Have you heard of Angelfall by Susan Ee?
Please. Stop everything.
Hold the phone and pump the brakes, because everything everyone is saying about this book IS ABSOLUTELY TRUE AND REAL AND MY EMOTIONS ARE EVERYWHERE RIGHT NOW.
So. Talking it out between Pen-rye-n & me was obviously necessary. We go through the whole book, with appropriate fangirling and end of the world worrying over body hair, so be warned of spoilers for those of you who don't know the pure AWESOME happening here, and if you do? Jump in, get your downy wings dirty because the world has ended and things are gonna get bananas BUT THERE IS A QUEST.
And smokin' hot shirtless angels. And girls who pack knives in their boots. And moms who are off the rails.
Yeah, I know. It's sooo good.
Willow: Also, ANGELFALL. How is this happening?
Pen-rye-n: RIGHT. OMG. How bloody amazing was it? Scale of 1 to ALL THE FANGIRLING?
Willow: ALL OF THE FANGIRLING. PUT THEM IN A JAR, SHAKE THEM, THEN SPREAD THEM OVER MY BODY.
W: I loved how in control everything was. As CRAZY OHMYGAH as the premise was, it never felt cray cray WTF. The fact that it all started with a feather falling from the sky?! Hot damn.
W: I loved how in control everything was. As CRAZY OHMYGAH as the premise was, it never felt cray cray WTF. The fact that it all started with a feather falling from the sky?! Hot damn.
P: Excuse me while I get a hold of Weird Al & ask him to parody Def Leppard & sing "Pour Some Fangirl on Me."
P: Dude, I KNEW, as soon as Penryn started talking strategic knife hiding places that this shit was going to be all kinds of real.
W: YES! But she never felt like, "Okay, here comes the obligatory tough teenage girl in this crazy fucked up dystopian world." The fact that her family life was already bananas, made it almost so that this girl could strap on those knifey boots with a level head and I believed her.
W: Her mom. Dude, her mom. The way she talked to her and thought about her? Simultaneously broke my heart and made me fangirl her the hardest.
P: Fuck yes. I don't think there was ever a moment where I stopped and thought, "Okay, Penryn, whose name I'm not entirely sure how to pronounce, you're gonna have to dial back the Tough Girl because I'm not buying what you're selling." Like, this girl was IT.
P: YES! Her mom's mental illness was handled SO FUCKING WELL.
P: The whole image of her creeping around after Penryn and Raffe, leaving little talismans, just as much on a quest to find her missing daughter, was both creepy and endearing.
P: ALSO HOW THE FUCK DO YOU PRONOUNCE PENRYN? "Pen-ren?" "Pen-rye-n?" Some other pronunciation that I am unaware of?
W: I kept saying it "Pen-ren" but now you got my mouth doing weird things trying to figure it out.
W: Can we talk about her deciding to hold Raffe hostage and CUTTING HIS WINGS IN FRONT OF HIM. How does one get higher badass status then doing that to an angel IN FRONT OF HIS FACE WHILE HE IS TRUSSED UP LIKE A PIG.
P: RIGHT. RIGHT RIGHT RIGHT. HEY, LUCINDA PRICE, TAKING NOTES.
P: I came over all Sassy Southern Black Lady on that shit. "Giiiiiirrrrrrrllllll *z snap formation*"
W: YES! And then...and then...THERE WAS A QUEST. Seriously, I don't think there's much more I love than a quest when it's done right.
P: OH GOD YES I LOVE QUESTS.
P: Seriously. Quests are like my favorite thing in the world. I'm not even joking a little bit here. As soon as a character even HINTS it's time for A Quest, I run and pack a rucksack because that's what you carry on quests and I stock it with soda and poptarts and cigarettes and extra flashlights and I am READY.
W: YES! And I'm all puppy-eyed, looking around, smacking gum in my mouth, because suddenly I have gum, like, "Okay, where we going?" And I am not at all bothered by the shirtless angel.
