Book written by: Susan Ee
Review by: Amy Pan
Writing an outstanding sequel after the tremendous success of Angelfall must have been an arduous and difficult task. That is why Susan Ee and her fantastic book, World After, should be commended for not only managing to be a successful follow-up, but also for being the perfect gift for those who have invested in Penryn and all the other characters wholeheartedly. Though I certainly found complaints along the way, World After is a stunning sequel that mainly satisfied all my hopes and wishes for this series. In comparison with the first book, I do admit to enjoying Angelfall more than the latest installment for a few reasons.
My main complaint is the lack of progression and pace. Angelfall introduced readers to unique angel lore, a complexly-woven plot, and a fascinating, undiscovered world filled with hidden secrets and unforeseen enemies. On the other hand, World After takes baby steps and reminded readers of details and issues they most likely already knew. By explaining things with ten words while only two were necessary, what could’ve happened in a few chapters ended up spreading over an entire book.
Fortunately, even though the pacing decelerated, character development sped up. The greatest progress made by this sequel was Penryn’s mother. In World After, she becomes more than the insane and unpredictable woman that we all previously labelled her as. Readers begin to realize that she is simply a confused but intelligent mother who cares dearly for her children. This aspect added a lot of depth to the book, not to mention many more heartwarming scenes about a previously broken relationship in an eternally broken world.
Furthermore, the writing style–in both installments– is fantastic. Ee has a talent for balancing gory, gritty action with playful, hilarious banter. Simple and clear, her prose is effective in ways that even the most complex and intricate of writing styles don’t always manage to be. It never fails to build a stark, atmospheric picture of Penryn’s haunting life in a world ravaged by the apocalypse.
Overall, despite the uneven pacing and sporadic flaws, World After is another magnificent novel that retains quite a bit of appeal from Angelfall. While it could have been better with more careful plotting and pacing, it is also well-deserving of a 3.75/5 for making me laugh, shaking me with anticipation, and piquing my interest for the third book!