Title: End of Days (#3, Penryn and the End of Days)
Author: Susan Ee
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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? (via Goodreads)
I finished End of Days about a week ago but waited a while to write the review because it always feels so final when I review a book, even more so for this one because it’s the last part in Susan Ee’s amazing trilogy, Penryn and the End of Days. When I got to the end of this book I quickly realized I really wasn’t ready to leave Penryn and Raffe, and their post-apocalyptic world yet. I literally spent a good 45 minutes just holding the book and flipping through the pages, rereading my favorite parts, and sighing nostalgically. Yeah, that probably sounds really pathetic but I have grown to love this trilogy and its characters so, so much within the span of just two years.
After reading the first book Angelfall back in July 2013, it instantly became one of my top favorite books, and I felt that the sequel (released in November 2013) could not come fast enough, especially with how things ended in Angelfall. I had pre-ordered the sequel, World After from Amazon and rejoiced when it arrived the same day it was released, and immediately dove into it. I just had to find out what became of my favorite archangel (oh, Raffe, how I love you so) and his Daughter of Man because I ship them SO hard even though their situation seemed really complicated and hopeless. The climax of World After had me at the edge of my seat, fangirl flail-dancing when Raffe and Penryn were finally reunited, and holding my breath during their daring escape. Thankfully the ending didn’t leave me staring at the last page in horror saying, “What? No! You can’t end it there!”
*minor spoilers ahead*
The End of Days picks up right where the previous book left off, but our heroes don’t get much time to rest before something goes wrong. Again. Oh, but there was one particularly hot and squee-worthy Raffryn scene in the first couple chapters that called for giggling and fangirl flailing. What am I talking about? Okay, ALL the Raffryn scenes were squee-worthy and if they weren’t making me fangirl, they were breaking my heart. At times I actually found myself comparing their situation to Romeo and Juliet because they’re each from two opposing sides of a war, which is why I always said it’s so bittersweet shipping those two. Throughout the majority of this book, Raffe spends it denying his feelings for Penryn, and as much as it drove me crazy I couldn’t help but love it, too. Especially when we start to see him slowly letting his walls down before just completely going “Ah, screw it. I wanna kiss her so I’m gonna do it. Onlookers be damned.” Haha!
Not only was there more romance and sexual tension in this book, the action and craziness was kicked up a notch or two, as well! I can’t even remember how many times (but I know it was quite frequently) I clutched the book close to my face as I read and whispered, “Oh no… crap, crap, crap. No, no, no! Ahh!” I would walk around the grocery store or the mall with my parents, with my face buried in this book because nothing else mattered but finding out what happened next, who died or got injured in the battle, or what plot twist would pop up and complicate things next. It was like an epic action/romance/fantasy movie in my mind that lasted for days and I never wanted it to stop. The part where we actually get to see a different setting other than a devastated San Francisco was also super creepy and very disturbing, particularly due to its inhabitants. Susan really knows how to make freaky, nightmarish creatures, I’ll tell you that.
Something that surprised me was how I actually started to feel pity for one of the antagonists in the story. I absolutely despised him in the previous two books, but in the third one I couldn’t help but only feel sorry for him after finding out his side of the story. I still believe he did unforgivably horrendous things, and I’ll never forgive him for what he did to Raffe, but it was nice to see he wasn’t a one-dimensional villain who just did awful things because he’s the antagonist. There was a moment in time when he wasn’t a bad guy, and seeing that side of him then comparing it to the one I was first introduced to really made me have conflicted feelings about him. One of these days I’m going to read the entire trilogy straight through, so I can refresh my memory of him in the beginning and see how I feel by the last book. Oh, and I also didn’t expect to end up liking Penryn’s mother more! There were several scenes in End of Days where her mother did something really heroic that just took me by surprise and I couldn’t help but literally applaud and cheer her on. I really liked that we got to see more of the mother-daughter relationship this time, and how things have improved between them. There’s even this short running joke where Penryn tells Raffe that everyone is afraid of her mom, even the locusts. I loved that part, it was so funny.
The only critique I could give for this book is that the number of casualties – in terms of the main cast of characters whose names we know – didn’t seem realistic. I’m glad that I didn’t have to sob over and mourn one of my favorite characters in the end, I really am, but with how high the odds were stacked against humanity, it just seems strange that Penryn’s main group didn’t suffer more losses. Honestly, the entire time I was expecting at least one of the twins to die, just like in Harry Potter. Again, I’m so glad neither of them did but it just seems strange they didn’t.
*END OF SPOILERS*
End of Days is filled with gripping action and adventure, shocking political intrigue, entertaining witty banter, and heartwarming/wrenching (depends on what part of the book you’re on) romance, all entwined in a rich and twisted post apocalyptic world. I will be recommending this to people until everyone knows about this amazing trilogy. Thank you, Susan Ee, for writing such a fantastic and heart-stopping story that I know will stay with me for a very long time. I’m so sad that it’s over, but I am looking forward to what you have in store for us in the future!