World After is the second book in a series, so I advise you not to keep reading this review if you’ve not read the first book, Angelfall.
Angelfall was one of the most surprising reads for me so far this year. I wasn’t sure whether it would live up to the hype, but it deserves the praise. I was also surprised by its brutality, dangerous – often shockingly – adventure, and blossoming relationship between an unlikely pair, Penryn and Raffe, which turned out to be a magnificent combination. As you can imagine, I was rather excited when World After fell through my letterbox.
Thankfully, World After continues straight on from Angelfall. Penryn is being carted off, paralysed and shaken, having just witnessed the horrific experiments the angels have been conducting in the aerie, which is now just a pile of rubble and smoke thanks to the Resistance. She is being held by her mother, who believes Penryn is dead, and has been reunited with her little sister Paige, who currently looks like a terrifying demon-like doll. Well, that is enough to take in already, but it’s about to get a lot worse.
You’ll be forgiven if you, like me, mistakenly thought that the plot for World After was actually for Angelfall. Paige has been taken, although this time by humans who think she’s abhorrent – a monster – rather than angels, and Raffe is busy tracking down Beliel, who is beaten and damaged, but proudly displays Raffe’s white wings. Yet World After is even more brutal and tragic than its predecessor. We finally find out what the angels are up to – what on Earth are those scorpions for? – and what they plan to do. According to the angels, humans aren’t the problem, just incidental.
In World After, we do not see Raffe again until we’re nearly at the end, making it a very different experience to Angelfall. But Penryn is by no means a diminished character without him. She is still incredibly witty, engaging and a character you want to support. She’s smart, but does not always make smart choices – and who can blame her? I thought it was fascinating to see Penryn’s desperation to save her sister lessen slightly in this sequel, as if she’s settled into the apocalypse and her purpose now is not just protecting her mother and sister. Paige is no longer seen as human by some and it’s clear that Penryn struggles herself sometimes – no longer is Paige the only thing on her mind – until she discovers some video tapes of her sister’s capture…
World After shows us that it is even more difficult to distinguish between angels and demons than ever before. If you read and loved Angelfall, you’ll be wanting some answers!
It’s painful to see that people prefer a bad guy who looks like an angel to a good guy who looks like a demon.