Angels Among Us


WORLD AFTER : A REVIEW

I first started Penryn and the End Of Days after Wench Merit's excellent review of Angelfall. The fact that I was very much an adult (most of the time) and it was YA didn't put me off, good stories are timeless and appeal to all ages. And I wanted to know if this was one of those. 

I was hooked before the first chapter was up, and by the end of that book I could not believe how addicting the story was! That ending! Phew! I would argue that Angelfall has one of the best second halves of any book I've ever read in the fantasy genre! And one of my absolute favorite books ever. 

Needless to say, I had barely put down the first book before I HAD to start World After .



Click through to read this review! It will be mildly spoilery!

This story is a testament to Penryn's integrity, and her loyalty to family. None of the things she does are for glory, or even for the good of mankind. Her motivation is painfully simple : find Paige, keep her safe, somehow keep her family together and stay alive. Survive. 


After the devastating condition in which she found Paige in Angelfall, Penryn still hasn't completely processed what's been done to Paige. And how far she's willing to go to protect and care for her. Their mother, on the other hand, seems to be completely on board with keeping Paige happy and well fed. 
"Look at her eyes," says my mother, as though she understands that Paige's otherness dominates when I look at her now.  

But I can't.
One of the most brilliant things I think Susan Ee has done in this series, is her chilling portrayal of Penryn's paranoid schizophrenic mother. Her part in Paige's accident which rendered her wheelchair bound when she was younger, her haunting apology song, her inclination towards violence, and her almost religious belief in the things she hears and her hair raising rituals. And despite it all, her love for her daughters. I would love to be inside her head for one chapter, just to see some of the reasons behind her actions. Or maybe not. 

No teenager has a straightforward and simple relationship with their mother, but Penryn's issues are increased ten fold because of not only her mother's condition, but now the world literally ending around them. It's tough to read her hopefulness in moments when her mother has lucid moments, the weight of her responsibility bearing down on her, where she still yearns for her mother to be okay and take care of her daughters. 
"Being responsible for mom and Paige is nearly crushing me already. I take comfort in reminding myself that I am just a kid, not a hero. Heroes have a tendency to die in horrible ways. Somehow, I'll get through this, and then I'll lead the quietest life anyone could possibly have in the World After."
Let me just say, I did not appreciate World After enough till AFTER my reread. My first read, sure, it was an amazing read, but the second time around, I was wowed by all the amazing Penryn/Raffe moments I seemed to have missed! Or glossed over to get to the end. 

I remember thinking how the slow burn between those two was a "blink and you'll miss it" burn. I don't know what I was smoking when I said that, because that burn is VERY much present in World After. There is SO much Raffe/Penryn goodness in this. (HOW DID I MISS IT THE FIRST TIME AROUND?!) Quiet moments of emotional connection and intimacy that make you sigh. A bit of sadness for the impossibility of it all. And mostly, realizing that sometimes you can connect with someone despite ALL the odds. 

I am usually not one for throwing caution to the wind when it comes to story lines with ancient alphas and human beings who MUST seem like infants to them regardless of how old they are. But damn, rereading World After has put it all in a new light for me. 

One of the things that I love, and that I know some people did complain about, is how we get to know Penryn away from Raffe. And how we get to know more about Raffe through his beloved sword. It's such a voyeuristic way to find out about him and his past, but compelling nonetheless. His life long relationship with his sword, and how very much he must hate her rejection, his past as a warrior, his compassion for his Watcher's human women, his unbearable loneliness, everything makes him all the more irresistible. 


Incoherent fangirling.
Can I just say, I LOVE Raffe, in so many ways. This is one of the first times I've come across an Alpha who isn't a verbally abusive asshole to the heroine... from the very beginning.. even when he thinks she's just another "monkey". I LOVE that. Their banter and snark is very much that between almost equals, despite their monumental differences. They get each other. They are equally determined to achieve very different things, and I don't think they even realize how similar they are. They have learned to trust and respect each other, and it's grown into something more. Something that creeps into the narrative when Raffe sees Penryn alive for the first time after he thought she was dead. It's a beautiful scene, and you can see it play out in slo-mo in your mind.
"Don't talk. You'll just spoil my fantasy of rescuing an innocent damsel in distress as soon as you open your mouth."
My favorite though, is when they wash up on the beach, the emotional intensity of that scene... just wow. I won't be spoiling it for you, but it is honestly one of my favorite scenes of the series, seaweed and all.

People often complain about the GINORMOUS age differences, etc, and how unrealistic it is that someone like Raffe would fall in love with someone like Penryn. And sometimes, I agree. But isn't that the point of love? Someone seeing you as extraordinary when you might not be? We also find out how much Raffe has stayed away from forming any sort of bonds with anyone during his long life, very deliberately. Is it any wonder that he begins to admire and form a bond with the one person he's actually spent a significant amount of time with, in such a vulnerable state, under such stressful conditions. Who also happens to be a strong, capable being. Very much worthy of love and admiration.
"It almost hurts to see Raffe closing his eyes and holding me the way a kid might hold a stuffed animal for comfort."
There is a trust between these two that just grows every moment they're together. And by the end of World After, I was all in when it came to Raffe and Penryn. Even though I was sadly pessimistic about them ever ending up together, I have thrown myself completely into this ship. 
I'm all in! Shall we call them RaffRyn? Or Penffe?

This is such an unforgiving, brutal, honest story... and it's not like Penryn had a peachy life before the word ended. Her very real problems from the world before Angelfall are still present. On top of that she has to deal with so much more. Paige and the horrible things that have been done to her, her mother, Raffe, hellions, angels who have it out for her. Not to mention human beings, who never fail to show their dark sides when the chips are down. It's just as gritty, stark, harsh, unrelenting, and addictive as it's predecessor, if not more so. 

If you want to read a truly captivating tale of the world going to hell after being run by violent angel warriors, terrifying abominations concocted in labs, humanity at both it's best and worst, affection between two unlikely allies that may bloom into more, and the sheer strength and integrity that even a teenage girl is capable of when it comes to her family, the choices she makes that no one should ever have to make, this is the series for you. It has all that and so much more. 


This Wench Rates it :



The much anticipated End of Days release day is upon us, readers! Pre order it now, here!


Comments

  1. Love your review! Zee! Of course this series is so high on my favorite books list. One of the best!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Definitely, Merit! I'm SO glad you introduced us to it!

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  2. Loved this review Zee. Thank you Merit and Zee for bring this series to my attention. It's been well worth it. Looking forward to reading the last book.

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