18 April 2014
I enjoyed reading this book. I couldn't put it down: it was intriguing and kept me on the edge of my figurative seat. There was a lot of action, something that I wasn't really looking for but I generally appreciate in a book. Especially in a 'first-in-series' book. Usually authors keep the action back for after the characters have been introduced (I'm looking at you, Veronica Roth).
I found Penryn to be a great main character. She wasn't whiny or preachy, and I could see that she was a fundamentally strong woman. Her mother is Insane (capitalised) and she looks after her disabled sister, Paige. Her dad left an undetermined amount of time ago, and now that the world is in chaos, her mum is off her meds. She looks up to her sister, as she is a strong-minded and confident person. This doesn't mean that Pen is a wallflower, but she respects her sister for not letting her disability own her, and for not blaming their mother (who crippled her).
Within the first two chapters, Paige is spirited away by an Angel, who later turns out to be a demon. Spoiler, soz. This is the driving point of the story, as Pen does everything she physically can to rescue her sister - beginning with capturing a mutilated angel. After a series of unfortunate events, and some torture, the pair become not-quite-friends and strike a deal. Pen will help Raffe get his wings reattached if Raffe will take Pen to find Paige. How fortunate that they are headed to the same place!
They face certain death from all sides: Angels that are hunting down not only Raffe but trying to kill off the remaining humans; Humans who are trying to kill the Angels and regain control of the planet; and Demons, who are just generally trying to kill everyone. Luckily, without his wings, Raffe looks passably human. And if he doesn't go topless, no one will even know that his wings have been sliced off.
I don't want to give absolutely everything away, but it is a really great book with some real sharp left turns. Honestly, I didn't expect a lot of what happened to happen. It just really threw me for six and I loved reading it.
There is a part where Pen pretty much dresses like a prositute to get into the Aerie (also known as the Angel's base) and I'm not even sure if I liked that part, because it seemed quite unlike what Penryn would do, but it seemed appropriate for the story.
Other things that I didn't like include Penryn's confusing backstory. Most things aren't even mentioned. I mean, anything about her family is fed in, but we don't get to know about HER. Did she have many friends? Was she girly? I would expect someone with a mum like that to be quite introverted and antisocial, possibly quite unpopular, but she seems social and has at least one friend mentioned by name. I know she had karate and survival lessons, paid for by her mum, just in case the apocalypse happened in their lifetime.
Oh, I didn't mention that her mum's illness makes her think the Devil is telling her to do stuff. She blacks out sometimes and does really creepy things. One night, she mutilates a corpse. Later in the story, she is found in the Aerie tasering all the people that come too close to the fence - and really reveling in it.
Usually I write a YES/NO table in my reviews as kind of a TL;DR, but my notes were on my phone and somehow that page got deleted. I know a few of the things were things like "I can't work out if Penryn is a reliable narrator", "I liked the writing style" but I wrote this review about a month ago.
One thing I really liked was that the second in the series was already available to me, so I could carry on straight away. And you really need to, because the ending is so bizarre I would have HATED waiting for the sequel.
Very biblical. I knew some things because I went to Sunday School when I was a kid, but a lot of things are like really rooted in religion. I liked that given names have a special power over the person or object. I liked that the Angels carried swords like Castiel and that in Supernatural. I liked Penryn's description of the world around her, and most importantly, I loved her name!
I detested the Scorpion demons, and for the most part I detest Angel nature. I love love loved Raffe though. I very quickly clocked on that he was Raphael, but it still made my heart quicken when I heard his real name for the first time.
I don't know if I would recommend this to anyone that wasn't into either Dystopian YA or Angel related fiction.
This is definitely one of those niche books that hasn't received a massive amount of recognition but should, and I can't wait for the rest of the series.