P: In fact, it is required for this Quest that the angel absolutely must stay shirtless at all times.
P: Quest is always a proper noun in my world if you haven't noticed.
W: I am on board with that. What I dug about this Quest was the weird trust they had to come to. How she'd dabble into getting information about angels as he was lovingly grooming his chopped up wings then offering her cat food.P: I was also a big fan of how she never lost her Tough Edge. Because we see that so much in these Obligatory Tough Girls going on Quests. They soften a couple chapters in and slip into their damsel in distress corsets.
P: They put away the sharpened steak knives and bust out with the heaving bosoms.
W: Not our girl Pen-rye-n!
P: HELL NO NOT PEN-RYE-N. SHE IS HERE TO TAKE A BITCH OUT.
W: Or they get all twisted up over, "Do I want to kiss him? Is he looking at me?" AND SHE THOUGHT ALL THOSE THINGS BUT THEY WERE NEVER OUT OF PLACE. Damn, I just always believed her. I said, "Here is a girl in a world where the angels have unleashed. And there's hot boy angel, and she's giving him the side-eye, while checking his abs, and she's marching on in the woods." And this is the Best Quest Ever.
W: And I loved that it wasn't drilled into us over and over how pretty he was. Swoony prose over his pretty eyes. No, fact is fact. Angels are hot pieces of ass. "But the world is falling apart, and I don't trust him. He saved my life, I think, but I need to find my sister and I'm keeping the hunting knife with me." GO ON WITH YOUR BAD SELF, PEN-RYE-N!
P: YES YES YES. No pages upon pages upon pages about his downy fucking wings and his purple eyes and his perfectly tousled blond hair. YES I AM STILL PISSY OVER FALLEN. But seriously. It just was. "Here's Raffe and he's effing hot but he's also an angel and angels are here on Earth fucking all kinds of shit up, so excuse me while I clip some of his wings off and ...okay, his abs are smoking."
W: Totally our kind of girl.
P: Hell yes. I knew before I was even halfway in she was one of ours.
P: We need to talk about The Resistance.
P: Because if there's anything I love more than A Quest, it's A Resistance.
W: Especially when it's run by a guy named Obi. After all the cat food and raw noodles, I was pretty amped about the venison stew. Weird, sure, but I was feeling pretty good at this point.
W: But I LOVED the conflict this presented. It was done so, so well how she didn't know what side she was on knowing that YES! PEOPLE ARE GATHERING. But hold up, I got an angel with me. Shaky ground this is.
P: I also loved how Ee didn't take the popular route. She could have totally lost it here. Pen-rye-n could have turned into a Bella or a Luce or a Nora. Her loyalty to the angel could have been because OMG HE'S SO PRETTY AND I LOVE HIM. But, again, not our girl Pen-rye-n. That route is for less awesome girls. This was still all about Paige.
P: "YES MY PEOPLE ARE GATHERING AND THEY ARE GONNA TAKE DOWN THESE WINGED FUCKS but it's not my problem, my sister is my problem, so I'm sticking with Downy Wings over here."
W: YES! BANGING MY FISTS ON THE GROUND YES! I want to weep over how Pen-rye-n MADE this book. This is the example to show other books, "SEE! YOU CAN NOT FLAKE OUT ON THE GIRL! SHE DESERVES TO BE STRONG AND GOOD AND HAVE THE FORCE BE WITH HER!"
P: YES YES YES. DO NOT FLAKE OUT ON HER AND DO NOT TURN HER INTO A SIMPERING FLAKE. GIVE HER VALUES AND LOYALTY AND LET HER AWESOME FLAG FLY.
P: ALSO. Too. We need to back up a minute. I absolutely loved the bit about the footage of Archangel Gabriel being shot and this being the world's introduction to angels. It was SO very M. Night Shamalamadingdong Signs, but so perfect for this baffling world. Like, "Oh, hey, there's angels, here's the proof, we just shot their leader OH SHIT JUST GOT REAL."
