Author: Susan Ee
Shelves: Fantasy pnr everything untoward, Let me down, Dystopia/post-ap
Warning: Spoilers, nothing major but some of you get icky so. The major one has been marked.
A bit for Penryn, none for the story and lots for Paige.
In retrospect, World After hasn’t been as unmemorable an experience as was original conclusion upon finishing with the book yesterday. However it’s no Angelfall, and where unoriginality hadn’t been detrimental to the debut novel, the opposite is true for the latest installment, that is to say it’s the little originality here that keeps the book somewhat buoyant. What sold Susan Ee and made her an instant hit with readers all across were her characters and pacing, because let’s face it: the plot was banal, and the writing was good. Penryn Young paved a way into tbr-lists and re-read-lists while already seeking a little sister and dealing with killer angels, she was an expert multi-tasker and so we all loved her.
Picking up an instant after the end of Angelfall, the book follows basically… no plot until around the 50% mark. Penryn wakes up in the Resistance van, and joins them to their camp. I wouldn’t have minded the lack of direction had there been some reason for bringing back Obi and Dee-Dum and the rest. Dee-Dum solely are there for making rude jokes and lightening the mood, which wasn’t necessary since the mood had barely been tense to begin with! So why did they go to the Resistance? So Paige could run away again. I realize and appreciate that it was to get across the other, unapparent implications of Paige’s mutilation, but what pisses me off is that no shit, absolutely. no. shit. that matters about the Resistance was included. As if the Resistance were an after-thought incorporated to accomplish jobs that Penryn couldn’t and literally clean up after her. The only notable thing that happens within the Resistance itself is the three, or some men, that attack Penryn. Why? And why does Penryn not even care about that afterwards? The scene was obviously written to act as a catalyst in sending Paige off into the woods, but I prefer my plot devices to not be so transparent.
To the story itself, I didn’t mind a few of the places it took Penryn. Revelations about the apocalypse and Uriel’s mongering and a whole conspiracy and secrets about Paige are revealed, which is all very satisfying. The stipulation of humans not in gangs, or the Resistance, or hiding in the dark is revealed. My second favorite part of the book were, predictably, the humans. Even in the face of killer angels, scorpion angels and what the hell not, but they still gotta hold onto prejudices against old, wrinkly people and:
It is painful to see that people prefer a bad guy who looks like an angel to a good guy who looks like a demon.
My favorite part constitutes of alllllllll the scenes involving Paige. I absolutely LOVE her, and is it an alright time to mention that a book from her POV would be kick-ass and I want to see her grow up and I like it when she bares her teeth? Penryn faces many dilemmas when it comes to her demon-turned sister, so many landmines to crawl by, and occasionally, she steps on one and the situation goes KA-BOOM! For the most part, I liked Penryn the way I liked her the way I did in Angelfall, sooner than I liked, at about 70%, I got fed up. That’s around the point Raffe enters the scene, and dear Ryn-Ryn
goes swooooooooooooooooooooon, and I pretty much have the opposite reaction.
Before Raffe’s entry, his absence is accomodated by fillers, excuse me, memories from his sword which tries to teach Penryn to swordfight, which actually was a cool concept until all at once, it was more about establishing that Raffe had a heart and, predictably, he cared for her. Raffe himself turned out to be somewhat disappointing. I remember really liking him in the first novel, but he seems very run-off-the-mill right now.
The stupidest hole in the plot was Penryn going to the aerie back again, only to decide that she has to go back to the ship to get the tracer, except- wait for it-<b>she had already fucking decided before going to the aerie that she’s leaving it for her mother in case she fails. That she plans to look for Paige on her own and besides, she’d be unable to hide it. So what in the hell did you plan to do had you not met Raffe there? Seriously, idiot much? Time waster much?
Hell’s bells Penryn!
I was also disturbed to notice that there are no female angels except for Laylah. It could always be that there are but they aren’t important to the story. However, that begs the question, why aren’t men hired/forced and prettied up to adorn them? Is it that only the male angels look towards that sort of thing? Moreover, the soldiers in Obi’s army are all men, as was in Angelfall. In fact, the only woman actually part of the Resistance that’s there we don’t even meet, and the only reason I conclude that she’s a part of the Resistance is from the fact that she was standing behind Obi in his office. Penryn can’t be the only woman in the entire area of San Francisco to know self-defense and how to kick ass. We do have women in armies, don’t we?
World After also failed to embrace me into its world. The ambiance, the atmosphere, the writing, all of it just barely worked for me. The sentences are so short and clipped, specifically in the first half, trying to be so dramatic, to add an overwrought impression to the story; instead it only resulted in distancing me from it.
Conversely, it does work the few times it does, mostly in the first few chapters when I was giddy and un-irritated and not displaying all the other signs of aging. As in:
But I can’t. I can’t look at her at all. Her eyes aren’t the same. They can’t be.
I turn and run from her.
Adding to the negative was how each and every one of those chapters ends with a theatrical phrase. After a while, it got downright aggravating. My theory is that Ms Ee was afraid someone out there would sequester the draft from her, and ergo, she kept concluding each chapter like an ending.
The blurb goes:
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.
For me, it didn’t deliver. at. all. Sure, we get to know the motivations and rest, but it doesn’t have the same effect, because the writing is missing its punch. I read how lovers were divided and a father grew more terrified than his son as they got separated, yet there was no emotion, no desolation for me to feel it was a post-apocalyptic novel.
World After literally ends with a ride off into the sunset(or sunrise), and I am glad for the lack of a cliffhanger. Book #3 is something I’m ambiguous about just yet. Actually, I’m thinking of re-reading Angelfall to see if I still find charm in it, but if memory serves me right, I will.I wish I’d read Marie Lu’s Champion instead. Right now, however, I’m going to read The Bread We Eat In Our Dreams. Blow me away, Valente!