When you're tired of the YA books that seem to promise a good post-apocalyptic or dystopian story, but are another excuse for a YA romance in thinly veiled disguise - this one is clearly different.
I have a few quibbles, but for the most part this is a very solid read. I was very hooked, managed to read it in one day. While it's not a very long book that's still saying a lot for me, especially given that there's a good plot. Good plots tend to make me want to take my time, but this was one of those rare ones that was good ANd made me frantic to keep going.
I really enjoyed the heroine, Penryn (love that name). She's just kick-butt enough without coming across as some conveniently perfect young woman. Her 1st person POV does feel a bit limiting, though. There's a bit too much internalization and I found myself wishing for some more development of the other characters. Her crazy mother probably gets the second best development after Penryn, but I'm betting readers will wish Raffe had that honor instead. Still, we come to know Penryn well because of her crazed mother, too. And this is book one on a series, so Raffe probably still has plenty of time to grow on us. And I DO want him to.
The plot and worldbuilding are pretty good, almost exceptional. I think too much of this kind of YA gets wrapped up in when the romance will spring up, and then everything else feels as if it suffers a little for it. In this one, there's a lot of attention given to the details. Sometimes this made it feel as if the pace was a little slow, but in thinking on it as a whole, the author actually did a great job at building my curiosity through dread, apprehension, and soon, terror. All of this was done because of the worldbuilding and it was very easy to buy into the author's vision of an angel-avenging future.
This is a pretty tough sell for me, the whole angel angle. Not only was I sort of dreading a quickly budding and superficial romance, but the angel side isn't much better in YA these days. People, this author's angels are terrifying. They are malicious and I loved every word of it. I'd hazard a guess that most of the ideas in this book have been done before, but this is one of those cases where an author has successfully, for me, illustrated them in a way that work incredibly well.
When we've finished the book and are a little peeved - no, a LOT - that we can't read the next book yet, congratulations, authors, you've done good.
Thank goodness summer of 2012 isn't too far away now.