26 Apr 2015

#Reread 2015: World After by Susan Ee

World After by Susan Ee

First published: 2013
Country of Origin: United States of America
Pages: 438
Format: Paperback | Purchased

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Summary (from GoodReads): 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?

I first read World After back in 2013. As I was late jumping on the Angelfall wagon, I was able to read it pretty soon after reading Angelfall (I think there was only a couple of months in between me finishing Angelfall and World After being released) and have the events of Angelfall fresh in my mind, and I remember World After being one of my most anticipated releases of 2013. While I didn't enjoy World After as much as I enjoyed Angelfall, it's definitely a fantastic read and Penryn and the End of Days is one of my favourite YA trilogies.

I actually didn't remember that much about World After going in - I'm not sure if it's just because it's been two years since I first read World After, and I hadn't reread it since. The one thing that stuck out was Penryn going to Alcatraz and the events at Pier 39, but otherwise, it was like I was rereading it for the first time. 

I was reading this as part of Hodder & Stoughton's Penryn and the End of Days reread, although I pretty much gave up following their schedule for this one (I somehow still managed to finish ahead of schedule, though).

One thing that stuck out at me was that Penryn is once again spurred into action by Paige disappearing - in this case, to find Beliel, who basically treated her as a pet after she was kidnapped in the first book (and then took out his rage on her). I'm not sure how I feel about this - while I appreciate that Penryn has a 'higher purpose,' so to speak, I think the fact that Penryn's hero complex in regards to her sister bothered me a little.  That said, I appreciate the fact that once Penryn has decided to go after her sister, nothing will distract her from finding her. Penryn's first priority is always, always keeping her family together. Penryn is obviously thrown, as the angels have operated on Paige, and Penryn struggles to treat her sister the way she did before. We got to see Penryn's emotional vulnerability, and it served as a reminder that no matter how badass, how resilient, resourceful, and independent Penryn comes across as - she is still a seventeen year old girl with her own fears and worries.

The romance was kept kind of in the background, which I appreciated - Penryn's a girl whose family comes first, and I appreciated that that wasn't swept aside for the romance to take centre stage. Even when Raffe makes a reappearance, Penryn is focused on getting her family back together, and Raffe his wings. That said, it is obvious that they care for one another - I think that Raffe was genuinely heartbroken when he thought Penryn had died - and that Penryn and Raffe are a good match for one another. They work well together.

Penryn's mother, despite her religious rantings and schizophrenia, was able to provide some comedic moments. She's surprisingly resourceful and quite clever, and despite her failings as a parent, has obviously taught Penryn some things - most probably indirectly, but still.

Absolutely - Ee is a fantastic writer. She manages to balance the grotesque and dramatic with the comedic, create three-dimensional characters with strong ties to one another, and keep the reader on the edge of their seat. All in all, I'm glad that I reread Angelfall and World After before the release of End of Days, and I cannot wait to see what Penryn and Raffe come against in the final installment.

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