Monday, January 20, 2014

Double Book Review: Angelfall & World After


Angelfall
Angelfall by Susan Ee
(Book 1: Penryn & the End of Days)
May 21, 2011
Feral Dream publishing
Genre: Mature Young Adult Paranormal
(contains: disturbing images)
Source: Personal purchase
Book Blurb:
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.
My Review:

I kept hearing so many great things about this book and I'm so glad I finally picked it up. Angelfall grabbed me from the very first chapters. Filled with action and suspense, mystery and anticipation, I quickly became engrossed in this world and its story. Susan Ee has the great ability to combine great suspense and mystery with compelling characters and a storyline that leaves you eager for what's to come.

I don't want to give away a lot of details about this story. I personally didn't know much going in, and I found it really added to my enjoyment and the intensity of what was going on, or what I anticipated might happen. But I will say that the story is set in essentially a post-apocalyptic setting, but I wouldn't completely define it that way. Because there is so much more going on beyond the surface. (And even after finishing the second book, there is still so much more for me to learn). Humanity is in jeopardy and "angels" have come for some unknown reason, and in this case, these "angels" are not the good guys. And while this big picture is happening, we have Penryn, trying to care for her mentally unstable mother and crippled sister. Penryn meets Raffe after he is attacked and her sister is kidnapped and they make a tentative agreement to help each other. Beyond this, I will leave the rest to the reading. But let me just say, there is so much more than meets the eye. There are twists and turns. There are questions on top of questions. There are some very disturbing developments that seriously creeped me out.

And then there are the characters...
Penryn is such a great heroine and narrator. She is one of my favorite female kick-butt characters. She is strong yet compassionate, wise yet youthful, loyal yet fierce. I felt like she was such a genuine addition to the female YA heroine group. She was so well developed, having so many strengths yet also vulnerabilities you would expect in someone her age, but she also has such wisdom as someone who has lived through so much even before all this other business took place. Loved her!
Raffe is the perfect mystery. He has this sarcasm and humor to him that you wouldn't expect, this tender side he hides, and this sheath of mystery and intrigue that pulls you right in. You don't know whether to trust him, ditch him, or love him.
Plus, we get Penryn's mother and all her mentally disturbed self, who is this wild addition to the story that is so interesting that she totally works for the storyline. Penryn's relationship and reference to her is unique, heart-breaking, and humorous, all at the same time. I have so many questions about her and know there is so much more to her.
There are also other very interesting secondary characters that added so much to the story (like the twins - loved them).

By the end Angelfall, I was completely absorbed in this story, getting some of my questions answered but then having just as many new ones pop up. But not in that annoying way. It's in the way that I really appreciate that the author is taking the reader on a unique experience and I can't help but fear and anticipate what will come next. The ending was quite the ride and I'm so glad I already have the next book (but the third isn't out yet, so I might be kicking myself later).

Admittedly, I am picky about my "angel" reads and don't tend to read a lot of them. I believe in angels and demons and worry about what direction and interpretation the author will take, particularly when it comes to angels. Now, while I don't know the ultimate outcome of this proposed five-book series, so far with Angelfall I am completely intrigued by the plot and suspense on what exactly is going on behind the scenes of this world and "end of days," and can't wait to continue with this series.

5 STARS
 



World After (Penryn & the End of Days, #2)
World After by Susan Ee
(Book 2: Penryn & the End of Days)
November 19, 2013
Skyscape publishing
Genre: Mature Young Adult Paranormal
(contains: disturbing images)
Source: Personal purchase
Book Blurb:
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?


My Review:

(Contains spoilers from Angelfall)

World After picks up immediately where Angelfall left off. I felt eager to see where Susan Ee would take Penryn next, and this book did not disappoint. At the end of Angelfall, Penryn had been reunited with her mother and sister. Her sister Paige had been irrevocably changed and is trying to adjust and see where she fits in with society. Penryn has troubles of her own considering she was returned to her family by what they perceive as a demon (aka, Raffe with demon wings). And the entire family is with the resistance, who aren't sure how they feel about this weird group of women. What happens next continues the wild ride that Susan Ee started us on. Often I did not know where she would take things and I loved getting surprised. This book was very difficult to put down and I clung to the pages. I will not go into details about the plot. If you're desperate for details you can find them elsewhere. I think the great things about reading this series is all the suspense and mystery. But I will say that if you loved the ride in Angelfall, you'll love it all over again in World After.

Let's not forget Raffe. He's not with Penryn at the beginning because you'll recall he left her with her family assuming she was dead. But we still get to see more of Raffe, but in a very unique way. I loved the twist in this and felt like it added so much more to the mystery of Raffe. It also added more insight into Penryn and Raffe's relationship. They have such an interesting and unique bond, and I was eager to see more moments of them together, as well as see how their characters developed apart. I loved Raffe here and felt so much closer and tuned in with him. I also continue to be amazed by Penryn. I love her strong character, her tenacity, her compassion, her integrity, and so much more. Susan Ee really struck gold when she created Penryn.

As for action, this book is full of it, and I would say it has more action that Angelfall. There is also a step up in the disturbing images department. There is some serious creep factor going on and a bunch of questionable moral decisions by humans and "angels" alike. But as disturbing as it all was, I could not turn away from the pages. Really well done!

By the end of the book, my only problem was that the next book wasn't out yet. This is such an amazing series, and World After is a superb sequel to Angelfall. The end leaves us once again with questions answered and more questions left open. But it is not a tortuous cliff-hanger. I would deem it more a this-is-where-they-are-at-now-but-there-is-so-much-more-to-come. It leaves you content in your knowledge of where things are at, but eager for the next book. I loved Angelfall and World After and cannot wait for the rest of the books!

5 STARS
 

4 comments:

  1. the covers look soooo beautiful!

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    1. I agree. And they have meaning to them, which is also really cool :)

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  2. I don't tend to read angel books at all...gosh, I'm a bit tired of paranormal cliches. But this sounds FANTASTIC! I have it out from the library because I only hear raving things about it. ;) (I did skip bits of your review, because I want surprises when I read ;) I'm particularly looking forward to the post-apocalyptic setting. I didn't know that until I read your review! :)

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    1. I really hope you enjoy it. It was so much better than I'd anticipated :)

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