Reading “Angelfall” by Susan Ee was one of the worst reading experiences. There were so many issues with the novel that it was hard to even focus on the story because of how horribly annoying they were.
For one, the writing is beyond bland and cheesy, and could even be close to the likes of “50 Shades of Grey”. For example, “He stared into my eyes with an intense look. I hold my breath. I swear he’s memorizing me, as though his mental camera is firing, capturing me in this moment. He even inhales deeply as though filling up on my scent.” This cliche and simple writing style is something that belongs in mediocre fanfiction, not a published book.
The novel was also full of misogynistic situations. First of all, Penryn, the main character, displays this through her actions and decisions. She has a case of the “I’m not like other girls” syndrome. And if that’s not enough, she was constantly slut-shaming. Not only Penryn, but everyone in Angelfall had the mindset that “__ing like a girl” was an insult. The role of women was also extremely problematic. Women were only seen as useful doing laundry, being slaves for the angels, and basically having no importance. But of course, Penryn isn’t like them, because she can stand up for herself and she “isn’t as helpless as the average teen.” This gag-worthy line is only one of many degrading quotes that fill the pages of “Angelfall”.
The pacing was also done in the most bizarre way, as it was too fast-paced. The reader never actually got to know Penryn and Raffe, the two main characters, and Ee tried to force the reader to be sympathetic by constantly emphasizing Penryn’s need to find her sister. But it was impossible to care because the reader barely knew her. Ee would also skip the “slower” parts and rush straight to big moments in the book. The audience never got too long of a conversation between the characters, which only contributed to the lack of empathy felt towards them. There was one moment where Penryn explains that they had been staying in a building for several days, but the audience never got to see what happened. Ee simply rushed the plot from getting to the building, immediately to Penryn and Raffe being discovered
The ignorant “representation” of Penryn’s mother’s case of schizophrenia was another type of representation that was done horribly. Ee used the stereotype of schizophrenics, and enhanced it even more to just make her mother seem terrifying and insane, which is not the right way to go about representing a serious disease, especially to such a young audience.
The hype surrounding the novel is understandable though. It is the same kind of hype that “The Maze Runner” received. Both are fast-paced novels that have horrible characters, even worse writing, but are still, nonetheless, fun and quick reads that are good for the age they were written for.