(Penryn & The End of Days #1)
Published August 28th, 2012
See Review on Goodreads
Plot at a Glance:
The End of Days has come. Six weeks ago, to be precise. Gangs rule the streets, while Angels rule the skies. When said angels kidnap 16 year old Penryn’s disabled little sister, she’ll do anything to get her back. Including partnering with the enemy. When she finds and rescues Raffe, an angel attacked and left for dead by his own kind, Penryn finds herself at odds with unexpected feelings for the angel, and worries for her own kind. Together, they must travel into the heart of danger for a chance to find that which will make them each whole again.
This one is going to be difficult for me to rate. Even now, hours after finishing it, I keep going back and forth between 3 and 4 stars, which is exactly how I felt while reading it.
For those upset with me for not rating it higher, please remember that I tend to be a pretty comprehensive
critic reviewer. When I’m reading I’m examining the story from more than just a pure enjoyment standpoint. I also consider: plot; characters; worldbuilding; scene and sentence structure; theme, and more. It pains to me say it, but this book just didn’t hit all the right notes for me.
That does NOT mean I didn’t enjoy it though! Because this is for sure a crazy rollercoaster ride of a story from start to finish.
One thing that authors must do in order to set themselves apart is subvert tropes, and do it quickly. With YA books in particular, I feel like there are so many easy traps, particularly for new authors to fall into. When I hear Angels and YA my mind immediately goes to paranormal teen romance first, and then just as quickly on to this:
So you can imagine my surprise when this book ended up exceeding my expectations in the best way. The angels are definitely there, but this is a bloodied and violent take on what is primarily a trope associated with peace, light and God. It was an unexpected (and pleasant) surprise when this book ended up traveling down some extremely dark paths.
I’m a sucker for dark themes when you least expect them, so this book earned some major kudos points from me for being brave enough to go where other authors typically don’t dare to tread.
‘But Bentley,’ you say, ‘what didn’t you like about it?’
While tropes are subverted beautifully here – particularly at the beginning and end of the novel – I thought the middle was somewhat lacking. It felt like there was less planning in those parts, in favor of wandering and encountering bland characters that I think the story could have done without.
Also, I think the prose suffers due to the fact that this was Susan Ee’s debut novel. The sentences are all fairly short and simplistic, which grew pretty tiring after awhile. I also think that the first-person present narrative structure hurts the pacing overall. It read like something I would have LOVED in my young teenage years, but honestly the content is so dark and violent at times that I don’t know if I would be comfortable with 13 year old me reading it.
Also, I think that this book relied a bit too heavily on the mystery of why the Angels were doing what they were doing, and lacked a substantial antagonist. It felt in a way like this book is a gigantic prologue for events that I’m sure will unfold in books 2 and 3, which I am very excited to read shortly!
✩✩= 3 out of 5 stars!
What did you think about this book? Have you read the sequels? Would you say they improve over the first?