Trilogy Review: Penryn & the End of Days by Susan Ee

fullsizeoutput_f0


S E R I E S  R A T I N G :   🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟

Penryn & the End of Days is an apocalyptic horror trilogy following the story of Penryn Young, her sister and her mother as they struggle to survive the potential downfall of man. Angels have come to Earth and are wreaking havoc; they’re seemingly invincible, are ruthless warriors who care nothing about the lives of humans. The human race has scattered, gangs have emerged as everyone fights to the death for survival. When Penryn’s younger sister is kidnapped, she sets out to find her, forming an unlikely alliance with an angel named Raffe. But as they spend an increasing amount of time together, they realize that the alliance is turning into something akin to romance, and the fact that they’re two people from two species at war is not only complicated, it’s terrifying.

“He is the one pocket of warmth in a sea of ice. Being in his arms feels like the home I never had.”

Susan Ee has crafted a story that’s… delicious, and that truly is the best way to describe it. Angelfall was largely lackluster in my opinion, for several reasons that I’ll get into later into the post, but I was still willing to give the rest of the books a chance. I picked up the second book a year after I completed the first one, and flew through it. It was everything I adored about a sequel, and it forced me to pick up the third book immediately after I finished it. End of Days was also a book I adored – and I was left in awe at the amount of improvement the series, and the author, went through from start to finish.

BOOK I WAS A LACKLUSTER AND DECEPTIVE START TO A GREAT SERIES

Like I said, Angelfall was far from perfect – for the most part, the first book seriously lacked in action. Susan Ee is a slow writer, and that’s okay. Her strength lies in the balance of slow and fast but it seemed like that perfect balance had not yet been struck in the series starter. Angelfall was dull – the moments interspersed with romance fell flat because Raffe and Penryn’s relationship was, at first, unbelievable to me. What drew them together? Why do they like each other beyond the fact that they have some sort of chemistry? Their relationship, as fun as it was to observe the banter and teasing, didn’t feel like it was developed well, and considering that I had pacing problems before the 80% mark, the first book wasn’t all that I had heard it would be. In the end, I gave it three stars, mostly because the last 20% was phenomenal, and it made me want to read ahead. If you’re looking for more in-depth thoughts, here’s my review.

WORLD AFTER PUT PENRYN AT THE FOREFRONT – RISKY MOVE, BUT WORTH IT

World After, however, was where the fun truly started, which is ironic because it was significantly slower than the first book all-in-all. Ee took a chance by making the sequel exist as solely a Penryn book, where Raffe barely exists past a few scenes near the end and a couple of fleeting moments here and there. It’s a book focused on Penryn’s personal development, her relationship with her family, as she comes to terms more fully with the world she’s now living in, with who she’s become, and has to firmly pick a side in a war that seems to have no end other than the destruction of her species. Having a book centered on her allowed me to appreciate her strength, both as a character and a person – so often when a romance is introduced and a high-stakes surrounding is at work, we forget to be invested in the main character. And with this risky decision, Ee ensured that I was enamored by Paige and her story.

World After is a slow, churning book full of introspection, survival and thought-provoking moments. Getting to be fully emerged in Paige’s head and seeing her work through her thoughts about Raffe made their romance click into place for me; suddenly, they made sense and I was rooting for them like I haven’t rooted for another couple in a long time – a stark contrast considering I felt nothing for them in the first book. The moments where the action existed were exciting. The horror and gore were cranked up a notch, and so was the world-building. The second book in the trilogy was perhaps my favorite from the three; it sucked me in completely.

END OF DAYS WAS AN EXPLOSIVE, THOUGHT-PROVOKING FINALE 

The third and final installment titled End of Days was another incredible sequel to a series that truly proved me wrong. While it often seemed like Ee was throwing action-packed scene after action-packed scene my way, the action struck a brilliant balance between the slow-churn of the second book and the wild thrill of the third. Here is where I’ll suggest that you binge the second and third books; spreading out the reading experience may give you whiplash. Read them both consecutively and you’ll enjoy the sudden shift in pace, I promise you. While action is at the forefront of the finale, we see some thought-provoking discussions take place. What does it mean to be evil in a world where dichotomies don’t seemingly exist? How are you supposed to empathize with someone who, by all logical reasoning, should be your enemy? How far are you willing to go to get your way when your way could be good for so many, and bad for so many too? I thought Susan Ee answered these complicated questions nicely, and though the end wasn’t handed to you on a silver platter wrapped with a red bow on top, you still got enough closure. You still get a book that wraps it up without making this otherwise gritty, terrifying story neat.