W: YESSSSS!!! DUDE! YES!
W: I saw it in my head and I was freaked the fuck out. THE IMAGERY! There was a newsreel playing in my head and I was holding onto my kindle like, "Okay, guys. I..I need a minute."
W: THE IMAGERY OF THAT! LIKE STILL. IN MY HEAD.
P: I'm totally sitting over here picturing it. Like, him coming down all WARRIOR ANGEL SAY WHAT and landing on the hood of a car and a shit ton of SWAT with their shields and shit just open fire and it's on loop and you're just sitting there like, "Oh, this is SO NOT MOTHERFUCKING GOOD."
P: Tell me this is being made into a movie. I NEED TO MAKE SOME CALLS BECAUSE THIS SHOULD BE MADE INTO A MOVIE.
W: Just Googled it and the book has a major film agent so LET'S DO THIS.
P: SO EXCITE I NEED TO GO GET MY FOAM FINGER AND PAINT MY CHEST.
W: WE'LL DRAW BLOODY SCARS ON OUR BACKS!
P: YES! AND WE'LL CARRY WINGS MADE OF COTTON BALLS.
W: AND CAT FOOD!
P: ....Or maybe trail mix.
P: Okay. I need a refill. And probably a cigarette. Because we're going to have to talk about the Hell Spawn and I need to be nicotined and caffeined up for those creepy little shits.
W: And probably some holy water.
P: I think we're out of holy water but I'll grab the garlic powder on the way through.
P: Okay so I was smoking and rereading the forest Hell Spawn scene and the neighbor slammed their door and I might have peed on myself JUST A LITTLE. It's foggy and we're in this tiny little dark town and THE HELL SPAWN KIDS ARE SO EFFING CREEPY.
W: The fact that they are LIKE PIRANHA. The swooping back and forth without being able to actually SEE them, and the quick bites, and the way they whole camp just shut the hell down over them? Sound the effing alarm, the kids are not alright.
P: God yes, I was just going to say something about the piranha bumping shit because that was seriously terrifying. NO, HELL CHILDREN, YOU TAKE YOUR LOW DEMON ASSES TO THE NAUGHTY STEP AND STAY THERE.
W: This was very M. Night Shamalamadingdong Signs for me. Being in the woods, not being able to see, having small, unseeable things biting me to death. I repeat, freaked the EFF OUT.
P: AND THEN...THERE WAS RAFFE.
W: YES! OH, SWEET HUNKY DELICIOUS ANGEL.
W: I love that he's all stay here with your people, be safe, and she's thinking, "Hell to the no, I came here with a point." And then he peaces out and she could a) run back to camp b) PULL A BELLA AND TRY TO RUN AFTER RAFFE IN THE DARK WOODS or c) say "Fuck this noise" and continue on her Quest.
SHE WENT WITH C! OF COURSE SHE DID.
P: BECAUSE A & B ARE FOR LESS AWESOME GIRLS.
P: I also love that even when he swoops in and plays Avenging Raffe, she does not go all completely Damsel, Allow Me to Lace My Corset Then Lead Me to the Fainting Couch. No. Homegirl hides behind a tree and plays fastpitch softball.
W: Yes! Chucking rocks at Hell Spawn Kids. This Pen-rye-n is not fooling around. "Okay, you got a sword? Check this out. Oh...damn, my bad."
P: Yes! And no groveling afterwards. "Yeah, about that. Sorry. Whatever. World's ending. You got hit with a rock. Life sucks. Get a helmet."
W: "I told you to put on some more band-aids."
P: I love that we're fangirling Pen-rye-n just as much, if not more, than Raffe. I think this is a first for us.
W: Right? And this book has RAFFE. Like, total angel hunk that isn't overly drawn with crybaby swoony prose, but gets to stay tough and enigmatic and asshole-y, but is dying over his wings and is so smokin' hot I want to draw him on my ceiling and just look at him and STILL! It's all about the girl.
