End of Days (Penryn and the End of Days, #3) by Susan Ee
Published by Skyscape on May 12, 2015
Genres: young adult paranormal, urban fantasy, romance, post-apocalyptic
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I’ve said before that, in general, the third book a trilogy is almost always guaranteed to disappoint me. I don’t really know why, but it’s a really bad curse, because it always soils my opinion of the series overall, especially if the first two books were good.
And this might be the most disappointing trilogy finale I’ve read in a while. So disappointing that, though I read this book sometime last year, I’m only just rating it now, because I didn’t have the heart to rate it earlier.
The first two books in this series were fantastic. They were new, but fun, featuring a protagonist who was strong and feminine, determined and vulnerable. And that’s something we see so little of in YA paranormal literature. (Also, the romance gave me all the feels, and wasn’t abusive or misogynistic in any way, which, unfortunately, is also a trend in YA paranormal.) So, of course, I was expecting something fantastic.
But this book took some of the things that made it stellar, and unraveled them.
Let’s start with Penryn’s character. Remember how I’ve said in previous reviews that, while she had her girly moments (which are totally normal and, um, part of being a girl) she never let them distract her from her goals?
Well, here, she’s a pile of mush. Everything is Raffe, Raffe, Raffe. And while I like Raffe, Penryn’s never been the time of girl to moon over him so constantly. So why did that change? It makes her look wimpy and overly emotional, and it really hurt my respect for her legitimacy both as a character in general and as a “strong” female character. This was probably my least favorite aspect of the book.
Another thing I didn’t like was the ending. From the beginning, this series has told us that angel-human romances are forbidden, that Raffe will have to return to Heaven eventually, and that what they have won’t last because of this. So, of course, I was terrified about what would happen in End of Days, because what went down here would permanently affect or maybe even end their relationship. Oh, yeah, and determine the fate of mankind. (You can tell what my priorities are, can’t you?)
But I felt the ending was a big cop-out. It was too convenient. Certain plot threads just…vanished all of the sudden when the main conflict was resolved, which made the whole thing feel anticlimactic and contrived. (I’m trying to say as little as I can here so I don’t accidentally spoil someone.)
And that’s disappointing, because this series started out with such a bang, such a win, and now it’s concluded with a bit of a whimper.
I honestly wish I wasn’t saying that. It makes me feel hollow inside. Because, while I still love the first two books, I can no longer say I love this series as a whole.
Some might see three stars as “it was okay.” But, keep in mind that, due to the quality of this book’s predecessors, for me, these three stars actually mean something other than “just okay.” They mean “disappointing.”