The Penryn & The End Of Days series introduces us to a post-apocalyptic world, where Angels have taken over the earth and are causing complete chaos. They’ve taken humans to be their pets and worse, some of them treat humans the way we would treat rats. In a world where humans prided themselves on technology and the advancement of science and constantly improving the standard of living, they are now forced to go back and rely on instincts that have taken millions of years to evolve and focus on one thing only—survival. Roads lie deserted and with dwindling supplies and street gangs on the rise, humanity is in utter pandemonium.
In this chaotic world, Angelfall introduces us to the Young clan. Penryn and wheel-chair bound Paige are accompanied by their schizophrenic mother as they leave their home in Silicon Valley, looking for a safer place to stay in. Amidst the confusion of trying to escape from Angels who are feeling a few feet from where the family crouches, hidden, Penryn finds an Angel Raffe with his wings cut off, her sister Paige abducted by the Angels and her mother, fleeing to safety. Penryn knows that Raffe can take her to the Angels’ aerie where her sister may be, and Raffe has to take his wings back from Penryn. In his weakened state, he agrees to take her to the aerie and there begins an uncomfortable partnership between the two.
I think the thing that drew me most to the book was its fantastic world-building. With words that were written both brilliantly and in a way that kept my imagination working overtime, the book left absolutely nothing to be desired when it came to research and execution! It was on-point with the whole people-going-crazy-in-the-face-of-the-apocalypse and it was both believable and terrifying.
Penryn was my obvious favorite in the books. She was smart and driven and unflinchingly loyal. But that’s not all. She was physically strong, defended herself on several occasions and managed to save Raffe’s life when he was unable to do so. She was fucking boss material. This girl was like Alice (from the Umbrella Corporation) and Arya Stark (from GoT) and one character you can count to survive on Lost. Legit.
Raffe was not what I’d expected him to be. He was fearless and brave and so. fucking. funny. And I was mostly a mind-numbed fangirl, hanging on to his every word! From the very beginning when Raffe loses his wings, it’s easy to say that he didn’t quite like the idea of them being taken hostage by a weak human girl. But obviously as Raffe and Penryn start to travel together, he starts warming up to the fact that Penryn isn’t weak and that getting his wings away from her is not going to be easy.
Paige wasn’t a constant in the book, owing to the fact that she was taken away by the Angels to their aerie. However, it was heart-warming to see that she was on Penryn’s mind all the time. Later in the series when she does make a comeback, she is noticeably different (UNDERSTATEMENT) to what she was in the beginning and might I say, she did that amazingly well too! And their mom was creepy as fuck and a complete delight to read. The first two books really kept me in the dark about their mother’s actions…think of it this way: This woman was a schizophrenic, had sort of predicted Earth’s downfall at the hands of “monsters” a long time ago, and now these monsters were here to stay. She was a force to be reckoned with and it was easy to see where Penryn got her driven state of mind from.
The romance (whatever little there was) was a slow-burn. Susan Ee took her time, made me lose my shit, and gave Raffe and Penryn plenty of opportunities to know each other before they fell in love with each other…which honest to God, did not happen in Book 1. I’m usually not one for a slow-burn romance, but the other alternative in a genre like this would have been insta-love and that is a BIG FAT NO. Although I want to disagree with people who said there are no romantic exchanges between Penryn and Raffe at all. It was there, that chemistry, but Raffe was a complete dick about it.
I’d say World After is where Penryn really shone. She was glorious and strong, and when it came to Raffe, conflicted. And, woah, because Raffe wasn’t even there for more than half of the book. All her battles were her own to fight and it was both glorious and fantastic to see. World After also introduced and familiarised me to most of the Angel politics scenes and I got a fairly good view of the way these Angels seem to be going around making the planet theirs. Of course, a lot of the Angels’ political motives are revealed in Angelfall, but World After and End of Days are the books where shit starts to get real.
End of Days was my absolute favourite of the lot, not because I knew I’d get all my questions answered by the end, but because I’d knew Penryn would have completely changed by the end, in a completely badass way. There were certain things about this book that were predictable (one character death, if we’re going into specifics) and when the book reached that part, the parts that followed were the obvious choice to move the plot forward. I wasn’t disappointed, per se, just surprised. For a book that has been nothing but original from the beginning, this move was a bit…weird.
Nonetheless, End of Days is a kind of book that keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout. There were no two ways about how action is the main genre of this particular book and with both Raffe and Penryn having to battle their own demons and make very, very difficult choices, everything but their adventures takes a back seat. Even the romance. My only issue with this book was the part where many of my questions remained unanswered. To mention those questions here would be very, very spoilery (Bad Rhea) but if there were, say, spinoffs, then maybe my problem about the plot being a bit vague towards the end would be solved.
I haven’t read any Fallen Angel books at all, especially after hearing about the absolute failure that was Hush, Hush. So while I have no means of comparing the Penryn series to any other, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Penryn is high up there in the league of Feyre and Shahrzad…all woman who overpower the males in their respective books. And while she’s not without faults and she has her own sense of wackiness and an absolutely unique brand of crazy, I’m in irrevocable love with everything Penryn and I’m praying ardently for a future-take or even a spinoff on any one to the characters that would give me a view of what happens with Penryn after the End of Days.