W: The girl so often sucks so bad and is drawn so weak, that it doesn't make sense for Super Awesome Dude to lose his shit over her. But HERE? YES. LOSE YOUR SHIT, RAFFE. Totally worth it.
P: Raffe is everything I want out of my heartthrobs and has the ability to make me wetter than Katrina and I'm over here waving my foam finger and PEN-RYE-N OR WHATEVER painted on my chest. PEN-RYE-N FOR PRESIDENT.
P: Why do so many authors take that route? Seriously? Like this is A Thing and it needs to be talked about. Why do they seem so scared of strong female leads? Why do we have bookshelves filled of Bella Swans and not nearly enough Pen-rye-ns and Katnisses?
W: This Weak Female Leads is definitely a Thing that we need to discuss. We need to get to figure this shit out. BECAUSE IT KEEPS HAPPENING. In YA. In general adult romance. In Paranormals. EVERYWHERE.
P'S FRUEDIAN SLIP, DISCUSSION OF THAT.
W: Basically, what you're saying is if you swung that way you're betting that your gal pal would be a lady named Katrina. My money is that she carries knives in her boots.
P: Freud would have had a field day with that typo. But, yes, basically. Katrina in the Apocalypse with Knives would be my kind of lady love were I the type that sought lady loves.
W GETS US BACK ON TRACK:
W: Dude. Where were we in the story?
P: Evil spawn kids.
P: I'm skimming and now at the part with the dead little girls in the trees.
W: Oh, man. So creepy. And the fact that they kept on walking was so right on with the story. I liked that she didn't try to stop there and be a hero. Didn't try to turn every effed up turn into WHERE CAN I SHINE HERE?
P: Yes! And at the end of the chapter when she's all "I'm leaning on him but I pull away because I can't afford to lean on anyone else for their strength" and HOT DAMN, WEAK FEMALES, TAKE NOTE.
W: Pen-rye-n is writing the Gospel over here, and we're just preaching the truth.
P: We are here to preach the Gospel of Pen-rye-n. Check out our foam fingers and painted on wing scars. We're legit.
W: WHEN CAN WE TALK ABOUT HIM STEALING HER A DRESS AND THEM GETTING ALL DUDDED UP IN A STOLEN CAR?
P: RIGHT NOW. AND THE AERIE SHIT? I did not know what to expect from the Aerie but I was NOT expecting this crazy posh nightclub thing with stripper looking chicks running around.
W: Also, at this point of the story, I can't help but think...the world has ended...so girls have stopped shaving, right? We're rocking our slut dresses with lots of body hair. It's a brand new world, I get it, but I can't help but think these thoughts.
P: NO I THINK THE SAME THINGS. And I always want an author to address them, because, this is something I would not be able to give on were it the end of the world. Get me a razor or Nair because I will not be out killing Hell Spawn with hairy pits.
P: I have this unnatural fear of body hair. I think it might hint at underlying mental issues, but I don't care, hand me a razor.
W: YES! I want these issues addressed! Did you take a razor blade and some hot water and get shit done? I RESPECT THAT. But if we're rolling up in the Aerie with a tight dress on you can not lift your arms around HOT ANGEL DUDE'S NECK and show pit hair!
W: Me too. I think this in EVERY post-apocalypse book. EVERY TIME. "Yes, your hair is down and wild and your pants are tight, but what about your pits?"
P: Scale of 1-Hippy, CAN YOU BRAID YOUR LEG HAIR AT THIS MOMENT?
P: And let's be honest. Some of us girls have facial hair. We wax or bleach or shave that shit away. WHAT ARE YOU DOING ABOUT THIS, FEMALE LEAD IN POST-APOCALYPTIC BOOK? HOW ARE YOU HANDLING THE 'STACHE SITUATION?
