Friday, 15 May 2015

Book Review - World After

World After
Author: Susan Ee
Series: Penryn and the End of Days #2
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Dystopian | Young Adult
Release Date: 21st November 2013
No. Pages: 438
Source: Purchased
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?
The following review may contain spoilers concerning earlier books in the series.
If you have not read the previous installments, please proceed with caution.

I do believe I feel let down. Angelfall was, without a doubt, one of the best books I read last year - in fact, it was the best book I could have ended 2014 on, there was no other book I would have wanted to finish the year with, it was complete perfection and faultless. No surprise then I purchased this book milliseconds after finishing Angelfall and that my expectations had been sky high since that fateful moment, right? I just feel so cheated and so disappointed by this sequel, and that hurts.

For me, there was one stand out issue with World After that could have improved my experience easily and quickly, but felt as though it was wasted, and I'm pretty confident I'm not alone when I ask;

Why the holy heck would you not have Raffe in 70% of the book?!

Penryn and Raffe's banter, connection and general relationship with one another throughout Angelfall was without a doubt one of my favourite aspects through the entire book. They helped develop one another, they're faith and trust in one another was so powerful, and their feelings - seriously, why would you not have that in World After? Raffe brought out so much in Penryn, encouraged and supported her throughout really tough and emotional times, and he literally broke himself into pieces at the end of Angelfall for her. He helped bring out the best in Penryn, her snaky attitude, her passion and her eagerness to save those she loved and not mope about it. World After struggled with Penryn leading on her own, and while I do definitely still think she's a positive lead for the series, a lot of my disappointment with World After stems from no Raffe.

Personally, including, or not including Raffe was such an important issue for me that I struggled to continue reading World After at all. Many times I felt I couldn't continue reading, or didn't want to read, and it took me much too long to actually read World After than I'd liked. Even attempting to include him and snippets of his past through his sword always felt second best to actually having his perspective, like a cheats way of half-heartedly giving his Raffe without actually providing us with him. Had Raffe had his own perspective, searching for wings, fighting a battle or two, his thoughts and feelings on Penryn, only to then have them meet as they did, World After could have been so so close to the amazingness that was Angelfall. This felt like such a wasted opportunity, and it's such a shame..

Although not having Raffe was an issue, World After on the whole was still a strong installment to the series, especially in that it finally provided some answers as to what had triggered such a devastating apocalyptic feel to earth and why the Angels wanted this and I've got to say, as far as science, religion and Ee's research goes, this was so well answered and so horrifyingly fascinating that I just wanted more and more. Getting the answers we needed and that I wanted brought this installment up onto a whole other level of fabulous - making the scenes that were sometimes a little slow still interesting to read, keeping me reading when I was inclined to read, and I really cannot fault that feature. Ee's world and her world building and her constantly gruesome imagery that just envelops your mind is one of a kind - I could read her work until I died, it's that good.

I think what continues to impress me is that Ee doesn't just focus on her world and her action and her plot of Angels vs Humans, but she delves into so many different mental and psychological issues, it's almost something more than just a brilliant dystopian. Exploring Stockholm Syndrome through Paige and Belial was such a poignant and important feature and was definitely developed beautifully, as was showing the detachment that Penryn and Paige's mother suffers through her horrors and mental issues she suffers, but still the love, care and motherly emotion that she shows for them is just wonderful, and seeing Penryn suffer with the pain of her world, with the amount of burden on her shoulders, you can feel and see the desperation and aching pain she suffers throughout, and yet she still powers through, risking her life for her family, for friends, for love. There's something so fragile about each of the important characters throughout this series and their feelings and emotions towards each other; Penryn's struggle with Paige, Raffe's emotional struggles with Penryn and their future, Clara's short, but tear-inducing family moment, it's hard not to love these characters, and I appreciate and adore every bit of development and care Ee puts into making these characters so realistic..

Am I disappointed with World After? Of course I am. There was less intense, fantastic battle scenes, and what was there felt over too quickly. There was nowhere near enough Raffe and my emotional shipping feels between him and Penryn, and when there was some, it only highlighted the lack of it previously. Penryn was much more difficult to relate to, whether that was because her emotional issues, her mental issues or just because she felt different without Raffe there with her, there was something that stopped me being as involved and connected to her. I still, without a doubt adore this world and this series, and it's characters and it's science and it's links to religion and actual Angel beliefs, and I love the family relationships, the passion, the care, the love, and the sacrifices that are made between them all. I cannot imagine not seeing this series through to the end, and I expect my heart to break.


  1. Uh oh, after reading your review and what you enjoyed from World After, I don't think you'd be too impressed with End of Days. It feels like the series gets progressively weaker over time. I do love how you highlighted the mental and darker issues of Paige and Belial, and of course Penryn's mum. Lovely review Amanda!

    1. Oh no, that's definitely not a good thing. Where are earth did this series go wrong? *sadface* Thanks though!<3

  2. That banter and chemistry was what won me over in book one. It felt so natural and I loved it. It completely killed me that Raffe was MIA in this one and so I just didn't read it. Read the ending when he's back and for me, that's good enough. I know all I need to in order to head into End of Days, imo. Definitely a fan of the physiological fields that Ee wanders into and I'm hoping that continues on in the last book. Fantastic review, Amanda! x

    1. Wow, I don't think I could have done that Jess, YOU'RE CRAZY, but I love you so!<3 Thanks sweetie!

  3. I do agree with Jeann, you might not like End of Days. Angelfall was an amazing novel, it's my favorite young adult novel but the series does go a bit downhill afterwards. I still liked it as a whole though, lovely review Amanda! <3 Benish | Feminist Reflections

    1. Ah, that makes me worry Benish, but I will keep an open mind, who knows, it might be great for me! Thanks hun<3


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