Series: Penryn and the End of Days #1
Published by Hodder & Stoughton on May 23, 2013
Genres: Apocalyptic & Post-Apocalyptic, Young Adult
Amazon | Book Depository
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It's been six weeks since angels of the apocalypse descended to demolish the modern world. Street gangs rule the day while fear and superstition rule the night. When warrior angels fly away with a helpless little girl, her seventeen-year-old sister Penryn will do anything to get her back.
Anything, including making a deal with an enemy angel.
Raffe is a warrior who lies broken and wingless on the street. After eons of fighting his own battles, he finds himself being rescued from a desperate situation by a half-starved teenage girl.
Traveling through a dark and twisted Northern California, they have only each other to rely on for survival. Together, they journey toward the angels' stronghold in San Francisco where she'll risk everything to rescue her sister and he'll put himself at the mercy of his greatest enemies for the chance to be made whole again.
This is now the second time I’ve read Angelfall, and it was brilliant both times. There’s a certain comfort in reading a book that you have read and loved because then the critic in me pipes down in favour of enjoyment.
The brilliance in Angelfall is the post-apocalyptic setting where angels have descended upon humans and started an all out war. Instead of counting on them for saviour and salvation, these ones are evil and regard humans as lowly, lesser beings. Humans have to scavenge for food, scrounge for angel parts, turn on each other and pretty much do anything to stay alive, some even turn to cannibalism. In other words, the survival aspects were done really well here, only with the added threat of angels around.
The book is incredibly intense with the evil fallen angels, dark and crazy characters, epic gory action scenes and just really horrific moments that had my heart clenched throughout the book. The horror elements here were so incredibly unexpected the first time I read it, where I had a sick, shocking sense of fascination where I couldn’t tear my eyes away. Susan Ee paints a vivid picture in your head about this dystopian world, and doesn’t hold back on the gore with scorpion angels and children with razer teeth. It does get really gritty, dark and horror-driven though so you’re definitely in for some heart-stopping moments.
Penryn is a kickass heroine that I absolutely adored, having being trained in multiple martial arts techniques. Her family is unstable, with her young sister Paige getting kidnapped by angels and her insane mum who belongs in a mental asylum for how coo-coo she is. I loved how Penryn was so focused on looking out for her family and getting her sister back, even when she meets the badass angel Raffe. When Raffe gets his wings cut off, she nurses him back to health because she needs him for intel about Paige’s whereabouts, not just because she finds him hot.
I loved how Penryn is focused on the goal, we really need more of that in YA. Romance isn’t everything, and this book delivers some healthy attitudes about family and its importance (no matter who- or what they become). I also loved how Raffe and Penryn kind of grew together in their unlikely kinship, but it doesn’t take over the story. Raffe was really swoon worthy, he could have left Penryn at any point but he agrees to help her in exchange for her wings. There’s some enjoyable banter between the two throughout their journey.
On my re-read, I picked up a few interesting observations:
- Penryn and Raffe pretty much carry his severed wings through the whole adventure, and the state of his wings were already tattered and bloody at the beginning of it. Not once, but twice, do they use the wings as a prop. Aside from the general grossness of amputated limbs, wouldn’t it be in a completely disheveled or even decomposed state after a while? Are we simply meant to believe that the wings are still good after being taken around for so long?
- Penryn’s crazy ass mum coincidentally pops up everywhere she goes. How does this even keep on happening, if neither are following each other? If we’re lead to believe the world at large is big, and Penryn’s mum has no rhyme or reason as to where she goes, how is this plausible other than for the sake of convenience?
- Penryn thinks about Paige pretty much every single Page. See what I did there?
- A scene where Penryn has to dress up in a tight dress, stockings and heavy makeup just so she could flirt with angels in order to get into an aerie. I had forgotten about this scene but it just made me kind of disturbed about how sexualised she had to be and the obvious discomfort that she went through here. The angels pretty much regard humans as dirt but in the aerie, they are pretty much looking to have ‘relations’ with them. How twisted is that?
Isn’t it great how I can pick up these observations in my re-read? Perhaps I should re-read books more often.