W: Yes, come on, dark hair brethren. We've got 'stache stitches and chin hair epidemics and for a proper make out, regardless what is going on in the world, this needs to be dealt with.
P: I seriously just want ONE book to address this. Like, I want to see a female, dark haired, character comment on her 'stache sitch and use a knife or some shit to shave it.
P: Give me something to conjure up when the other authors of this genre skim over this issue.
W: We'll just fill in the blanks and in those quick showers they found razors or something. But in the future, authors, discuss this. We'd like to plan for end of the world scenarios. This is 2012 after all.
P: We should write a book. THE 'STACHE SITCH: Maintaining your beauty regimen through all end of the world scenarios.
W: Chapter 1: Razor Blades Are For More Than Stabbing.
P: Subtitled: Keep your knives sharp for gutting an enemy or shaving a leg.
W: So with our shaved by knife legs we're in the Aerie and angels are wearing suits and how much did you love this? HOW MUCH DID YOU HURT FOR RAFFE WHEN HE SAW ALL THE OTHER ANGELS?
P: OH GOD SO MUCH. Like, it felt so very Outcast at High School, These Are My Old Friends But Now They Don't Want to Associate With Me Because My Face Was Disfigured in that Accident.
P: But..in a good way? Like, I believed that shit. It hurt me for him. Here is this powerful angel having to rig his wings on a backpack so he can get into this Aerie and he can't look his Angel Friends in the eye and COME HERE AND LET ME LOVE YOU, RAFFE.
W: OHMYGAH, me too. I hurt so hard for him. It was done so, so good. Like hit me in the chest with how bad I love you right now. She went to hard with Pen-rye-n, and just enough with Raffe, to where we weren't hit over the head with him, but we're looking and searching his face and the pain and the subtly of it and I want to drag him into the elevator and let him touch my smooth upper lip.
P: "Come here, Raffe, and feel these smooth as baby butt pits. Yes. My lips are chapped and my hair is greasy but I'm bald as a cue ball everywhere it counts."
P: Also, okay, we're in the aerie and the angel dudes walk by and we're hurting for Raffe and THEN THEY KISS AND HOW MUCH DID YOU CLAP AND BARK LIKE A SEAL.
P: "He kisses me with the desperation of a dying man who believes the magic of eternal life is in this kiss." That line right there. Highlighted and saved in my clippings because HOT. DAMN.
W: Oh, man. Oh, my chest is getting all tight moment. IT WAS SO GOOD. One kiss, we got ONE KISS out of this book, but it. was. so. good.
P: So good and SO BRUTAL right after. "I don't even like you." OH, HELLO, FIST. SO NICE OF YOU TO SUCKER PUNCH THE HELL OUT OF ME.
W: So Han Solo of him.
W: BUT WE KNOW. WE KNOW he can't love her so as slapped in the face as she is, I KNOW YOU ARE IN PAIN, RAFFE. AND I WANT TO RUB YOUR WING STITCHES.
P: AND EVEN THAT FELT REAL! And our girl does not go cliff jumping or comatose. SHE SUCKS IT THE HELL UP AND GETS SHIT DONE. Who the fuck is this Ee exactly? I want to know her. I want to shake her hand. I want to send her an edible arrangement.
W: YEEES. Banging fists on the ground again because YES. SO. HARD. Girl is ON IT and gets right up in there and is ready to do the damn thing.
W: Oh and quick rewind, I loved when she agreed to the girl on girl fight and started it by OH, NO THAT'S MY MAN! Effectively saving him from taking his shirt off. Her balls. So smooth, so big.
W: And then we're in the club and here comes Albino Dude.
P: Sorry. I was sharpie-ing big, hairless balls on my foam finger.
P: But yes. Albino Dude. And the Politician who I totally pictured as Mitt Romney I DON'T KNOW WHY.
W: Oh...whoa. You just upped the creep factor on my eventual reread.
