Double Review: Angelfall & World After by Susan Ee (Penryn & the End of Days #1-#2)

June 4, 2014 by Jeann @ Happy Indulgence | 5 stars, Books, Reviews

Double Review: Angelfall & World After by Susan Ee (Penryn & the End of Days #1-#2)

Double Review: Angelfall & World After by Susan Ee (Penryn & the End of Days #1-#2)Angelfall by Susan Ee
Series: Penryn and the End of Days #1
Published by Hodder & Stoughton on May 23, 2013
Source: Purchased
Genres: Apocalyptic & Post-Apocalyptic, Young Adult
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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

worldafterWorld After by Susan Ee
Series: Penryn and the End of Days #2
Published by Hodder & Stoughton on November 21, 2013
Genres: Apocalyptic & Post-ApocalypticYoung Adult
Source: Borrowed
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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Jeann is an Aussie YA blogger and mum who loves to read and recommend books! You can usually find me fangirling about books on my various social media channels including Twitter @happyindulgence, Instagram and Youtube.

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70 responses to “Double Review: Angelfall & World After by Susan Ee (Penryn & the End of Days #1-#2)

  1. I've had this on my tbr for quite some time, but this is the first time I can remember hearing that there's quite a lot of gore in the story! That does make me a little hesitant, even though it sounds like a really interesting world and storyline and I've read a bunch of amazing reviews (like this one!) for it, because gore and I just do not go together. It's like scary things. We just don't click and I become extremely creeped out and panic-ey.

    Still, I think I'd still like to try it- so long as there's not too much in detail gore. x
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  2. They are so good, sometimes when I haven't picked up the first book yet I wait for reviews on the series. I haven't heard many of World After, but decided to take the plunge instead! I don't re-read very much at all either.

  3. That would be so awesome, I noticed the writing improved so much in World After. I'm really glad that the author has now become published because these stories are so awesome! I hope you do read World After, even though Raffe isn't around much what you get is worth it 🙂

  4. Thanks Michelle, I needed to review it as well as I read it on holidays a few years ago, so it was really good to have the 2nd book handy. You would be brave if you did that, I have so many unread books it's insane!

  5. I think I may find this series a bit too gory but since I've bought them when they were on sales (couldn't resist the discount), I'll open and read them eventually. So happy that you enjoyed reading them back-to-back. I always find your reviews helpful. Thank you, Jeann!
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  6. I love that you re-read the first book, before you read the second one. I have heard only the best things about Angelfall. I bought a copy of it at the end of last year, but I have still not gotten around to reading it.

    One of these days I am going to take inventory of my unread books, but it scares me too much to actually do it. I will get around to it sometime because I am super excited to read it! '

    Great review 🙂
    Michelle @ Book Brie recently posted…{Page To Screen} Grimm Brothers Fairy Tales Turned into FilmsMy Profile

  7. Absolutely fantastic reviews, Jeann! I know feel like re-reading Angelfall & World After, and I might do just that before book 3 comes out next year, which is absolutely cruel and painful, but oh well!!

    I loved Pooky Bear!! And I loved even more Raffe's reacting to discovering what Penryn had named his sword!!
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  8. Maaaan! I reaaaalllllly need to read this soon :'( it's crazy how many people love this series! Come to think of it, not sure if I've read an angel themed book, I'm a little nervous lol

    I'm glad you enjoyed this series so much! It's always a great feeling to find those books that just blow your mind 😉 Thanks for the review!
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  9. I still crack up with the pooky bear when I think about it. And yes these are such a great mashup book. I loved how gritty they got. Susan Ee really did well bringing in those horror aspects – you just don't see as many horror YA books and these ones are excellent.
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  10. Oow, definitely need to buy these books now, they sound amazing! I do love angels, but I am intrigued when ever they are portrayed as darker beings. I think it's the contrast between divinity and depravity.

    I love your blog!

  11. I remember reading Angelfall way back when it was still a self-pubbed work, and I remember loving it a lot while also finding a few annoying nuances here and there, but it was the writing that I loved the most. It was really atmospheric and it showcased the heroine's feelings really well. I'm glad to know that World After is as good. I have bought it but I'm so scared to read it 🙁 This review solidified my belief that it won't disappoint 😀
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  12. I haven't read these books but I'm glad that you adored both books! It's rare to see the sequel living up to its previous installment so I'm always relieved when I hear that 😀 And it's true that we can pick up the nit-picky things when we re-read! I used to do it a lot back then when I still have plenty of time (more like nothing to do at all!) but nowadays I get too lazy to re-read something that I have already known ><
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  13. I haven't read a lot of books with angels lately I confess because well at the end it's always the same thing but it looks like it's different there and it's nice to see that book 1 and 2 are that good! I know I need to try them, mainly as I saw a lot of wonderful things about them! Great reviews.

