The world as we know it ended six weeks ago, when hordes of angels came from the heavens, prompting the humans to panic and shoot their leader, Gabriel. The angels thus wreaked havoc upon the humans, forcing them into animal-like lives.Seventeen-year-old Penryn Young lives in this world with her schizophrenic mother and her wheelchair-bound little sister Paige. The night she wants to flee the gang-infested neighbourhood to search a safer place to live, she witnesses a fight between some angels, one of which gets his wings cut off in the process. The others leave, but not before abducting Paige. Desperate to find her sister, Penryn decides to pair up with the wounded angel, Raffe, whom she blackmails into helping her by withholding his wings. The two of them travel to San Francisco to the Aerie, the angels' stronghold.On the way, they witness strange murders involving cannibalism, and stumble into the camp of a rebel group led by the charismatic Obi. All the while, Penryn's mother, who was the only person present when Paige became paraplegic, who doesn't stop rambling about demons and who made Penryn learn all sorts of self-defense so whatever happened to Paige won't happen to her, stays close to them, unseen.This dystopian YA book series is the first work of Susan Ee. It was first vanity published but soon became so popular that it was handed over to professionals. So far, it consists of:
After the End: The second book is called World After for a reason.
All-Loving Hero: Penryn's little sister, Paige before being experimented on. She was a vegetarian before the apocalypse and only ate meat because Penryn insisted, and gives Beliel water despite being severely dehydrated herself.
Companion Cube: The angel swords, while sort of sentient, are basically this to their respective owners.
Council of Angels: There are higher and lower ranking angels, as well as fallen ones. The author explicitly stated she didn't want her angels to be strictly Christian, so there are no hints of any God in this book.
Creepy Child: The Nephilim Penryn encounters. And later on, her sister Paige.
Disappeared Dad: Penryn's father left because he could no longer cope with his mentally ill wife.
Downer Ending: Paige is recovered and can walk again, but now she is an inhuman monster feeding on people. Penryn is badly wounded and is brought back to Obi's camp. Raffe got wings sewn back on, only they aren't his, they're Beliel's bat-like wings, marking him as an outcast.
Dumb Muscle: When he says that every idiot would have caught them, Penryn dryly remarks that their captor Boden at least is right in that she and Raffe were caught by an idiot.
Good Wings, Evil Wings: While not good per se, feathered wings are those of actual angels, while angels fallen from grace have leathery batlike wings.
There is quite a variety of wing colors among the angels, but Raffe's are pure white.
Grey and Gray Morality: Penryn falls back on quite harsh, if desperate measures, to get to Paige, like brute force and blackmail. Many humans live as gangs, terrorizing, mugging, and killing others and trading with parts of angels. Others live as servants and courtesans to the angels. Most of the angels, however brutal and dangerous, don't even know why they were sent to Earth. That the humans shot their leader might be a motivation for their cruelty as well. There are also the Nephilim, unholy offspring of angels and humans. If the humans slept with the angels voluntarily is not clear.
It is also hinted at the apocryphal occasion when some angels fell in love with human women. Nephilim ensued.
Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Raffe acts aloof and belittling towards Penryn but towards the end, he does stupid things just to help her, up to and including risking his life at gunpoint to return her to her family.
Obfuscating Insanity: Not even Penryn knows how sane her mother is. If the demons and ghosts she keeps talking to are real or due to her paranoid schizophrenia remains unexplained.
In the second book, She certainly helped some people who were seemingly dead but actually just paralyzed to stay alive by making them look like part of a satanic ritual. No one wanted to touch them, while all the other victims got Buried Alive. There is also the pet tracker with the chips sewn into the starburst she sews on every single one of Penryn and Paige's pants "for protection".
Our Angels Are Different: They are stunningly beautiful, but arrogant and very dangerous humanoids. Plus, they are physically stronger than humans, have much lighter bodies, and have a heightened sense of sight, smell, and hearing.
She Cleans Up Nicely: To disguise herself as Raffe's consort to get into the aerie, Penryn dons a little red dress, strappy shoes, and makeup. Raffe is stunned for a moment when he first sees her like this.