If you liked Susan Ee's Angelfall, you'll love Sarah Raughley's YA novel Fate of Flames

Blues vocalist Shakura S'Aida discusses the importance of heroism in YA fiction.
The Next Chapter columnist and blue singer Shakura S'Aida discusses two YA post-apocalyptic novels. (www.shakurasaida.com)
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Susan Ee is a former lawyer-turned-popular-writer of YA fantasy novels. Her Penryn & the End Of Days series presents a post-apocalyptic world that has been attacked by vengeful angels. Angelfall is the first book in the series. Shakura S'Aida, blues musician and committed reader of fantasy and YA novels, has found a Canadian match in Sarah Raughley's Fate of Flames.

Angelfall by Susan Ee

Susan Ee is the author of the YA novel Angelfall. (www.susanee.com/Hodder & Stoughton)

 "There are a few series out there that depict angels not as kind and loving, but as cruel and disdainful of humans. So it wasn't that much of a surprise for me that the angels in Angelfall weren't kind and cherubic — but I wasn't prepared for how mean they could actually be. In this world, there is a young woman named Penryn who lives in a world that has recently been destroyed by the apocalypse. The angels are out there killing people. One night, one of the bad angels takes her sister and flies away. I read the series within about four days because it was so breathtaking and vivid.

"The thing I really enjoyed about Angelfall is that Penryn is a strong, grounded individual who wants to fight for her family. She might have fear inside, but she really doesn't show it or allow it to stop her getting what she needs to get done. I really love books that allow you to see the conflict not just between good and evil, but also between what we want to do and what we have to do."

Fate of Flames by Sarah Raughley

Sarah Raughley is a YA writer and author of Fate of Flames. (Melanie Gillis/Simon Pulse)

"Maia, the heroine of Fate of Flames, is looking for strength anywhere she can get it. Raughley's creatures are phantoms. They've taken over the world and they're quite frightful. Maia is looking outside of herself for inspiration because she's lost almost all of her family; whereas Penryn finds courage all on her own. What Maia has found are these four women who are fighting the phantoms for the world. She and her twin sister use them as inspiration when they were being bullied in school

"I saw a lot of angst kids are going through right now. Instead of us as a society teaching these kids their inner strength, a lot of them are finding their strength through social media. Maia discovering her own voice and figuring out where her power came from — that's the thing that kept me reading."

Diversity as a fact of life

"Sarah Raughley is a writer from Southern Ontario and the thing I love most about Fate of Flames is that I saw myself in it without realizing it. Halfway through the book, I discovered that the main character is actually a woman of colour. There are other women of colour in the book and it's not in your face; it's not obvious, but it's not hidden either. It's just a matter of fact. These women come from diverse backgrounds and they happen to be pulled together and become the heroines of the series."

Shakura S'Aida's comments have been edited and condensed.

Listen to Time by Shakura S'Aida: