World After by Susan Ee
Series: Penryn & the End of Days #2
Published by Skyscape on November 19 2013
Genres: Young Adult, Post-Apocalyptic, Paranormal
Rating: 4/5 stars
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?
I’ll admit that I went into World After with very high expectations that I really didn't think it could meet. I honestly didn’t remember much of what happened in Angelfall (c’mon, I read it almost two years ago give me a break), but I knew that it was a book that had impressed me and I couldn’t bear for book 2 to let me down. As second books often do.
Much to my dismay, World After held its own against my extreme demands. It didn’t really do anything to help me readjust to Penryn’s world, which was both a positive and a negative. I’m not a fan of books that rehash everything that happened in the previous book because I think it’s tacky, but I do think that World After could have used a little bit more reference to the events of Angelfall, simply because the beginning of the book left me very confused. I didn’t know what was going on a lot of the time, and I felt like I was supposed to.
I really missed Raffe in this book. He was such a huge part of Angelfall, and his presence was sorely missed in a large portion of World After, by both Penryn (though she tried to deny it) and by me as the reader. I found myself wishing for a bit of banter to break up the extreme tension throughout the novel. Penryn is dealing with a lot, and I think that just a tiny bit of humour would have gone a long way. Of course, I imagine we’ll be seeing more of Raffe in the third book in the series.
That said, I was quite impressed by Penryn. She’s a stubborn young lady, but she’s not stupid about it. Generally speaking, she makes good decisions. And she has a lot of tough choices to make. One of the aspects that I love so much about this series is that it puts such a focus on family. Despite the fact that her mother is completely off her rocker and that her sister has been turned into a flesh eating monster, Penryn’s first priority is still her family. There’s a moment between Penryn and Paige towards the end of the book that I found truly moving. Their relationship, strange as it may be, really works for me.
On the whole, I thought that the pacing was pretty good. I’d give it a high B. It wasn’t as speedy as Angelfall – the beginning dragged quite a bit, but as soon as Penryn leaves the compound things really start to heat up and they stay hot right until the end. I really admire the way that Susan Ee can write such action-packed books that can still pack a very emotional punch. I must say, I never thought I’d be enthralled by a series about angels that take over Earth and kill humans like vermin. It’s unexpected and I like it. A lot.
All it all, this was a really solid book. I’m still really enjoying this series, and I’m not-so-patiently awaiting book three. There were a few things that could have been tweaked and tightened up here and there, but I was definitely happy with the final product.