Review: World After by Susan Ee

 

World AfterTitle: World After (Penryn & the End of Days #2)

Author: Susan Ee

Publisher: Skyscape

Publication Date: November 19, 2013

Rating StarRating StarRating Starstar_half

When a group of people capture Penryn’s sister Paige, thinking she’s a monster, the situation ends in a massacre.

World After probably would have been a four, four and a half star book if I hadn’t read it right after Angelfall. It’s difficult to measure up to one of the best books that I’ve read in 2014. The elements that I loved best about the latter – the sense of urgency, the tight plotting and writing, and the grudging attraction between Penryn and Raffe – were largely absent in this second installment. The general plot arc of book one was also repeated here, as Penryn once again embarked on a perilous search for her wayward sister. World After suffered from the second book slump plot-wise, since it was a lot slower moving than its predecessor.

There were some pretty emotional scenes where Penryn grappled with the horrific implications of the genetic modifications performed on Paige. Despite her young age, Paige was also keenly aware of how other people were responding to her new look and behaviour. At first I was heartbroken for the sweet little girl that she’d once been, and then she just started to annoy the heck out of me. Get your head out of your keister, little lady! Events at the close of World After heavily imply that Paige will have a key role in shifting the balance of war towards humanity so she’ll definitely remain a central character in the series. Thankfully she seems to turn it around at the end of the book, and she was mostly redeemed in my eyes.

Thankfully Penryn was there to pick up the slack as far as sympathetic characters are concerned. She continued fighting off baddies (like those disgusting locust creatures) and risking her life to save the innocent. At one point Penryn saves a woman named Ella, who was a very positive addition to the story. She obviously admires Penryn, and sparks a very interesting discussion of what makes a hero. Obviously Penryn fits the bill, but she’s understandably reluctant to shoulder any more responsibility, as she’s already looking after her mother and Paige.

The prolonged separation between Penryn and Raffe was also detrimental to World After, but it was nice to see the flashbacks that Pooky Bear had of its (her?) battles with Raffe. Oh, Pooky Bear. You provided some much needed comic relief and for that I am thankful. The look on Raffe’s face when he heard what Penryn had christened his beloved sword could make ice run through your veins, let me tell ya. While I understand and appreciate the need for Penryn to stand against the angels and their minions on her own, I missed Raffe’s angel-faced presence (HA).

Ee’s world building continues to develop in this installment: we learn more about angel culture, the creation of the locust beasties, and what the actual angel plan seems to be. I mean yes, some of them are horribly evil, but it’s nice to know they’re not wantonly destroying earth and its inhabitants for no reason. The closer look at angel politics in World After was awesome! It’s nice to know that celestial beings aren’t above back room deals and swindling. That kind of political intrigue is total Danya-bait.

While I thought that World After was very disappointing in some ways, I still love this series. I think it says a lot that this is the only YA series about angels that I’ve ever enjoyed. Hopefully book 3 will give me more Penryn and Raffe moments, more Pooky Bear slayings, and more character development for Paige.

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  • Ooh I loved the first book. I probably liked the second one just a tad less (because of less Raffe!) but this is probably one of my favorite YA series out there right now. I couldn’t believe it when I found out it was first independently published. Can’t wait for book 3.

    • This series took me by complete surprise since I usually gag any time a fallen angel comes into play. I am loving it though! Definitely gave me a new respect for indie YA titles.

  • I completely agree with you on the detrimental effect of not having Raffe be in HALF THE DARN BOOK! I mean come on!~ Also – yes the overall story arc of this one pretty much was a rinse repeat of the first. I still greatly enjoyed it but I hope we don’t see this again in the third.

    • I was basically shouting “RAFFE COME BACK!” for the first hundred or so pages. Hopefully the repetitive plot was just a symptom of the second book slump. I’m ready for the third book to rock my world!

      • I really hope so. I adored Raffe and normally I’m not huge huge into YA romance but it just worked in the first book so to have him be pretty much absent the entire first half was just odd to me.

  • Lisa (@TenaciousReader)

    This makes me think I should check out Angelfall.

    • It was honestly such a surprising book. The whole premise had me rolling my eyes so hard I almost got a headache, but it’s actually very original and well-written.

  • I’m sorry you were a bit disappointed in this one, but I’m glad you weren’t so disappointed that you’re done with the series. I loved Angelfall when I read it too, and ever since then, I’ve been waiting for the series to wrap up before continuing it. It took like TWO and a HALF years for this one to come out afterwards, and now book 3’s date keeps getting pushed back as well. BUT. I will definitely read this eventually . . .

    • Noooooo! Don’t tell me that book 3 is getting pushed back! Unfortunately I don’t have your patience (or your willpower!) so I couldn’t hold off on continuing the series ASAP.

  • I’ve had Angelfall for a couple years and just bought World After. I’ve been meaning to read Angelfall. And then I think I will wait awhile for World After…lol Maybe that will help!

    • Good plan, LOL! World After just pales in comparison. You should definitely read the series though – despite my griping, I still really like World After.

  • Karthy Chin

    I am so glad that everything we talked about in relation to this book was discussed in your review!