(Penryn & the End of Days #3)
by Susan Ee
Reading level: YA
Book type: prose novel
End of Days is the explosive conclusion to Susan Ee’s bestselling Penryn & the End of Days trilogy.
After a daring escape from the angels, Penryn and Raffe are on the run. They’re both desperate to find a doctor who can reverse the twisted changes inflicted by the angels on Raffe and Penryn’s sister. As they set off in search of answers, a startling revelation about Raffe’s past unleashes dark forces that threaten them all.
When the angels release an apocalyptic nightmare onto humans, both sides are set on a path toward war. As unlikely alliances form and strategies shift, who will emerge victorious? Forced to pick sides in the fight for control of the earthly realm, Raffe and Penryn must choose: Their own kind, or each other?
(synopsis from Goodreads)
Oh, boy. That was such a disappointment. I enjoyed the first two books in this series (enough to give them three-and-a-half ladybugs out of five), so I thought... no, I hoped that this third and final book wouldn't let me down. But I was wrong.
Please, dear author, I want some more...
For some weird reason, I wanted to keep reading and find out how it would all turn out. That's probably the only thing that prevented me from giving up after encountering the first (of many) problems early on in the book.
Okay, that and Beliel. His character arc is probably the best one of the whole series. It's sad to see that Penryn doesn't "get it"; she keeps reminding herself of how evil he is... conveniently ignoring the fact that she had a hand in how he turned out. (I'm not even sure the author realizes what a great antihero she has in Beliel, though, so maybe I shouldn't be surprised that Penryn doesn't understand, either.)
It's all a matter of taste...
While Angelfall is filled with witty banter between the two main characters and World After builds up more of the backstory and mythology of the angels, End of Days reads like the first draft of the transcript of a drug-fuelled hallucination. You thought there was some horrific stuff in the first two books? Just wait. You're going to want brain bleach for some of the horrors you'll encounter in this story. It's not that I mind having that sort of thing in the books I read; it's just that there was so much of it in this book that it almost made it seem like it was part of a different series altogether.
I also didn't like the romance. We finally get to see some physical action (i.e., kissing) between Penryn and Raffe. Unfortunately, those scenes are some of the weakest I've ever read. The words Ee uses to describe their kisses are off-putting and not at all romantic. When I read about kisses that are "hot", "wet", and "sucking", I don't think of hot angels. I think of lampreys. (There's another stain to get out with the brain bleach. You're welcome.) Oh, and then there's what I've come to think of as the "air-humping" scene. I was trying so hard not to laugh that I couldn't really see how that was supposed to be romantic...
And Penryn herself is just plain annoying. I remember being somewhat exasperated with her in the other books, especially when she'd start to wax poetic about Raffe's hotness. But in this book, she's just not a very interesting character. It's as if the author figured she'd already developed Penryn's character enough. And I grew tired of hearing Penryn talk about the "vault" in her mind, as if a person can pick and choose what they remember, especially in the midst of an extremely stressful situation. The way she refers to the vault in an almost literal way makes me wonder if she hasn't got a touch of whatever it is that's afflicting her mother.
After everything that went on in the previous books, I also expected there to be more of a satisfying conclusion. Everything sort of ends with a whimper rather than a bang, and while some sacrifices are made, they're not the sort that really rip the reader's heart out and stomp it into the dirt... like I was expecting. And the epilogue is just about the most pointless one I've ever read. It adds nothing to the story.
Let's get technical...
Yes, let's get technical. The biggest issue with this book is that it hasn't been edited. There are so many problems, and some of them are so glaring that I assume that nobody but Ee even read over the book before it was sent to print. A massive error occurs at the beginning of Chapter 6, when Penryn makes reference to Raffe's "snowy wing tip". He still has his demon wings at that point; in fact, the majority of the first part of the book is about finding a doctor to put his original wings back on! I have no idea how an error like that wasn't caught.
The rest of the book isn't much better. There are continuity problems all over the place, the verbs are a mess (especially when Ee is referring to groups), there's a lot of repetition of words, and many sentences are so clunky that I wasn't quite sure what was being said. And there is so much telling. Super-important plot points are glossed over with a few detached words. I want to be shown... not told!
Being a demanding, nit-picky reader, I was annoyed and exhausted by the end. End of Days ended up being an exercise in endurance.
Despite the strong start to the series, the momentum just didn't last. If you're a big fan of the series and don't mind wading through 300 pages of badly edited writing for a few clever gems, give it a go. If you didn't particularly enjoy the first two books, however, you might want to give End of Days a pass.
He's quiet as he sweeps his large demon wings through the air.
"I don't like it either," I say. "But what choice do we have?"
"Why not?" He sounds resigned. "Might as well fly into the heart of the enemy where the primitive natives can tear me to pieces, sell my body parts for money, and grind the rest to be consumed in teas for sexual potency."
I tighten my arms around his neck. "We're not that primitive anymore."
He arches his perfect eyebrow at me, sending waves of skepticism.
"We have Viagra now."
He gives me a sideways glance as if he suspects what that is.
Overall Rating: 2.38 out of 5 ladybugs