I don't regret it at all.
Overall, FIVE STARS for making an interesting premise so delectably twisted and dark. Definitely recommended for all YA fans of angel lit, zombie/undead things lit, and, well, anyone who is bored and wants to spice up their comfy, non-apocalyptic lives with dirt, desperation, and demonic things in the guise of angels.
P.S. The wait for the next book is going to drive me CRAAAAZY. Still no publish date? Really? REALLY?!