Review of World After (Penryn and the End of Days #2) by Susan Ee
The first book in the Penryn and the End of Days series didn’t appeal to me at first—I expected another paranormal romance. I haven’t read Twilight, and I wasn’t about to read a book about angels. But then I found out that Sam Raimi (director of the Spider-Man movies and The Evil Dead) was developing the movie and it persuaded me to give the book a shot.
I’m glad I did.
Angelfall defied my expectations. It was more like a Rick Riordan, Percy Jackson book than a paranormal romance (but for those who don’t mind romance, this book probably has enough to satisfy you). Action at every turn, a lightning pace, some solid characters, weird creatures, humour, and an intriguing set up for the rest of the series.
After Angelfall, the sequel made it onto my to-read list.
Unfortunately, what I expected wasn’t what I got. Not exactly. The second book is twice the length of the first book, yet half as much happens as in the first book. Some call it second-book syndrome and World After suffers from it. There isn’t a lot of plot and though I like action, this book felt like a string of pointless action set pieces. Characters stumble from one fight sequence to the next without there being any real motive behind it.
I wanted to learn more about the Angels’ agenda—it is expanded on, but vaguely to the point that it might as well not exist at all—and more about the coming war. Second books should progress the plot, develop the story arc, but World After does neither of those things.
The writing is as strong as the first book. Ee knows how to generate pace and the action sequences are plenty and well-written. I sped through this book, despite not always enjoying it. Penryn is a tough protagonist, and the romance is fortunately light. Ee also writes horror well, and she doesn’t shy away from describing the gritty, violent details.
The world-building is well done and the settings have an eerie, desolate atmosphere. The flashbacks provided through Penryn’s connection to Raffe’s sword are also interesting, if underdeveloped. It’d be cool to learn more about the Angel’s world, where they came from.
Overall, this is a fast-paced, action-packed second book, but it feels thin despite it’s length. There’s little to no plot and the story isn’t as gripping as Angelfall. Ee’s writing style is addictive and sharp, though Penryn’s voice sounds younger than she’s supposed to be at times. The horror and action is constant and helps boost the rating. But the action and pace aren’t enough to make up for the fact that little happens in this book.
Sometimes it’s good to not know where a series is going. But at this point I’m a bit confused. This series is a trilogy, so I hope Ee can wrap everything up in End of Days and deliver a more satisfying sequel to Angelfall.
Recommended, but some may find it disappointing in comparison to book 1.
Thanks to Hodder and Stoughton for the free copy I received through Goodreads.
Has anyone else been disappointed in a sequel, only for the next installment to make up for it? I’m still on the lookout for solid superhero fiction too, so if anyone has any suggestions I’d appreciate them…
Recommended, but some may find it disappointing.