Finally it has happened. The two things I love most in the world, YA Paranormal Romance and YA Dystopia, have been merged together in a book I am reviewing. Oh, frabjuous day!
And yes, it’s angels again. Evil angels who cause the apocalypse, because that’s never been done—Cough!Evangelion!Cough!Dominion!Cough!—before.
But I’m sure this will be a masterpiece to rival even the likes of Eva. Then again, I don’t like Eva that much anyway, so I suppose it wouldn’t be too hard.
(The Condensed Goodreads review is here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1054600302 )
We begin with the knowledge that the angel apocalypse has made the sunsets prettier because… irony?
Well, if aesthetics for aesthetics sake isn’t a good indicator of how this book will turn out, we meet our tough heroine Katniss, the only person who can protect her little sister Prim in a dangerous world, since her father isn’t around and her mother is crazy.
Yeah, I used that joke again. In actuality we meet our tough heroine Penryn (?!?), the only person who can protect her little sister Paige in a dangerous world, since her father isn’t around and her mother is crazy. And for added bonus, Paige is in a wheelchair. This chapter involves them getting ready to leave the house… and that’s it.
This terrific trio step out into post-apocalyptic wherever they are, and let us know that when people aren’t running from evil angels in this world, they’re spraying graffiti evil angels on the sides of walls and forming gangs who nail fake angel feathers to doors.
Also, the apocalypse has caused the people of Silicon Valley (I guess that’s where they are) to throw their smartphones into the streets, because they were infected with the SYMBOLISM! virus. After some wandering around, Prim—uh, Paige, finds a feather that apparently comes from a real angel this time.
And a real angel swoops down to give Penryn an opportunity to explain how angels have been killing everyone for… some reason.
More angels follow, and fortunately for our heroes, they seem to be more interested in killing each other than in Penryn. These angels all have different-coloured wings, designed to give me Inescapable flashbacks, no doubt. Also they look like ‘the type to be heavily scarred’, but aren’t, whatever that means.
A fight ensues between five crazy-winged angels and one with normal white wings, described in such terms that I’m guessing he’s the paranormal love interest. Yay. Then they cut his wings off. Take that, Patch!
At this point Pen refers to two of the other angels as ‘bullies’, despite having no idea what’s going on.
One of them expresses his regret that he has to cut ‘Snowy-Wings’ snowy wings off, making me suspect his story would be far more interesting than the one I’m reading, and Paige falls for the old, making-a-noise-that-gives-away-your-location-when-trying-to-hide cliché.
Pen tries to distract the angels so her family can get away, instead of just… trying to get away while they were already distracted by carving up some wings, but mommy dearest runs off without Paige, leaving her wide open for a kidnapping plot. Meanwhile Pen, an untrained teenage girl, manages to get a sword from the ground and throw it to Snow White before the fearsome angels can do shit.
With Snow White armed, the others RUN AWAY. Unfortunately, one of the other angels decides that spiting Pen is more important than running away, and abducts Paige on his way out, laughing maniacally. Well, not really, but he may as well have been.
Man, these are some short chapters. Anyway, Penny then looks for mommy, although their relationship is ‘complicated’, and her ‘rosy love’ for her mother is ‘slashed with black’ and ‘spattered with grey’, and inked ravens of despair claw holes in the arse of the world’s mind.
No one will get that reference.
But poor old mum is nowhere to be found, hopefully she will avoid the supermarkets which we are told the gangs have turned into ‘torture stations’. As you would. (given the many stations I’ve been to, I think perhaps the ‘torture’ part is redundant).
So, Pen decides to grab herself a slice of Snow White, as angel wings go for big bucks on the black market. And also to see if he knows where the other angels took Paige. She applies first aid and tosses him into Paige’s wheelchair, making sure to act as though it’s really difficult for her to lift him as that will mean anyone watching will think she’s strong.
Pen holes up in an office with a corpse outside to ward people off. Luckily there’s still running water and intermittent electricity (why did everyone throw away their smartphones again?) so the apocalypse isn’t that bad.
Two days later Snow White wakes up to inform Pen that her sister is totes ded. Pen doesn’t believe him, because she’s read the blurb for this book. So she shows him his severed wings to prove… that she has his wings? She claims doctors could sew them back on, but I wouldn’t think Snow was stupid enough to—oh wait, he is.
