Angelfall  - Susan Ee Okay, I'm bored right now. So, I think I'll just go on a review rampage now since I have like three books I've neglected to review in the past couple of weeks. I'll start with this one because it's the one I'm the most enthusiastic about. Also, I just finished reading a book I really, strongly disliked and hopefully remembering this book will put me in a better mood before I explode.Ah hem. So, normally I would have been rather skeptical about this book. First of all, it's self-published. (I think?) And I normally don't read self-published books unless I know the author. Secondly, the Kindle edition is 99¢ on Amazon. Thirdly, it's a YA dystopia ... which nowadays, usually means it's a lame paranormal romance set in a futuristic universe with little-to-no world-building in it. And well, okay. This is partly a paranormal romance. But it isn't a typical one. Plus, the dystopian aspect of it is actually quite good.However, I wasn't really sure what to expect when I first started it. Like I said––normally, I wouldn't have had very high expectations. The only reason I picked it up was because so many of my reviewer friends on Goodreads were giving it such raving reviews (and I'm talking reviewers who have very good taste). Plus, it has a 5-star average rating on Amazon. So I was like, "Dang ... I think I'll have to check this out."Now, this isn't a perfect book. It's not the best book I've ever read. But it is really, really good. And if anything, it's very exciting and entertaining. Sure, it had a few flaws (which I'll talk about later). But it just did so many little things so well that it just made me so, so happy. Gah. Okay so, here is everything Susan Ee did right (or at least, the most note-worthy things):Her Writing StyleIt wasn't too dry, it wasn't too flowery. It was just right. (Said Goldilocks.) I mean, it wasn't the most fantastic writing ever. But, you know, I just didn't find anything too faulty about it. It was funny, it was concise, it was descriptive ... I liked it. I guess I don't really have anything else to say on the matter.The World-BuildingThe world-building is pretty neat. It's not too complex, but it had a lot of interesting details. Ee creates this post-apocalyptic world where angels have come down and taken over––and you know, started destroying all the humans. It's very grim and atmospheric. As the two main characters journey through this dangerous world, you can't help but feel terrified for them. There's just a very tense and dark mood to the whole thing. Not only that, but like I said, its details are pretty sweet. Like, there's this black market for angel body parts. And this fancy hotel where a bunch of the evil angels live. And ... it's just really cool, and I'm doing a crappy job of describing it. You just gotta experience it.PenrynSo, our heroine is Penryn. Other than her weird name, she's pretty dang awesome. If you read my reviews, you know how much I dislike Mary Sues––and also how I dislike female protagonists who pretend to not be Mary Sues by randomly wielding weapons or something just to cover up their Mary Sue-ness. Errr. Well, hopefully you get what I mean. But anyway, Penryn is neither of these things. She's realistic and sarcastic and likable and kickass.I loved her from pretty much the very beginning. Just to give you a taste of her awesomeness: At the start of the story, her sister gets kidnapped by evil angels and she's running around looking for some way to go after her sister. She then witnesses this scene where a hot angel guy get his wings cut off and then is left to die in the street.If this was any other paranormal romance, Penryn would most likely go up to the hot angel dude and be like, "ME OH MY. ARE YOU INJURED YOU BEAUTIFUL CREATURE. LET ME NURSE YOU BACK TO HEALTH."Instead, Penryn runs up to this hot angel guy who is already dying, and promptly begins slapping him in the face and being like, "WHERE DID THOSE ANGELS TAKE MY SISTER YOU BITCH." I mean come on, that is just awesome. I love that a) she is not swayed by his hotness, and b) she is actually focused on what she needs to do rather than just getting distracted by some pretty boy.I also love that there is a good reason why Penryn is so kickass. A lot of "kickass" females in books are just ... well, born that way apparently. Or they pick up on fighting skills abnormally fast. But Penryn has actually been taking fighting/self-defense classes for years so she can defend herself against her psychotic mother. Cool, eh? It's also evident that Susan Ee knows a thing or two about fighting, since Penryn seems to have a lot of good strategies and isn't just randomly throwing punches.Another thing. She's not too conceited or too self-conscious. And those are two things that can be hard to avoid in female main characters––especially in YA books. Penryn is definitely not all shy and insecure, but she's not full of herself either. For example, "Only he's not a guy. And he's too otherworldly. Not to mention that this girl is beyond dreaming about anything other than food, shelter, and the safety of her family." See, I like how when she says things like this, it isn't like, "Boohoo, I am too ugly for this hot angel dude." It's more like, "Well he's hot and I'm not bad-looking or anything, but I have too many more important things to worry about."I also like that she had such realistic