Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Audio Book Review: World After by Susan Ee

Title: World After
Author: Susan Ee
Publisher: Brilliance Audio/Skyscape
Release Date: November 19, 2013
Rating: 3/5

Cover Impressions: 
The cover works very well with the one for the first novel.  I love the difference of the bat wings this time and am hoping that is an indicator that we will get lots of Raffe this time around as well.


World After picks up directly where Angelfall left off, with Penryn back with her family - but paralyzed and left for dead.  As she begins to stir, the member of the resistance are shocked to find her alive and wary of both her, her taser wielding mother and her stitched and strange baby sister.

When the hunger drives Paige to unspeakable acts, a mob chases her away and Penryn sets forth once again to reunite her family.  This time, without Raffe.  Her search takes her deeper into the Angel's territory and reveals their nefarious plans for human beings and the world.

The world, this time around is especially bleak.  I couldn't seem to find any hope that the human race is going to survive and it is made the book a little difficult to get through.  There were very few moments of triumph or even simple success, compounded by the fact that any gains made by the human race in the last book are quickly revealed to have had no impact whatsoever.

This novel is incredibly dark and has some really disturbing scenes of violence.  I found it particularly difficult, as a mother, to listen to the scenes involving parents being separated from their children.  About halfway through, another blogger mentioned that this series is meant to be 5 books.  I am entirely sure that I could handle this level of hopelessness for that many more novels.  I feel like the battle between angels and humans is like a man and a mosquito and I seriously need a win on the human's side before I die from frustration.

Despite its darkness, or perhaps because of it, the plot is quite exciting.  There is very little downtime between action scenes and Penryn continues to be a no-nonsense, get-it-done kind of girl, so that whining about Raffe's absence is kept to a minimum.  That being said, he doesn't REALLY show up until quite near the end of the book.  This allow time for Penryn to develop as a character and for the author to explore the new relationship between the two sisters.  However, I did miss that element of sexual tension which provided at least a momentary break from the bleakness and violence of the situation.

I really enjoyed how the sword became like another character and how she had a real impact on the plot.  She shows Penryn dreams and visions which not only allow Raffe to be present in some form and to reveal his history but also serve as a very clever way to have Penryn learn to use the sword proficiently in a rather short period of time.   

I would like to note that this is not a novel for the faint of heart.  It has some truly horrific scenes of violence that can be incredibly disturbing for some readers.  There are unwanted and unnecessary surgeries, violent riots, dismemberment, disembowelment and cannibalism.

There are scenes where angels are the monsters but also ones where humans are.  I would certainly never recommend this series for anyone on the young end of the young adult spectrum but it may be right up the alley of a reader who already enjoys a serious touch of gore.

In the end, it didn't really feel like World After accomplished much.  Paige is back, again.  Penryn and Raffe are back together again.  A few of the Angel's secret plans are revealed, but it doesn't feel like anything really changed from the last book to the end of this one.  We are left just as uncertain about the fate of the human race and no real battle was fought.  At the end of Angelfall we had a huge explosion at the Aerie.  It was big, loud and brightened the mood of the reader rooting for the downtrodden humans.  This book had not such pay off and I actually found myself questioning whether or not this book was necessary.  I get it, the whole point was allowing Penryn to grow and accept Paige and for her and Raffe to find one another again, but I can't help wondering if this could have been accomplished in a novella instead.  As it is, this book just felt like unnecessary filler.

I will definitely stick around for at least one more book but I can't say that I have high hopes of finishing all 5.  The bleakness will probably do me in long before the conclusion. 

Teaching/Parental Notes:

16 and up
Gender: Both
Sex: Kissing
Violence: Swordplay, Gunplay, Knifeplay, Violent Riots, Dismembering, Disembowelment, Cannibalism, Kidnapping, Torture, Unwanted Surgeries, 
Inappropriate Language: Bastard
Substance Use/Abuse: None


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