  14. LOVE this series…I'm nervous for book 3 and I don't think we are getting it anytime soon, I should have held off reading the series. UGH…but Penryn is an amazing heroine and I LOVE RAFFE. I LOVE them both and both stories have the creepy factor which I enjoyed. And could the name POOKY BEAR be any better?! Stunning review Jeann! 🙂
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  15. I'm glad you liked these! I honestly still haven't read them (along with thousands of other popular books because I have a problem with requesting too many ARCs) but I'm hoping to read them soon! Amazing reviews 🙂

  16. I've always pronounced Raffe as “Raph-ie” 🙂 Now, I'm thinking to re-read the series, too, since this is one of my favorites. I loved that you were able to pick up on things, such as lugging on the wings all throughout the book. I was thinking, maybe an angel's wings don't meet degradation easily? That's just my theory. As for book two, man….I waited for Raffe to arrive at any minute, but their meeting again was like BAM RAFFE! Loved it. I cannot wait for the next book! Brilliant review, Jeann 🙂
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    • Hehe yeah they actually addressed how it was supposed to be pronounced in Angelfall. I know, they literally drag the wings and then re-use them several times during the first book lol! That's probably the case, otherwise it would mean the story is set within days which is unrealistic. YES RAFFE! So much RAFFE goodness. It was totally worth the wait.

  17. You're making me flail reading this, Jeann!

    Also I am just going to point this out based on your pun, in my copy of World After, Paige's name was once spelt as Page. It might have been done more than once but it bothered me for a sec there 😛 OH WELL 😀

    Pooky Bear really is the best though, I've encountered one other sword character but Pooky Bear is so different from that sword but at the same time, I LOVE POOKY BEAR. Like how does one even love a sword? A sword dressed up as a teddy bear. Raffe's reaction to it really made me laugh out loud though. Oh Raffe and Penryn. I love the two of them sooo freaking much.

    There isn't much for me to add because you put it so well, I don't even know what to say for my review anymore 😛

    Lovely review as always, Jeann!! 🙂
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    • YEEESSS! I can't wait to read your review Rashika (I assume you will be right?) How awesome was Raffe at the end? Pooky Bear is awesome, the teddy bear thing actually worked~! THank you, it was so much fun buddy reading with you 😀 definitely do it again sometime!

  18. Ahhh a double review of awesome! I fricken LOVED these books and cannot wait for book 3! I have to say though, I missed Raffe in book 2 and wished we'd seen more of him but, I think Pooky Bear softened the blow a little 😛

    (For once I was right about a name pronunciation!! I've always said it Raph-e, so yaaaay. I'm always wrong about that stuff usually lol)
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    • Thank you Allie, I thought they were amazing! Wonder when we'll get to see Book 3? There definitely should have been more of them, especially after the agonising wait for book 2, but it was worth it I think. They actually addressed the pronunciation of his name in book 1 🙂

  19. I loved Angelfall too, but I've been putting off reading End of Days until we get closer to the release of book 3 (which keeps getting pushed back, LOL). I'm not so good at the waiting . . . BUT I absolutely agree with you that Penryn was seriously kickass, and Angelfall was an awesome mash-up of horror/dystopia/paranormal. AND you're PUNNY . . . Paige . . . page . . . HA! Great reviews, Jeann 😉
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    • Hahahah thank you, I'm glad someone else appreciated the pun XD I love lame jokes. Actually, World After doesn't have a big cliffhanger so you should be good! 😀 *encourages you*

  20. Can you believe I haven't read this yet? Gosh I am so late…The cover kinda pushed me away because it looked so dull and the title made it worse for me. I had a feeling it'll be the usual angel love story HAHA I should really get a copy soon! I am going to stop judging books by their titles and designs hehe
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  21. I pronounce Raffe as "Raff" too. .___. Nobody can change that! Haha! Book one never really struck me as amazing or anything remotely close to that, but I did like the new take on angels. We're usually told they're helpful, gorgeous things, right? So this one was a fresh change. I'm still unsure of picking up book 2 since book 1 was… boring for me. D: Glad you loved these both, though. Lovely reviews, Jeann! <3
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    • Yes, I saw how it was actually pronounced and decided not to take heed lol. Exactly, I'm not actually the biggest fan of angel books but this, this was good. Sorry you found it boring Aimee T_T

  22. Glad you enjoyed these books though. I haven't read these yet, but I have seen them around and I must admit that I really love the covers of these books! I haven't read any books about Angels before I think. Have been currently reading mostly contemporary 😛 Thanks for sharing your view!
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  23. I don't have the best running with Angel books, but I decided to put Angelfall on my Christmas wishlist anyway as everyone was talking about how great it was…Unfortunately I wasn't able to get into Angelfall the first time I tried to read it, but after reading both of your fantastic reviews, you've persuaded me to give it another go. And SOON! Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Jeann. 🙂
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