Joint Review: World After (Penryn & The End of Days #2) by Susan Ee

cover_world_afterPublisher: Skyscape US/ Hodder and Stoughton UK

Publish Date: Out now
How we got this book: ARC from the publisher via Netgalley & Print Arc from the UK Publisher

In this sequel to the bestselling fantasy thriller, Angelfall, the survivors of the angel apocalypse begin to scrape back together what’s left of the modern world. When a group of people capture Penryn’s sister Paige, thinking she’s a monster, the situation ends in a massacre. Paige disappears. Humans are terrified. Mom is heartbroken.

Penryn drives through the streets of San Francisco looking for Paige. Why are the streets so empty? Where is everybody? Her search leads her into the heart of the angels’ secret plans, where she catches a glimpse of their motivations, and learns the horrifying extent to which the angels are willing to go.

Meanwhile, Raffe hunts for his wings. Without them, he can’t rejoin the angels, can’t take his rightful place as one of their leaders. When faced with recapturing his wings or helping Penryn survive, which will he choose?

This blurb came from the author’s website.

E: Oh a couple of years ago one of my fellow Book Pushers, **waves** Hi Has, insisted that I give a book called Angelfall a try. She raved over it so I gave into her pressure and well you can see the results here. I was among those who eagerly searched out information on the second book and I am happy to say that the 2-year wait was worth it. I will caution you that if you haven’t read the first book you NEED to read it first because this starts immediately afterwards.

Has: Heh! I totally agree about needing to read the first book. I had a reread a few weeks ago of Angelfall and it was just as amazing the first time I read it. Even though World After took two years to be published it was well worth the wait and the ongoing epic saga of angels in a post apocalyptic world was just as addictive, with the edge of your pants action and a fantastic heroine.

E: Ee included some very interesting developments in this story. I really enjoyed learning more about the Angel swords and how special they really are. On several occasions the swords played a definitive role. I do have some questions about how/when/what makes the swords decide to act because it isn’t continuous. Raffe explained a few things about the swords but I hope more will come out in successive installments.

Has: I really loved how Susan Ee delved more into the Angel mythologies and their mythos surrounding their swords was really intriguing especially. I really loved the scenes with Raffe’s sword which bonded with Penryn. Her interaction with the sword were a real highlight which was filled with humour as well as brilliant action sequences. I also loved how an inanimate object was infused with real personality and it added real depth to the characterisations of Raffe and Penryn.

E: This story doesn’t pull any punches. It is apologetically dark and gritty. Watching the actions of most of the humans makes it difficult to have faith in humanity but Ee included a few bright moments with a variety of different characters, which kept hope alive. I also have to saw that I loved seeing a certain individual get some revenge against an individual who mistreated her. I think that was one of my favorite scenes in the book.

Has: I think this is why this series is so engaging and awesome! Because Susan Ee takes chances with the narrative and characters and doesn’t take any prisoners. I liked that the plot went into unexpected ways and even though some scenes were hard to read, it definitely felt different and refreshing to similar books in this genre. I also really like that there is real darkness and grittiness but she really balances it well with humour especially with the dialogue which is just as snappy and fun as the first book. I loved that the Dee-Dums (the identical twins who were part of the resistance in the first book) showed up again and I freaking adore their chemistry with Penryn which is full of humour and snark. Penryn’s mother also made me laugh with some of her actions even though it was pretty scary with what she can do with a lipstick. They really help to balance out the stark tone of the book and I hope we get to see more of them and their back-story in the sequels.

E: One of the other things I think Ee did quite well was develop her villains. All angels were not set against men, some were just easily manipulated and didn’t really know what they were supporting. The inclusion of science and gene-manipulation to create the flying scorpion like things was a great creepy touch. And then the symbolism about their abilities and cruelty that was revealed later in this installment was extremely diabolic.

Has: This was one of the interesting aspects and twists of the plot. I loved that she made the Angels into fallible beings, even though they were so powerful, they felt more real and fleshed out and ironically enough human-like too. Uriel’s character who is one of the main villains had an interesting scene towards the end which really highlights this and makes me wonder about the real reason on why the angels coming to Earth and the reason behind the apocalypse.

I also found that while the first book flirted with elements of horror, World After was more heavy with that overtone. Although I loved the twists on how the reasons and the creation behind the Scorpion beings and the results of the experiments of the young children who were taken and experimented upon, which Penryn’s sister was a victim of. It was creepy and chilling and memorable.

The only thing I was unhappy about the book, was the long separation with Raffe and and Penryn, their partnership was one of the strongest facets of the series. And even though Susan Ee does a really good job with certain aspects of the plot that you don’t really miss Raffe’s presence, when he is reunited with Penryn, their chemistry between them is really tangible. I loved the ending which was jaw-dropping with an unexpected twist although it does leave you desperate for the next book!

E: Ee packed a lot of action and plot development in World After while retaining the key essence of the characters introduced in the first installment. I loved how things continued progressing and the expanded viewpoint that Penryn developed. Ee ended this installment on a very interesting note and I can’t WAIT to see what happens next with Penryn, Raffe, Paige, and the others. As I said in the beginning of the review, the two year wait was certainly worth it because Ee nicely avoided the sophomore book slump.
I give World After an A-

Has: I think World After cemented this series as one of the best in its genre. I was left on tenterhooks, with breath-taking action and a wonderful heroine who truly lives up to the idea on what it means to be a hero in a dark world falling apart. I really was captivated with the world Ee has created which was filled with horrific creatures and beautiful angels. The imagery in a lot of the scenes is striking and memorable, and the pace was fast pace but when you turn that last page you are left with wanting more. I so cannot wait for the next book because it was a stellar entry in this series!

I also give World After an A-






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