P: Right? Get thee behind me, Mittens! ....Wait. Stay away from my back. I don't trust you. Hands where I can see em.
W: So, Mittens is walking around with lifeless blow up dolls, Pen-rye-n is tricking Albino into the bathroom, and we're getting insider angel talk, like, oh hai, RAFFE IS RAPHAEL AND HAS GOT BIG STATS IN THE ANGEL BUSINESS.
W: I love all the Daughter of Man talk. It's hot. I'm into it.
P: Okay. Confession. I've told you the whole HI I'M A PREACHER'S DAUGHTER story before and even I never made the Raffe = Raphael connection.
P: Oh, God, yes. So hot. It's that forbidden fruit shit. Instant turn on.
W: I'm like really amped to talk about the bat wings, but before that we need to address Paige. Poor, sharp-toothed, piranha Paige.
P: Who still kinda held on to her humanity just enough that there's some hope there. Like, I'm really interested to see how this plays out. What will Pen-rye-n do? Is she gonna start feeding kids to her and shit?
W: RIGHT? DAMNIT, the set up here is bananas! So good. Because here is baby sister who we were so afraid for, Pen-rye-n is hauling that wheelchair until she just couldn't anymore, and here she finds her and she is that Monster In The Woods! But she's saving and she's holding out her arms to you and calling you her baby nickname, and PLEASE, CAN WE GET THIS EDIBLE ARRANGEMENT TO THE AUTHOR.
P: I really kinda hope that she stays this Hell Spawn kid and they, like, tame her? Kinda? I mean, Mama Young is fluent in crazy, so I'm sure she could come up with a good training regimen. I don't know. I don't really want her to go back to normal, you know? We did this. We're there. Baby Sister is changed. We can not unchange her. We can adapt to life with her or we can get rid of her, but we can't unchange her.
W: I cosign on this. I hope she stays the razor blade mouth Hell Spawn. It's a brand new world and this is a family I want to watch take on this crazy world where the angels have wreaked havoc AND THEY DON'T EVEN KNOW WHY THEY DID IT.
P: We'll add it to the note on Ee's Edible Arrangement. "HI. GREAT JOB ON ANGELFALL. PS: IF YOU WANT MORE FLOWER SHAPED FRUIT YOU'LL KEEP PAIGE A RAZOR BLADE MOUTHED HELL SPAWN."
W: "P.S. GOOD MOVE ON THE BAT WINGS."
P: THE BAT WINGS HOLY FUCK THE BAT WINGS.
W: I know. I KNOW. I can't stop geeking out. The way he comes into the room, the other angel, The Scorpion Thing, THE VENOM NO ONE KNOWS ABOUT, and her listening to all the crazy angel insider talk. AND RAFFE THINKING SHE'S DEAD. THE WEEPING. THE RAGE. ALL OF THE YES.
P: Oh,God, I had to reread the part where we see the bat wings. Holy fuck. HOLY FUCK. SO GOOD. SO DELICIOUSLY GOOD.
P: AND THE WEEPING. OH, RAFFE, COME TOUCH MY SMOOTH LEG AND CRY ON MAMA'S SHOULDER, YOU BIG BEAUTIFUL BAT WINGED MAN ANGEL.
W: And then he gets mad and starts punching shit and running off stage to punch and kick more shit and then he's back and he's carrying her like a total badass into the fire and raging war, his bat wings all out to not hurt her EVEN THOUGH IT MAKES THE RUMORS ABOUT HIM LOOK TRUE and...and...HE TAKES HER BACK TO HER PEOPLE.
W: I just...I...I just can't.
P: Me through all of that:
P: Me through all of that:
W: That. Until the very...last...word. THAT was this book. May bat-winged angels bless our dear Pen-rye-n and her piranha baby sister.
P: And all Raffe's fangirls said: AMEN.
ANGELFALL by Susan Ee
Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars.
Do it. For Raffe and the bat wings and Pen-rye-n and for piranha hell spawn everywhere.