Angelfall is absolutely brilliant. The genre mashup of dystopia, horror and paranormal is genius and I cannot fault this book on anything. With a strong character, action focused plot, heart-clenching horror moments and a true brave heroine that we can truly back, I’d recommend Angelfall to absolutely everyone. Apparently there’s still a few of you who haven’t read Angelfall yet and seriously, what are you waiting for? You won’t regret it.
Now I am thoroughly prepared to read World After which I am picking up straight away.
Oh yeah, there’s one gripe…Raffe is actually pronounced “Raph-ie”. I’m just going to pretend that it’s pronounced “Raff”.
Rating: 5 out of 5
World After by Susan Ee
Series: Penryn and the End of Days #2
Published by Hodder & Stoughton on November 21, 2013
Genres: Apocalyptic & Post-Apocalyptic, Young Adult
Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository
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?
World After is everything that I wished for, with so much more intensity, the return of Penryn and her band of family misfits, heaps of angel infighting, twisted horrors and of course, our sexy archangel Raffe. Although not as much as I would have liked, as he’s largely away for most of the story.
I’m glad I read these two books back to back, as World After continues on from the events of the last book, where Raffe delivers a paralysed Penryn to her family. Straight off the bat, there’s a lot of action and intensity as Paige is admist a battle of scorpions and humans. She also gets some one on one time with her terrifying family. The book packs a lot of emotional punches early on, as Paige runs off in horror and Penryn is again searching for her throughout the book.
I look up to say something but he puts his finger to my lips and whispers, “Don’t talk. You’ll just spoil my fantasy of rescuing an innocent damsel in distress as soon as you open your mouth.
Her search takes her through the post-apocalyptic San Francisco Bay area includes a stint on the angel infested island of Alcatraz, which is filled with nightmares, where she’ll encounter shocking and disturbing experiments and an army of sentient/scorpion angels. Other horrific situations she’ll encounter include a camp of survivors burying their lost, a disturbing themed angel party where humans are terrified servants and plenty of angel power plays. These situations showcase just how far gone the world is under the clutch of angel retribution.
Although Penryn was never the damsel in distress, in World After she really stands on her own with her extensive martial arts skills and Raffe’s archangel sword. Unlike the first book where Raffe would have her back, we see her pull off some pretty cool fighting moves, making her a formidable opponent against angels. Raffe undergoes some great character development as well, you really feel his heartbreak, loss and turmoil over the loss of his wings and separation anxiety from his sword.
Bow down to me, Pooky Bear, who has only two other equals in all the worlds.
Speaking of the sword, it is so fearsome and intimidating, that its presence alone will have angels shaking in their boots. Only Penryn, in a moment of genius, has decided to disguise it and dress it up with a teddy bear and call it…Pooky Bear. Only the most hilarious name for a sword ever! I loved that Pooky Bear had a personality of its own and that it forms a strong part of the story. The humour was so outlandish that it cut a welcome contrast against the bleak, dark happenings of the World After. It also fit nicely with the lighter moments in the story, such as Penryn and Raffe’s delicious, antagonising banter.
The writing has vastly improved since the first book, with a succinct, poetic way of putting things that just flows off the page. I really relished how Susan Ee put things so beautifully, from Penryn’s guilt towards her sister, from her mum’s turmoil, to her feelings with Raffe. She can explain a few conflicted feelings with just a few words.
Compared to Angelfall, World After features more character development and a slower pace as the book is a lot longer than the first. While Angelfall had one focused goal the whole way through, World After seems to have a lot more happening as we witness a lot more of this twisted, shocking world of angel war. The gory moments are also a lot less impactful, mainly because the first has set the precedent and we know what to expect.
World After is a worthy and excellent sequel expanding on the story and world building set in Angelfall. This post-apocalyptic angel world is twisted and features a lot of gory horrors, but it also features some wonderful moments in Penryn and Raffe’s character development. Although there wasn’t as much of Raffe as you would have liked, the wait will be worth it when they eventually encounter. Somehow Susan Ee strikes a balance between horror, gory action, twisted characters and humour in a twisted, dark world and it is a wonderful experience.
So what are you waiting for? Read the sequel to Angelfall now!
Rating: 5 out of 5
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