I'm trying not to fall under the spell of YA PNRs, with weak heroines, dated or outright offensive moral structures, and occasionally repellent heroes. Imagine my surprise when Angelfall was actually good.
It isn't perfect. I could complain about how the normally take-charge Penryn lets Raffe get by with weak or nonexistent answers. (At one point, he says he knows what humans are like because he watches TV. It's laughable on the face of it, but Penryn doesn't challenge him about his taste in shows. Hasn't he ever watched Full House?) She doesn't once ask him one of the first things that would have been out of my mouth: "How many people have you killed?" And there's my general reluctance to accept that an attraction between a teenage mortal and an immortal being doesn't have at least a little creep factor to it. (Why is it creepy if the age difference is thirty years but not if it's a couple thousand?)
But the experience of reading the book did (mostly) get me past that. The quality of writing is very high here, and the characters are absorbing. Especially Penryn, who is mostly a capable and determined heroine who isn't going to let anything, including hormones, interfere with her quest to rescue her sister. Raffe is a bit of a mystery to me, since he carefully guards his reactions. I think he'll have an interesting character arc.
The world that's set up here is incredibly creepy, and relies mostly on showing the end results of what must have been a horrific scene, and leaving exactly what happened up to the readers' imaginations. The world building can be spotty, but it is our world, for the most part, and the supernatural is still largely mysterious.
I found myself very attached to this book, and these characters, and very excited to read the rest of the series.