Okay, so I decided to try to read Angelfall by my Clarion West classmate, Susan Ee. I say "try" not because I expected to hate it or find it difficult, but because I'm always doing a million things at any given time and it's hard to clear my head enough to be able to just sit and read.
Fast forward about four hours, and I was reading the last pages. This doesn't happen to me very often, so for this reason I highly recommend Susan's book.
Set in a post apocalyptic California - and yes, like many I am SICK and TIRED of all the post apocalyptic stuff out there, but this one broke away from that herd when Gabriel actually shows up in Jerusalem and is promptly killed in a hail of gunfire. The rest of the angelic host, from both heaven and hell, are now duking it out on Earth, never mind the human casualties.
Penryn, who is only a teenager, is trying to keep her family together. Her family includes a parapelygic sister in a wheelchair and a paranoid schizophrenic mother who hasn't had access to medication since the end of the world. As the book opens, the trio try to escape their dilapidated condominium, only to end up in the middle of an angel fight, during which Mom runs off into the shadows, little sister gets kidnapped by the victorious angels, and Penryn, seeing no other option, grabs the only being she is able to subdue, the angel who's just been defeated in the fight, and ties him up in the hopes that he'll tell her how to get her sister back.
I won't give any spoilers, just raves about the well drawn characters, the gripping action scenes, and the ending that ties up all of the storylines of this book (a must for me) yet opens up enough new questions that I will be *pestering* Susan to get the next installment out.
All of us in the writing field who know each other tend to keep to a strict code of only recommending each other's books if we mean it. We want our reviews to mean something, and we've all been at this long enough that we've dealt with our squeamishness about loving the person and hating their work and vice versa. So, yes, I did once workshop with Susan yeeeeeaaars ago, at Clarion West. A couple of years after that, we met up for another informal workshop at her, now former, cabin in the woods that also features in this book (I suspect. She doesn't say as much.) Susan and I both have stories in The Dragon and the Stars (Daw Science Fiction). We're on a common listserv and occasionally exchange virtual hellos. We know each other, but not well enough that either of us is likely to be tempted to lie for the other. I trust that she'd rip my work to shreds in a heartbeat :-)