Monday 9 December 2013

World After by Susan Ee

World After
Everyone thinks I’m dead.
I lie with my head on my mother’s lap in the open bed of a large truck.  The dawn light etches the grief lines on my mom’s face while the rumble of the engines vibrates through my limp body.  We’re part of the resistance caravan.  Half a dozen military trucks, vans and SUV’s weave through dead cars away from San Francisco.  On the horizon behind us, the angels’ aerie still smoulders in flames after the Resistance strike.
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Published by Hodder and Stoughton in November 2013
360 pages
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? 
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I only read Susan Ee’s much praised ‘Angelfall’ in the summer and was subsequently quite glad I’d jumped on the bandwagon late with the book.  Why? Because it meant less time to wait to the sequel! Hooray! 
World After picks up right where Angelfall left off and hurls us straight back into the action of Penryn’s destroyed world.  As with the first book, Penryn remains a worthy heroine – a complete match for Katniss Everdeen with her quick-thinking ways and loyalty to her family.     
If anything, World After is darker, more ruthless than the first novel.  There’s a gruesome scene involving some cannibalism and we find out just what happened to little Paige before Penryn finally found her in Angelfall.  We also see the cruel and ruthless side of humans as well as the dark side of angels we’ve already encountered in the first novel.
A small criticism is just how linear World After is to the first novel – the structure is pretty much identical.  Luckily Ee still manages to pull off a captivating novel with her talent for suspense and great characterisation.  There’s a fair bit of humour in there that you wouldn’t expect in a dystopian fiction; for example when Penryn carelessly re-names Raffe’s sword ‘Pooky Bear’.  
Speaking of Raffe; some readers may be disappointed that he is largely absent for most of the book.  This wasn’t much of an issue for me – I like Penryn as a character enough not to miss him, but the more romantically minded might wish there was more of a development in Raffe and Penryn’s relationship.  All is not lost however; there are some nice moments where Penryn gets to experience moments from her and Raffe’s past, kindly recounted to her by his sword.
Lastly, a word on Penryn’s mum.  It’s subtly done, but I like the way Ee has handled the relationship between mother and daughter in this book.  Where before she was the crazy lunatic, somehow in World After there is
method to her madness and a growing respect from Penryn for her mother.  I can’t help feeling that however the End of Days series ends, she will turn out to be a major catalyst.  
Susan Ee has delivered a worthy sequel to her astonishing debut and I am certain readers won’t be disappointed.    

1 comment:

  1. I'm reading and loving this at the moment, so nice to read a sequel not too long after the original! :)


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