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Turn of the Screw. Jamie Fraser. David Foster Wallace. Shakespeare. Well-constructed sentences. Leonard Cohen. Captain Wentworth. Neruda. Hemingway. Chapter 21 of Jane Eyre. Clive Staples. Tolkien. Melina Marchetta. Big, fat Russian novels. New words. And honey in my tea.

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Angelfall (Penryn & the End of Days, #1)

Angelfall (Penryn & the End of Days, #1) - Susan Ee THIS BOOK is easily in my TOP 5 for 2011. The HookWithin the first 10 pages, there is no doubt that Angelfall is going to be different than other books you’ve read with similar tag lines. You’ve seen angel books or apocalyptic YA with a young female main character and a budding romance with a paranormal hottie. What you haven’t seen necessarily are opening sentences like this one. Ironically, since the attacks, the sunsets have been glorious. Outside our condo window, the sky flames like a bruised mango in vivid orange, red and purple. The clouds ignite with sunset colors, and I’m almost scared those of us caught below will catch on fire too.From the bat, you already know that this is going to be writing worth your time. It’s rich and it’s only been one paragraph. How many different ways have you read descriptions of a sunset? How many times has the language stayed with you so that you LOOK for real sunsets like bruised mangoes? Congrats on your brain, Susan Ee.There is also instant danger and action. Unlike so many YA novels that give you chapters and chapters to care about the protagonist and her place in the world, Ee throws you into her world without so much as a how-de-do. There is no perceived, potential future threat. As soon as she opens her front door, she’s tensed for battle. And you’re hooked. The GirlPenryn Young. She’s not just a cool freaking name. Penryn is the definition of awesome. Who can say that way too may novels have epically annoying main characters?Yeah, it happens more often than not. Not so here. Penryn is wise and cautious and loyal and crafty but not without integrity. A real girl. But one that is not a hopeless, selfish teenager, instead one who has dealt with a severely mentally ill mother, an absent father and a crippled younger sister. She’s been the role of protector even before the angel apocalypse began, so she’s prepared, kickass, strong and smart. The HintAngelfall is the romance that isn’t. It doesn’t tease. It doesn’t promise. Penryn meets her erstwhile companion, the angel Raffe, as he’s being brutally ripped of his wings. Even in her haste to help him (for her own purposes) she sees his otherworldly beauty and SHE DOESN’T CARE. There’s never any flowery romantic language about his perfect face. She isn’t distracted from what she NEEDS from him to ever forget that he is her enemy. And Raffe doesn’t let her forget it either. And for all her cocky posturing, you know there is something there. Like this exchange that happens when Penryn is in the midst of a shocking, frigid nightmare: ‘Hush. Shhh,’ a soothing voice whispers in my ear. I feel the sofa cushions being pulled out from against my back. Then warmth envelops me. Firm muscles embrace me from the space where the cushions used to be. I’m groggily aware of masculine arms wrapping themselves around me, their skin soft as a feather, their muscles steel velvet. Chasing away the ice in my veins and the nightmare.See? It’s romantic, but it isn’t a romance. She’s not even awake for this. If she were, she would never have accepted his comfort. GAH. They have the best relationship. Their bond is reluctant and prickly but strong and real. They are using one another and yet you get the sense of honest respect. There is loyalty and maybe love, but trust me: nothing will happen how you think it will. The PaceYou literally cannot stop reading this book. The chapters are almost comically short, sometimes only a few pages. But each one ends and gives you no pause.Oh, that tiger striped angel is swooping down on Penryn’s younger, wheelchair bound sister? I’ll stop there.Is that a bloody body on the road in front of you? Time for bed.Partially cannibalized little girls left hanging from trees? This should be a fine image to fall asleep to. (Did I mention there is some sort of frightening cannibalistic monsters running around? Oh yeah. It’s bananas.)The last dozen chapters or so are heart-poundingly perfect. There are no info dumps despite there being a large amount of angel lore that Penryn isn’t privy to. SHE sees and deduces. She HEARS and makes choices. There could have been several places were Raffe just gives her the business about his world, but he never bothers. I loved it. The EndThis book has the most haunting, gorgeously depicted, resonating imagery at the end that I’ve ever read. The final image of Raffe and Penryn together (I’m making the distinction because it’s not the final image of Raffe, or the final image of Penryn, or the final image of the book) is gritty and gorgeous. I wish the book had a bigger fandom so there were artists out there illustrating it. I wish quoting it wouldn’t totally spoil the book for most of you because it’s just so great. It makes me insanely excited for the movie and especially for …. THE SEQUELYes, FINALLY FINALLY, Susan has announced the title, summary and release date for the follow up novel. World After (Penryn and the End of Days #2) will be released November 19th, just in time to protect my sanity. Because I swear if it had gone into 2014, I would have cut someone.As it is, we have a bit of a wait. But I’ve waited this long. By the time it comes out, it will be almost exactly two years since I first fell in love with Penryn and Raffe. But what kind of fangirl would I be if I had no patience? And to be honest, I can’t wait to put World After on my Top 5 list of 2013.I’m serious, guys. I’m not reccing a three star book here. It’s a MUST READ. It’s phenomenal. Get on it. I have three copies. I will send you one.** Edited to add: Read my full review (with gifs!!!) over at That's Normal. http://thats-normal.com/2013/06/easily-in-my-top-5-angelfall-gets-a-sequel/**