I read this way back in 2012, and at the time I was pretty enthusiastic about it. I’ve read a lot more YA since then, and a lot more self-published books, so the shine has worn off a little. Also, I now think I understand why, even though I bought book two on release date, I have never gotten around to reading it, and that is because the world Susan Ee has created is FLIPPING TERRIFYING. A very large part of me doesn’t want to know how it ends, because that part feels it couldn’t possibly end other than badly. Also, just being inside this world is upsetting and depressing.
It’s the relative simplicity of the story arc amongst what is rather an impressive amount of worldbuilding in a short amount of space, and the surprising depth of the characters, that really makes this book. The conceit of angels being scary is a smart one, not least because that’s how they started out, but I also like it as a response to all the books where angels are 100% good, or romanticized. The part of me that is all DO NOT WANT is also forced to acknowledge, Okay, but that *is* really interesting; what’s going to happen next? But really, in a very short amount of pages, you know exactly what this world feels like, what it might be like to live in it, even if you don’t know all the details exactly. That’s good worldbuilding, when you have that feeling, and you finding yourself, instead of being confused, just asking questions and wanting more because you’re interested.
And now I have to read the second book, and I have no idea what’s going to happen or how it could possibly be good, and I’m scared (ʘ︵ʘ)