This story has a tangy, fresh feel to it - not an easy thing to achieve in a YA post-apocalyptic novel. We've all read about the end of the world so often now that if it were to happen tomorrow it would feel like a reboot.
What Susan Ee has done is to avoid the kick-ass smart-mouthed heroine model and give us something grittier: a seventeen-year-old girl who has lived for years with a mentally disturbed, often violent and then remorseful mother, who is motivated to valour against the odds to try and save her crippled little sister from her evil angel kidnappers.
The writing is... robust.
Here's a sample. Our heroine and her mother are hiding out in a deserted start-up office in Silicon Valley when intruders break in. Our heroine goes to look for her mother. She tells us:
"I find a man lying in the hallway leading to the kitchen. His chest is bare, his shirt torn away. Six knives stick out of his flesh in a circular pattern. Someone has drawn a powder-pink lipstick pentagram with the knives at the end of the points. Blood bubble up from each of the knives. The man is all eyes and shock as he stares at the ruin of his chest as though unable to believe it has anything to do with him.
My mother is safe.
Seeing what she did to this man, I can't help but wonder if that's a good thing. She has purposely missed his heart, and he will slowly bleed to death.
If we had been back in the old world, the World Before, I would have called an ambulance despite the fact that he had attacked my mom. The doctors would have fixed him up, and he would have had all the time he needed to recover in jail. But unfortunately for all of us, this is the World After.
I step around him and leave him to his slow death."