BUT… THAT ONE GLARING FLAW I COULDN’T GET PAST…

So, I loved the series clearly. But there was one glaring flaw, past the technicalities in the first book, that stopped me from giving it a higher rating. There was one question that was never addressed properly (if at all): what about the rest of the world?! The three books take place in various parts of San Francisco, and seemingly, all the action is going on in California – considering it’s called World After, you’d think some of the action would take place outside of the West Coast – or at least some other countries would be acknowledged. Susan Ee makes it seem like the entire future of the human race rests on the shoulders of the people of California… but what about everyone else on the globe? You could argue that the angels only came to the United States – but, okay, then the human race isn’t really in trouble… Americans are, and that significantly lowers the stakes of the series. And if you argued that there were more angels elsewhere, and the book just focuses on the events of California – then the war isn’t really over, and there’s a considerable loose end. Either way, it makes no sense. I don’t see the logic behind not addressing what countries outside of the US are going through in this horrifying apocalyptic time, and ultimately, that’s such a lapse in world-building that it was the one major flaw I simply could not wrap my head around or get over.

But past this one flaw, Penryn & the End of Days was a thrilling read, and I dread to think that had I not given the series a second chance after being let-down by the first book, I would never have experienced the terrifying, delicious glory of it. If this isn’t a lesson to give things second chances, I don’t know what is!

angelfall moodboard

Join the List

Comments

  1. YES! I loved this series too and was frankly quite obsessed with it. I especially loved all the characters and all that action. I have to agree with you on Penryn’s character growth. It really was phenomenal. And OMG that flaw. You know it’s not something that I’ve thought about, but you’re so right. It’s prevalent in 99% of YA dystopia/post apocalyptic novels now that I think about it.

    • Honestly – that’s something that bothers me all the time in most apocalyptic and dystopian novels. 😩

  2. This is unrelated to your review but every single time I visit your blog, I am in awe of how pretty everything is. I love it so much, I had to say it ahah <3
    I haven't read these books at all, I think I only saw the covers around but didn't stop to read the synopsis or anything – I now kind of regret it ahah. I haven't read many books with angels, but I am getting more and more into different books and fantasy books, so this is something I'd definitely like to try someday 🙂 Thank you so much for sharing this review – and beautiful picture as well ! 🙂

    • Marie!!!!! *sobs* Thank you so much, that’s so nice of you to say. 💖

      This and Daughter of Smoke & Bone are the only angel series I’ve read, but they’re both so different in their own ways. I’m so glad you’re getting more into fantasy just as I’m starting to read more contemporary, ha 👅 I hope you’ll look into this, and enjoy it if you do get to it!

  3. I have never heard of this before your review but it sounds so good that I shall be adding it to my TBR for sure! While I’m not the hugest fan of angels in YA *cough* Hush Hush *cough* this does sound super interesting + your aesthetic has me intrigued! Thanks for sharing Aimal!

    • I’ve been raving about it on Twitter since forever, where have you been 😭 I haven’t even read Hush Hush because I’ve heard it’s absolutely horrendous. This is the only angel series I’ve read, but it’s so good! Hope you get around to looking into it!

  4. I could not agree more with you about this series. It remains to be my favourite angle focused fantasy series. I loved how Ee didn’t sugarcoat the dark and gritty reality of the world. Some of the imagery, specifically with Paige’s transformation, was so vivid and gruesome. I loved it haha. I’m a sucker for a good romance and I thought the dynamic between Penryn and Raffe was handled brilliantly. The fact that Penryn took center stage in World After really made me appreciate her as a character. I too wondered about what was happened in the rest of the world. It’s almost like this series was simply a battle in a much larger war, if the angels did indeed hold a worldwide invasion.

    • I actually haven’t read any other series focusing on angels – I probably should look into some considering how much I enjoyed this one. Do you have any recs?

      And yes, I agree! The dark, gritty aspect of it definitely gave the series that extra edge that so often lacks in apocalyptic novels. Thank you so much for stopping by, Lois!

      • I’ve not read the series yet but I’m told Paula Weston’s Rephaim series is incredible. That’s the only one I can think of right now haha.

  5. I totally agree with you. I wasn’t much of a fan of Angelfall, especially the first time I read it but as I continued with the series, I loved it even more. Of course this book had it’s fair share of flaws but overall, it was a memorable read. Loved your review!

Penny for your thoughts?

Latest from Instagram

Copyright © 2017 · Theme by 17th Avenue