thoughts all the time. For example, at one point she was thinking, "...And I'm concerned that my hair is greasy and my breath smells bad." I know, it's a tiny little thing, but I love it. In a lot of these types of books/movies, the characters never bathe or brush their teeth, but then they don't even think about how smelly they're getting. So I'm glad Susan Ee actually acknowledged this and made Penryn think like a normal human being.RaffeRaffe, aka the "hot angel dude" I keep referring to, is quite awesome as well. First of all, I'm a sucker for the sarcastic and mildly asshole-ish type character. I just find them so amusing. If you're a Mortal Instruments fan, you'll probably––like me––find a bit of Jace-ness in him. He's the type of guy who is obviously hiding a lot of emotions but pretends to be all rude and uncaring all the time. And okay, it's a bit of a cliché, but I love it anyway.But what I particularly like about him is, he doesn't just rush in to save the day every time Penryn gets into danger. For example, there's a point where the two of them are in this camp of rebel-people. And this dude basically sneaks up on Penryn and tries to rape her. And then, the whole camp is just gathering around to watch them fight each other.So I'm sitting there like, "Oh, boy. It's going to be one of those clichéd scenes now where Raffe's going to be all like, ARGH I AM PROTECTIVE AND MACHO." But, no. Like everyone else, he just stands there and watches because he knows Penryn can handle it. Aaaahhhh. I love it.Also, kind of a random detail. But, I liked that Raffe was agnostic. First of all, because I'm agnostic and well ... I don't really come across a lot of agnostic fictional characters. (Or real people, for that matter.) It was just interesting that Raffe was an angel and agnostic, since I've never seen those two character traits combined before. He had never actually seen God. And well, other angels claim they've been told things by God, but on the other hand, human beings often claim the same thing. So, it makes sense that an angel could be agnostic I suppose. I'd just never thought of it before. And some spoiler things about him ... so don't read this unless you've read the book: And at the end when he thought Penryn was dead and he got all sad ... my heart just melted. Like, I actually had tears in my eyes. And then when he brought her back to her family even though he knew they would shoot at him and possibly kill him ... AD;KFJ;DLSKFJLSKDJFS. MY FEELINGS. I ... I CAN'T EVEN. He's just super wonderful and I love him.The ScarinessThis book is legitimately scary. Like, when I picked it up, I did not expect it to be so frightening. And okay, I'm a little bit of a wimp. But seriously, there are definitely some horrific images in this book that I will probably not soon get out of my head.First of all, there's Penryn's mother. She is really quite terrifying. All throughout Penryn's childhood, she apparently would sit next to Penryn's bed while she was falling asleep and speak in tongues. Which ... is pretty dang creepy. Now she likes to go around and put make-up on corpses and whatnot. She might have also paralyzed Penryn's sister. So, altogether, she's very unnerving. Even though she's not technically present for a lot of the book, she does go around leaving these gruesome signs everywhere (like the make-up on murdered people) as a sort of trail for Penryn to follow, so her presence is still constant and pretty unsettling. There's a lot of other quite nasty stuff in this book––like half-eaten people getting left around in the woods, demon children with razor-blade teeth, and weird scorpion people that feed on humans. So, if you're like me and you get easily scared ... well, don't read this right before bed.I don't really have that much to criticize. I guess the one thing that stood out to me was, I wanted to know a bit more about what exactly had happened when the angels took over––like, what was it like at the very beginning, when it started? More than that, I wanted to know a bit more about Penryn's life beforehand. Like, did she have any close friends? Are they all dead? Did school try to continue initially, despite the angel attacks? I was also quite curious about Penryn's father. I think she mentioned that he had left, but I just wished I knew a bit more about that. Considering how unstable Penryn's mother obviously is, that seems like quite a dick move on his part. But, I don't know ... maybe these things will be explained more in the next book(s). I was also a little annoyed that Penryn was just like, secretly sexy. Like I said before, I was happy she wasn't conceited but, it was kind of a cliché. Like, ooh I will just put on a dress and some make-up and TA DAAA I'm hot, and now I will use that to my advantage. Why can't YA heroines ever just be genuinely plain-looking? It makes us ugly girls feel a bit left out, ya know? *Sniffles* So, it was kind of predictable that Raffe was just going to find her attractive and they would like each other and yada yada. But, oh well.Over all, this is a great debut novel that shows a lot of promise for the series. I like how things were tied up pretty well, but on the other hand, there are still a lot of problems and questions that can definitely be addressed in the sequels. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and I can't wait for more! :)