Angelfall: Penryn & the End of Days, Book 1

Book review by
Michael Berry, Common Sense Media
Angelfall: Penryn & the End of Days, Book 1 Book Poster Image
An intense, sometimes horrific, end-of-the-world adventure.

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Kids say

age 15+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Angelfall is set in the San Francisco Bay Area and portrays a fairly realistic picture of its geography. The mythology of angels plays a part in the story, but the book's adherence to standard folklore remains murky.

Positive Messages

Much of Angelfall is concerned with the meaning of loyalty -- between family members, between friends, and even between species. Penryn is often at odds with other characters, but she bravely bases her actions on staying true to the needs of her mother and sister in particular and humankind in general.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Penryn, the protagonist of Angelfall, is a resourceful and brave young woman ready to put herself in danger in order to protect her schizophrenic mother or her disabled younger sister. Faced with an injured but still powerful angel, she uses her strength of character to continue her search for her missing sibling.


Angelfall contains a fair amount of violence and elements of horror. Angels battle each other with magical swords and tear off each other's wings. Hordes of tiny demons eat human victims and leave their body parts strewn around. Scorpion-like angels sting and suck the life force from their human victims.


In Angelfall, Penryn is obviously sexual attracted to classically handsome Raffe, but their antagonistic relationship seems to preclude any sort of romantic entanglement. But she does enjoy watching him walk around in nothing but a towel. In the angels' San Francisco aerie, human women dress and act provocatively to grab the attention of their hosts.


Set after a religious apocalypse, Angelfall naturally features a fair number of instances of "damn" and "hell." Otherwise, there's not much objectionable language.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

In the angels' San Francisco aerie, some of the heavenly host drink and smoke. Penryn and Raffe do not partake.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Angelfall is a gripping and intense supernatural post-apocalyptic adventure. There's a fair amount of violence (angels battle each other) and horrific elements (hordes of tiny demons devour humans and scorpion-like angels sting and suck the life force from their human victims), which may be too disturbing for some younger or more sensitive readers. Although the main characters are obviously attracted to each other, the sexual content is low, as is the level of profanity.

User Reviews

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Kid, 11 years old April 24, 2016

Great Book…Iffy Material

This book has become one of my favorites ever since I finished it! It has a mix of action, romance, horror and fantasy. But, there are some inappropriate scenes... Continue reading

What's the story?

Six weeks after angels have descended upon Earth and destroyed most of civilization, 17-year-old Penryn struggles to protect her mentally ill mother and her wheelchair-bound sister. She witnesses a battle between two angels, only to see the victor fly away with her sister, leaving behind the loser, Raffe, shorn of his wings. Penryn and Raffe form an uneasy alliance as they make their way to San Francisco to confront the new angelic regime.

Is it any good?

ANGELFALL serves up a fresh take on the Apocalypse, using angels as the instruments of humanity's destruction. Seventeen-year-old Penryn is an engaging and resourceful narrator-protagonist, and the relationship that develops between her and the injured angel Raffe has a refreshingly sarcastic undertone. Much of the story's big picture, however, remains obscured, with little hint about what the angels are actually up to, and that withholding of key information undercuts some of the plot's urgency. Some of the revelations at the book's climax, however, are likely to discomfort some of the novel's more sensitive readers.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the popularity of angels in recent young-adult fantasy fiction. Why might this be a trend these days? 

  • What kinds of moral tradeoffs might you have to make in the wake of a cataclysm as in Angelfall?

  • What do various religions tell us about the end of the world?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love fantasy and romance

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