Apparently Buffalo Bill’s come by to put make-up on the corpse outside the office; no, wait, it was Crazy Old Mum, who now vandalises corpses because… she’s crazy, and that’s what crazy people do. Also they have radar powers because how else could she have found Pen?
Well, according to her a ‘demon’ told her. Sounds legit. Meanwhile we get some backstory which tells us no one knows how Paige got ‘crippled’, she was in the house with Crazy Mum and there was an ‘accident’ that was apparently never investigated, so Mum made Pen get a bazillion different types of self-defence lessons even though they had no money to pay for them. Also she kept a scrapbook of stories about mothers who killed their children.
I have so many questions I can’t even list them all.
Pen duct-tapes up Snow White for safe-keeping, they exchange ‘witty banter’ then fight. Then more banter, then more bondage. And we get this line:
“When I was little, I always thought I’d be Cinderella, but I guess this makes me the wicked witch.”
You thought you’d be Cinderella, huh?
And wait—there was no wicked witch in Cinderella!
Crazy Mum leaves the lights on, attracting one of those evil gangs. A fairly written action scene ensues, although Snow White does leap to her defence for no reason. Guess he has Schlockholm Syndrome. Mummy knifes up some guy while Snow White takes on the rest of them.
Then Pen decides to lend him a hand, seeing as he’s her only link to poor Paige, and they fight and they fight and they fight and they fight… and they win. Deciding to leave, Snow White realises that Pen has his super-special-awesome sword, and Pen doesn’t give it back to him, because I guess she’s not an idiot.
I’m beginning to fear this book might be worth more than one star. I hate books like that!
Anyway, Snow White is in bad shape after some walking, leading me to wonder how exactly angels work in this world, because they seem to be slightly stronger humans with wings. This one’s name is ‘Raffe’. Short for Raphael? Who knows, I’m still going to call him Snow White.
Pen lets us know that Snow is totes gorgeous, claims she isn’t afraid of him, or god, then moves onto another subject. Why have angels decided to destroy humanity?
Well, I could make several jokes about why humanity deserves to be destroyed, but Snow’s answer is, word for word:
That sounds legit to Pen, and they have lunch. And they talk and they talk and they talk and they talk… we find out the angels have been collecting children, but Snow doesn’t know why because it appears Snow knows fuck all, really. When Pen asks him why the others were attacking him, he tells her not to be a victim-blamer, and nothing of interest happens.
Then there’s a dream sequence that lets you know Pen watched Titanic one too many times before the apocalypse and when she wakes up Snow agrees to take her to… somewhere. Her sister might be there, I guess.
Now we learn that angels take longer to heal from wounds inflicted by angel swords, and Snow’s sword had to give Pen permission to use it because I guess it works by Excalibur rules.
Snow and Pen eat some cat food and set off on their journey.
Oh, and we’re at the quarter-way mark. Exciting.
Our heroes begin by finding some dead bodies, dead bodies that were apparently gnawed on by zombies, or possibly just crazy people. Or a pack of feral children. Or Mummy.
Who cares, next chapter!
In the woods, Paige’s wheelchair gets stuck in the mud and Snow White banters at Pen for a bit. Then they go to a place called Skyline, where the local people don’t like outsiders and set the hounds on them.
Snow White stuffs Pen in a tree and leads the doggies away just before a group of organised guys appear and find him. Pen is aggrieved that they are taking her captive captive, and goes after them.
It’s much easier to summarise chapters when stuff happens, rather than mindless bullshit. That’s another mark against you, Angelfall—I’m starting to get annoyed with your lack of badness!
The random guys take Snow White back to their base, and Pen follows along, waiting ’til night to perform a daring rescue… that gets her immediately captured. Yay.
So the thing about this book, I think, is that it has no… je ne sais quoi. I know that sounds super-vague, and I’m sorry, but I’m just… underwhelmed. Ever since chapter nine there’s been nothing wrong with the story and at the same time there’s been nothing compelling about it either.
Like now, when the random guys shoot the shit with Pen and Snow as they’re tied to chairs. There’s not even anything to say about it, it’s just talking. Then their leader comes in and feeds them. His name is Obadiah, and he excels in Boring Conversations.
Once both sides have reassured each other that they’re not living off Soylent Green, Obi confides in them his plan to find the crazy cannibals and train them to fight angels. There, that’s the kind of awesomely stupid idea I read books for! For once, I’m happy our heroes have found La Resistance!
