Series: Penryn & the End of Days #1
Author: Susan Ee
Pages: 255 (ebook)
Published: May 21st 2011
Published by: Feral Dream
It's been six weeks since angels of the apocalypse descended to demolish the modern world. Street gangs rule the day while fear and superstition rule the night. When warrior angels fly away with a helpless little girl, her seventeen-year-old sister Penryn will do anything to get her back.
Anything, including making a deal with an enemy angel.
Raffe is a warrior who lies broken and wingless on the street. After eons of fighting his own battles, he finds himself being rescued from a desperate situation by a half-starved teenage girl.
Travelling through a dark and twisted Northern California, the have only each other to rely on for survival. Together, they journey toward the angels' stronghold in San Francisco where she'll risk everything to rescue her sister and he'll put himself at the mercy of his greatest enemies for the chance to be made whole again.
Penryn is the responsible one in her family despite only being 17 herself. Both her younger sister and her mother are disabled - one paralysed from the waist down, the other afflicted with paranoid schizophrenia. Not great when things start to get really crazy. When they, along with the rest of the world, are thrown into 'The End of Days' Penryn does her utmost to make sure they are all going to still be together at the end of it, no matter what it takes.
I really enjoyed this book. It was incredibly easy to read and only took me two days to get through. The writing is beautiful at times, the first few paragraphs in particular stand out in my memory, and Ee is wonderful at describing the characters' surroundings. Unfortunately, this is sometimes taken that little bit too far and I would find myself wondering exactly why we needed to know certain things about various places because it seemed to bear no relevance to the story, instead simply being their for the sake of it or to show that Ee had done her research and knew exactly what she was talking about or whatever.
Penryn is a wonderful and incredibly likeable character, and I especially like her sense of humour. She is strong in herself and has very clear (and sensible) motivations which she refuses to compromise on no matter what situation she finds herself in. Her mother's schizophrenia is an interesting twist, especially given the situation the world has been thrust into. For a woman who already imagines demons are stalking her, the sudden arrival of angels and the descent of society into chaos only makes matters worse. When I was studying psychology we touched on schizophrenia, and I've got to say I think the depiction of the disorder is done very well, though her few appearances strike me as a little too timely on occasion. Raffe is the typical paranormal guy - amazingly gorgeous and completely unattainable. His angelic nature is very clear in the decisions he makes, though there is the not-so-underlying desire to regain his wings working there too and you're never really clear on how much this in motivating him in certain circumstances.
But while I liked all the characters you are supposed to it never really got past that at all. I've read some books where I love the characters and this just wasn't one of those books for me. While I was caught up in the story, I wasn't caught up in their lives. There were points where this was nearly reached, and I'm hopeful that spending more time with them in the next book will do it for me.
Most of the story is pretty clear cut: reach x to achieve y, overcoming various obstacles along the way, but the pace is good and there is always something different getting in the way, and all of them unavoidable. What I hate in books in when the characters make all their own problems by making stupid decisions. Yeah, nobody's perfect, but I will only tolerate so much stupidity from any one character. Happily, I can say that this wasn't a problem here.
There are a couple of quite creepy/tense moments through the course of the story, and then some quite shocking but incredibly compelling reveals at the end. These cast light on some mysteries from earlier in the book but leave you (or me at least) wanting to know where all this will lead. Most definitely looking forward to reading the next book in this series.