World After ( Penryn & End of Days # 2) by Susan Ee

A few weeks back, I had stumbled onto the post-apocalyptic YA series, Penry and the End of Days written by Susan Ee - a lot of hype around the "explosive" conclusion End of Days, Book-3 coming out next month.

I actually LOVED book-one ( AngelFall) and was looking forward to diving back into this fascinating struggle between Humans and Angels - and of course the hesitant but surely budding "relationship" between Raffe ( fallen angel, greek god extraordinaire) and Penryn ( the heroine ). Well, of course this was a second book in a series and so I had to keep my expectations curbed in, I knew that.

Sadly - inspite of knowing this in advance, the second book failed to live up to the expectations, especially coming on the heels of such a soaring refreshingly original first volume  YA-dystopian story - Susan completely misses the mark. And it's frustrating because there are so many ways she could have expanded her world and the plot. It's this immense potential squandered that grates on the nerves.

The novelty about the world has worn off. So that wasn't going to hold our interest - unless Susan was willing to take us to some new "Angel" lands with interesting backstories. We are familiar with the scheming Angels, the "Hellions", the battered resistance - somethings got us intrigued at the end of book-one. Like Why are the Angels here on Earth, hell-bent of wrecking havoc? What is Raffe's backstory? What's the deal with Penryn's Mother?

Second book answers these questions to a good degree. But not satisfyingly enough for me to be clamoring for book-three already. The narrative energies dip big time - And the main reason for this is the author's dogged determination to stick to the older storyline. Penryn is still coming to terms with what Paige has become - and before she can settle and accept, Paige drags herself off to ...basically disappear again. So its again Penryn versus the World - in search of her sister. But sadly in this edition, there is no Raffe. A character who brought out the best in our protagonist, Penryn is only brought three-fourths of the book. And that too - in a totally wasted manner ( when it comes to story-telling and driving the plot forwards..sigh!)

Penryn mucks around with the Resistance, brooding and sulking over what Paige has become. And when she disappears a second time around, Penryn makes some uninspiring friends - who lend nothing of thier charaters in driving the plot forward. That was one of my biggest complains.

Obi - the leader of the resistance is a cardboard-cutout who isn't utilized. Dum-Dee the twins practically have nothing to do but do boyish grins and dream about mud-fights. Mother opens up a little more but is still unconvincing. Raffe comes in too late to save the sagging plotline. Paige and Beliel who could have been interesting are neglected. And Penryn - is left high and dry, day-dreaming and reliving book-one through the eyes of her newly acquired Angel- sword, who she wonderfully names "Pooky Bear". Sigh!

It's a disappointing book and even the last climactic reveal ( that is supposed to be astounding ) doesn't help the book. A classic case of where the second book doesn't add anything to the story and is not even a bridge to the climax and opener. I am in two minds whether I should even be trying to read The End of Days.


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