Well, that escalated quickly ...... One minute I'm reading a vaguely predictable, slightly weary account of a little romantic crush on the path of a noble, yet somewhat typical quest to rescue a young kid from the clutches of a fairly stereotypical evil. The next moment a sword is flashing about, blood is spraying everywhere and bodies are hitting the floor. Wow. This book is fantastic in it's ability to surprise. Especially as it starts off fairly tame and innocent with the usual post-apocalyptic fare. The speed with which the tension and action mount is brilliant, with enough shocks along the way to leave me with an intense need to read more.
The fact that this is self published is neither here nor there in my eyes. At the end of the day engaging characters, an interesting plot and good solid writing technique sells regardless of who it was published by, when, how or why. I do think the success of the book considering how it came into this world, is mildly impressive but really all I care about is how much I loved it, I don't really mind how it came to be on the shelf. Times are changing anyway. It's becoming much more common to self publish, particularly with the new low costs thanks to eBooks and frankly I think it's a little insulting to assume that just because a book is self published that it will be of lower quality than a book published in the traditional way by a publishing house. Professionals don't always know best! Or at least that's what I tell my dentist on a regular basis .....
Penryn is an awesome heroine. She's tough, smart enough without being a pain in the ass, she's loyal and she's incredibly determined. She's none of your usual simpering, cardboard cutout, wet-as-a-dishrag female lead. She's kick-ass! I did have my doubts however ..... Her relationship with Raffe was grating on me ever so slightly and it was beginning to look just a little bit like the usual girl loves boy because he's a murderer/treats women like crap/had a hand in destroying the earth scenario. However, the plot took a couple of turns and never quite got to the point of my having to sigh and roll my eyes and Penryn never lost her independence and gutsy attitude so I was able to suffer through a couple of chapters of Raffe's rippling muscles and totes amazeballs eye-balls with relative ease. I just thought Penryn was incredibly original and likeable. The first person narration was on the whole a good way to tell the story. Some of her internal monologues were slightly wearing but really, I generally think it worked.
Penryn's mother I thought was a very interesting character. As a suffer of severe mental health problems, the apocalypse signalled the beginning of all her nightmares, delusions and apparent hallucinations becoming a reality. It was almost as if she was the most prepared for the events which were to follow, almost as if she had been preparing for this moment her whole life with her claims that the devil was coming. She remains a bit of a mystery to the reader as Penryn herself doesn't understand her and therefore has limited insight to offer us into why her mother is the way she is. Her actions speak for her though, and I often had the feeling that she knew more than she was letting on and that Penryn was aware of.
The ending was truly awesome. I honestly didn't see any of that coming. It was wonderfully described, on the edge of being terrifying, the dialogue managed to remain more or less cheese-free and the pacing was perfect.
I never usually bother reading every book when it comes to series. I have a bit of a poor attention span for that kind of thing and generally get tired of the scenario and the characters after book one. However ..... I can't wait for World After! Angelfall was just so lively, different and full of fabulous twists that I really can't wait to find out what scrapes Penryn and the gang will find themselves in next time! Wheeee!