Obi-Wan lets them know that he’s not deluded enough to think the local cannibals will be able to defeat the evil angels, (I don’t know—if they’re the Inbreds from the Wrong Turn franchise I think they could pull it off), but he does hope that it will at least inspire the people—and I for one find it very inspiring.
He leaves them to their escape attempt, and Snow breaks his bonds, because angel-powers. Pen mentions how the angels might have started killing humans because Gabriel got shot and killed, so apparently angels are weak against bullets?
Anyway, they’re immediately re-captured.
La Resistance tells our heroes they have to stay until the camp moves, because otherwise they might give away their location. If this was good old Ember, she would have been whining indignantly about it. Pen is actually reasonable.
I’m Very Disappointed, Angelfall!
Obi-Wan wants to recruit them though, and his guard Boden calls them ‘dildos’. Time will tell if he becomes my favourite character or not…
Anyway, they stay in the camp, where the men build walls out of computers instead of any of the hundreds of things that would make better walls than computers because SYMBOLISM! Pen goes to talk to Obi-Wan to see if he’ll let them go since they’ve been there a whole day, but runs into Boden who tells her to get back in the kitchen before he orally sodomises her.
Perhaps not my favourite character then.
Pen punches him in the face, he punches her back, she breaks his finger, he punches her in the boob, the onlookers take bets.
About this time Pen decides to ‘get serious’ about this fight and turns the tables, right before Obi-Wan shows up to break it up, and Pen feels bad that Snow White didn’t bet on her winning. Because his opinion of her is so important to her now, apparently.
Obi-Wan tells her that brawling and gambling are cornerstones of their resistance movement, which is why no one tried to stop the fight. Great policy! Somehow, Pen doesn’t decide to join La Resistance after this, though she is tempted. She has to find Prim, after all. Uh, Paige.
But she wants to live in a world where her biggest worries are the PROOOOM, and pretending she does will obviously make it so!
(Hey, maybe Angelfall takes place in the same universe as Halo? Guess Bethany’s mission backfired big-time, maybe she should have actually paid attention to it rather than mooning over Xavier all the time)
Then Fred and George Weasley show up (called Tweedledum and Tweedledee in this book, though the character models match), seemingly to become Pen’s annoying cheerleading-squad. They gush over how awesome she is for a bit and try to recruit her into more fighting, saying if she throws a fight for them, they’ll help her escape.
She accepts, but not before interrogating them as to what Snow bet in regards to her fight.
After a day of hard work Pen worries because Snow will be expected to take his shirt off, revealing the bandages with bloodstains in the shape of wing joints; and there’s just no possible explanation for those, except wings. Derp.
Luckily the woman the Hitachi twins (Hitachi doesn’t get a red line? Are Microsoft Ouran fans? Well, Ouran got one, so probably not) wanted Pen to fight; Anita (I’m saying nothing), sidles up to flirt with Snow and Pen pretends to be a jealous bitch to distract everyone.
Anita, it seems, is a Dawn character—yay! I hadn’t dared hope!
They mud-wrestle, but are interrupted by men with gnus.
(If you’re in my NaNo group, ‘gnus’ is a joke. If not, sucks to be you!)
Panic ensues, people RUN AWAY, and Snow and Pen take the opportunity to escape. They come across some of the soldiers fighting… something, they don’t see what it was, but it was scary and some of the soldiers have been disarmed. In the sense that I’m putting my Horatio Cane sunglasses on.
Anyway, the soldiers leave, and our heroes go back to where Pen stashed Snow’s wings. They collect them, and Snow leads Pen back to camp Fight Club before telling her her sister’s in San Francisco. Then he gives some incredibly vague lines about how the whole massacre thing happened because of him, Pen is safer on her own, and then he buggers off.
Pen, of course, still has that Millstone to rescue, so instead of going back to Fight Club, she wanders off into the forest.
Pen wanders around in the woods and is attacked by things.
Snow shows up to save her. The two of them fight the… things (I don’t know, they’re little shadow demons or something) until they leave. Snow apparently doesn’t know what they are, and doesn’t recognise the term ‘Bizzaro-ville’ either, despite having no problems speaking colloquial English up ’til now.
Wait a minute, I just realised. I’ve been calling him ‘Snow’ all this time… and he knows nothing…
Aha. Ahahaha. AHAHAHAHAHAHA! Oh, I crack myself up.
Moving on, we’re halfway through the book, let’s celebrate with another dream sequence!
CONTINUED TOMORROW IN PART TWO