End of Days (Penryn and the End of Days, #3) – re-read

End of DaysEnd of Days
by Susan Ee
Rating: ★★★½
isbn: 1444778552
Series: Penryn End of Days #3
Publication Date: May 26, 2015
Pages: 336
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Hodder Paperback

Ok, so book 3 re-read and I still don’t care for dystopian/post-apocolyptic settings.

My second read brings this book down to a 3.5, but I have to say, that on the second read, I was better able to appreciate the parallels to the stories of Lucifer’s original battle and descent/fall.  I was also better able to empathise with the tragedy and sacrifice of Baliel.  So, while I got more out of it the second time around, I also found the science fiction elements even more grating, and I was totally dissatisfied with the ending.  Yes, it’s an HEA, but it’s still lacking, with questions left unanswered, and that annoys me more than it did the first time, obviously.

I remain satisfied with the trilogy; it didn’t wow me, but I feel like I got what I paid for, more or less.  Perhaps someday my nieces will enjoy reading it.

World After (Penryn and the End of Days, #2) – re-read

World AfterWorld After
by Susan Ee
Rating: ★★★
isbn: 1477867287
Series: Penryn End of Days #2
Publication Date: January 1, 2013
Pages: 438
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Publisher: Skyscape

I hadn’t planned on re-reading all three of the Penryn books, but I should have known better; I’ve never been able to just re-read one book in a series without wanting to re-read them all.

This one stands up exactly as well as it did the first time around.  It’s good, but not awesome, and of course, the whole science fiction angle doesn’t score points with me, as it’s just not my jam.  Still, the angel mythology remains compelling.

Why would Angels need science if they have magic?  Why would they need human doctors?  Human-derived technology?  None of this is explained in either of the two books so far.

INSERT SPOILER TAG HERE

I really liked the way the author used Raffe’s sword to share with Penryn and the reader Raffe’s POV and some of his long backstory.  Also, the sword’s way of using those memories as training exercises for Penryn – not that she ever used the lessons as far as I could tell.  Once past the halfway-ish mark, the story started pulling me in again.  It’s no coincidence that it’s also about the same time Raffe makes his re-appearance in Penryn’s life.  The two of them together are a more intriguing story to me than they are apart.

There’s a soupçon of humour in this book that was all but missing in the first one.  I’m still shaking my head over ‘Pooky Bear’ but can totally appreciate the naturalness of how the name came about.  Put me in the same scene in place of Penryn, and I’d have responded in much the same way to Dee/Dum.  Though I’d have probably said ‘Twinkle Toes’ or something equally obnoxious.

I read somewhere that 5 books are planned for this series.  If that’s the case, I predict, even though this book ends with the tides seemingly turning against the Angels, that they will rally in the third book.  It’s hard to imagine stringing this out for more than 3, 4 books at the most, but I’m sure the author has much more in store for everyone.

Just please don’t let it be more science fiction.

Angelfall (Penryn and the End of Days, #1) – Re-read

AngelfallAngelfall
by Susan Ee
Rating: ★★★½
isbn: 0761463275
Series: Penryn End of Days #1
Publication Date: January 1, 2012
Pages: 284
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Publisher: Skyscape

This is a re-read for me; I was going through my archives, trying to update this blog and my presence on the new site, bookhype.com, when I came across is and just felt like I needed to re-read it.

It held up well, though my original rating was 4 stars, and on the re-read it gets 3.5.  I’m not sure why, except that on the second read, I found parts tedious.  But it remains a compelling read.  I still didn’t really connect with Penryn as a character, but Raffe became more compelling.

The same elements of it disturbed me that disturbed me the first time around; I don’t think I’d really like to see the imaginings of Susan Ee too up close and personal, but the story remains, to a degree, haunting.

Anne of Green Gables

Anne of Green GablesAnne of Green Gables
by L.M. Montgomery
Rating: ★★★½
isbn: 99582643
Series: Anne of Green Gables #1
Publication Date: September 1, 2013
Pages: 468
Genre: Children's Fiction

Yes, this is my first time reading it.  I was book shopping back in January with my 9 year old niece and she was pressuring me to read Little Women, which isn’t going to happen, and in a panic, I volunteered to read Anne of Green Gables instead.

Keeping in mind that I’m 40 years beyond the target audience for this book, omg, it’s so twee.  468 pages and about 368 of them so twee and precious I almost gave up and dnf’d it.  Suffice it to say, I identified most strongly with Marilla.  But if I skimmed the gratuitous expository narrative, there was a charming story that kept me going (after a 3 month hiatus).  And as Anne grew up, the story got progressively easier to read.  That part of the story earned it the extra half star.

The reasons this book is a classic are clear, though I’m confident I wouldn’t have been much more enamoured of this book when I was in its target audience; even as a child I lacked the requisite imagination to feel like Anne was a kindred spirit, and Heidi pretty much killed the orphan sub-genre for me anyway.  But I have one niece for whom this book might be a perfect fit, and I’ll be holding in on my shelf for her next visit, assuming that happens before she’s old enough to drive, given current border closures.  Or maybe I’ll just send it to her in the post.

End of Days (Penryn and the End of Days, #3)

End of DaysEnd of Days
by Susan Ee
Rating: ★★★★
isbn: 1444778552
Series: Penryn End of Days #3
Publication Date: May 26, 2015
Pages: 336
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Hodder Paperback

I don’t actually care for dystopian/post-apocolyptic settings and this trilogy reminded me of that and ultimately reinforced my belief that my tastes haven’t changed over time.  If my tastes had changed, or if I’d always been a fan, I’d have probably stuck with my original instinct to rate this more of a 3/3.5.  As it is, I’m compensating for taste.

