Title: World After (Penryn & the End of Days #2)
Author: Susan Ee
Publication Date: November 19, 2013
When a group of people capture Penryn’s sister Paige, thinking she’s a monster, the situation ends in a massacre. View Spoiler »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? « Hide Spoiler
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.