Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Book Review: World After

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? Quoted from Goodreads


I'll be honest I was a little bit scared to read this book.  I really, really liked the Anglefall, but while it had great reviews, I also went into it with a little trepidation.  Needless to say, I was blown away, but, again, I had pretty low expectations.  With this second book, however, my expectations were really high, and second books have a pretty sketchy track record.  Some are amazing, but a lot end up being the low point in their respective series. No worries here, though.  This book was exactly what I wanted from start to finish.

First: Penryn.  She is one of my favorite characters. Seriously.  She's a kick-butt heroine as always, but she gets even more awesome in this second installment.  I especially love her relationship with Pookie Bear (you'll have to read this book to get that one).  Her reaction/relationship to her sister is also believable, heartbreaking, and wonderful all at the same time.  

Okay, let's be honest, the characters are probably the best/most crazy part of this series, that has a ton of crazy action/horror/tough situations.  I mean, there's what happened to Penryn's sister, Paige, and how amazing she is for handling what she went through. Then there's Penryn's mother, who is crazy but brilliant, and you never know exactly what's going to come next or how much is the crazy talking and how much is her utter and complete brilliance.  Of course there's the twins, who crack me up and always happen to be in just the right (or wrong) place at the right time, and Clara, who's strong and broken and unwilling to give up hope despite everything she's been though.

Oh, and then there's Raffe.  I know everyone whose read the first book has been waiting for him to show up in this review.  I loved him.  We don't see him quite as much as we did in the first one, but Susan Ea finds some fun work-arounds to keep him a main character despite Penryn's soul POV and separation from him.  We get a  lot of his history and why he is who he is here.  I particularly loved when we get the first time he meets Penryn through his POV.  Plus, I love, love, love his and Penryn's relationship.  They're the perfect  . . .  I don't know . . . star-crossed lovers that so many books try to duplicate and simply can't. Their relationship is sweet, full of trust and joking and safety in a book that is never safe.

The worldbuilding here is excellent.  We solve some mysteries and open up new ones. Ideas and creatures/situations we only glimpsed in the first book are more fleshed out. We get more background on Raffe and Urial's master plan.  The world is still dark and horrible, but there's also hope and good moments.  Maybe not enough to balance out the bad, but it keeps it from being too dark or hopeless.  And then there were a few points where I was laughing out loud, which seems almost inappropriate with how many gruesome, horrible things happen to the people in this book, but Susan Ea included some parts that cracked me up.

And Action. So much, never stop, in your face, someone might die, what new trial/horror is this action that keeps you obsessively reading until the book's finished and you finally, sort of, get a moment to breath.   

All in all, this is an excellent series. I was sort of shocked when I found out there were 5 total (I was expecting 3) but oddly enough I'm excited about this.  Sure, it means torturous waits and nasty cliffhangers, but the story is big enough, I'm glad it will have enough space to really develop it's potential. Plus, I'd rather find out now than at the end of the third book.  All in all, it's an amazing 4.5 star, nail-biting, stay-up-all-night, page-turning read you should really check out, though maybe not if you're super scared of the dark, because this book does have a lot of dark images and realities.

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