I enjoyed Angelfall, although it started to fall apart for me at the end when the science fiction angle started to show itself.  In spite of the dystopian/P.A. theme, I could totally get on board with Penryn and Raphael and their search for his wings and her family.  But from book 2, things just got too weird for me; the experiments, the creations, the politics.  I was committed to continuing though because I cared about the characters.

So while quite a few others I know are disappointed by End of Days it pretty much met my expectations – I continued to be bored by the science fiction/frankensteinian aspects and was really just in it for the HEA it seemed was inevitable; I mean what else was the author going to realistically do that wouldn’t get her lynched by a teen mob?  I also enjoyed the scenes in the pit (perhaps ‘enjoyed’ isn’t the right word; I liked meeting the Watchers and seeing Baliel before his corruption was complete).

I’m satisfied with the trilogy; it didn’t wow me, but I feel like I got what I paid for, more or less.

World After (Penryn and the End of Days, #2)

World AfterWorld After
by Susan Ee
Rating: ★★★
isbn: 1477867287
Series: Penryn End of Days #2
Publication Date: January 1, 2013
Pages: 438
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Publisher: Skyscape

I couldn’t wait for the paperback; I had to see what was going to happen next. iBooks wasn’t selling it and I gave in to weakness and bought it from Amazon. Ultimately, I should have just waited and bought it in paperback.

If you haven’t read Angelfall and you think you might want to, beware there might be spoilers here for you

World After, for much of the first half of the book, was just too Science Fiction for my taste. All those scorpion/locust chimera’s and Angels performing science experiments. Not for me. The whole thing just felt too contrived. While Angelfall didn’t feel like a book written with the YA demographic specifically in mind, World After did. It was still a good read; I just felt like some of the suspension of disbelief needed in this book would be easier for someone closer to that age group.

View Spoiler »

I really liked the way the author used Raffe’s sword to share with Penryn and the reader Raffe’s POV and some of his long backstory. Also, the sword’s way of using those memories as training exercises for Penryn – not that she ever used the lessons as far as I could tell. Once past the halfway-ish mark, the story started pulling me in again. It’s no coincidence that it’s also about the same time Raffe makes his re-appearance in Penryn’s life. The two of them together are a more intriguing story to me than they are apart.

There’s a soupçon of humour in this book that was all but missing in the first one. I’m still shaking my head over “Pooky Bear” but can totally appreciate the naturalness of how the name came about. Put me in the same scene in place of Penryn, and I’d have responded in much the same way to Dee/Dum. Though I’d have probably said “Twinkle Toes” or something equally obnoxious.

Generally, enjoyable.

 

Why would Angels need science if they have magic?  Why would they need human doctors?  Human-derived technology?  None of this is explained in either of the two books so far.

INSERT SPOILER TAG HERE

I really liked the way the author used Raffe’s sword to share with Penryn and the reader Raffe’s POV and some of his long backstory.  Also, the sword’s way of using those memories as training exercises for Penryn – not that she ever used the lessons as far as I could tell.  Once past the halfway-ish mark, the story started pulling me in again.  It’s no coincidence that it’s also about the same time Raffe makes his re-appearance in Penryn’s life.  The two of them together are a more intriguing story to me than they are apart.

There’s a soupçon of humour in this book that was all but missing in the first one.  I’m still shaking my head over ‘Pooky Bear’ but can totally appreciate the naturalness of how the name came about.  Put me in the same scene in place of Penryn, and I’d have responded in much the same way to Dee/Dum.  Though I’d have probably said ‘Twinkle Toes’ or something equally obnoxious.

I read somewhere that 5 books are planned for this series.  If that’s the case, I predict, even though this book ends with the tides seemingly turning against the Angels, that they will rally in the third book.  It’s hard to imagine stringing this out for more than 3, 4 books at the most, but I’m sure the author has much more in store for everyone.

Just please don’t let it be more science fiction.

Angelfall (Penryn and the End of Days, #1)

AngelfallAngelfall
by Susan Ee
Rating: ★★★★
isbn: 0761463275
Series: Penryn End of Days #1
Publication Date: January 1, 2012
Pages: 284
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Publisher: Skyscape

I think this is a 4 star read.  I reserve the right to change my rating after the story has settled in a bit.  It’s certainly one that will stay with me for awhile.

I find Angel mythologies fascinating.  Paradoxically, I rarely read fiction involving Angels, because I’m rather picky.  Most fiction I’ve run across involving angels portray them as pure, pull of love.  Automatons, or more kindly, one-dimensional and without free-will.  Being raised in a rather old-school but highly academic Catholic environment (firmly team Evolution here) I grew up hearing my mother tell of the battles the Angels raged, and how ultimately, one angel built his army and chose to stand against God.  Angelfall indeed.

I hadn’t even heard of Angelfall until I started seeing all the reviews on Booklikes talking about what an excellent story it told.  I read the synopsis and thought ‘Oh, this sounds good, but wait – Post-Apacolyptic? No, thanks, not a fan’.  But still the reviews came and I got intrigued.

I’ll say this: the story sucked me in well and truly.  So many elements of it disturbed me, especially towards the end, obviously.  I prefer not to be disturbed, generally speaking.  I also felt like the ending veered rather sharply away from UF and stuck it’s toe into Science Fiction, which I’m also not a fan of.  But sucked in and firmly hooked I was.  To the point of cranky snappishness whenever I was forced to stop reading for mundane things, like, say, eating.

I’ll not cover old, worn out ground by providing a synopsis.  I’m not going to gush about the characters either since I feel oddly ambivalent about most all of them except Josiah.  And, I guess, Raffe.  Ee wrote a tragic character there, but one I found myself invested in.

Again, I think I’ll have to let the story sit with me for awhile.  The ending just got a little too weird for me.  I’ll definitely be reading the next one though.  Well and truly hooked.