World After

by Susan Ee

Cover Beauty Score: 6 out of 10
Goodreads Score: 4 out of 5

Plot Blurb: Picks back up on the story of Penryn Young as she makes her way through post-apocolyptic San Francisco. After being kidnapped in the first book, Penryn's little sister has been experimented on and cut into pieces and sewn back together as some kind of super freak awesome monster thing. When her Frankensteinian little sister is rejected by the survivors of the camp where they find themselves, she runs away and Prenryn once again has to run across the state to find her. Of course, she also has her eyes on the lookout for her hunky archangel boy toy, Raffe, who still thinks she is dead from the end of the first book. Through all of this, they get tangled up in angel bureaucracy and game play, while finding out what the nefarious angels are really up to.

My Reaction: I loved the story. I did, I really did. Most of my love, however, I felt came from the first book and my loyalty to that one. I felt like the book was a bit overly cheesy at points, but that worked when the two main love interests were together. In World After, we find Penryn alone for a good 75% of the book. I mean, she's lame in a good way, but it only works as entertaining writing when she's bouncing that shit off of Raffe. Up until the point they are reunited, I really felt kind of bored with the story. I flew through the pages, knowing how good it would be once they were back in scenes together. And once that happened, it did not disappoint! Ee really has a way of writing their dialogue that captures the reader and lets them fall into the realistic banter of a young couple falling in love over mutually sadistic sarcasm.

I did enjoy the introduction of the sword as a character, but Pookey-Bear? Really? No. That didn't work. We got to see a bit of Raffe's past, which honestly I felt should have filled up the pages of this one. I understand that the reuniting of Penryn and Raffe was a major climactic thing, but it didn't have to serve as the major story arch of this book. In my humble opinion, we should have gotten that out of the way in the beginning-ish and then found something more important to work towards. Created some tension in the relationship... how fabulous would that have been?

I'd said it with the first one, and I'll say it again, though. How refreshing to not have a stupid triangle. Not all teen love stories need a girl being fought over by two hot guys. One is quite enough.

And Penryn was justifiably badass again. Thanks for a tough heroine that doesn't take shit.

So OVERALL? I'm glad I bought it hard copy for my library, but was expecting a little bit more. Maybe the next book will be just what I'm looking for and World After can be my convenient little stepping stone to that. In the meantime, I'm going to reflect on how many different stupid names she could have come up with other than pookey bear. I mean. Really?

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Reading leads to writing

Meg Cabot always makes me feel better.

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An existential predicament: to self publish or not?

So lately I've been weighing my options. After receiving another rejection that was my last hope really... it was the last agent that had initially requested the full manuscript. I really believe in this book. I really do. It took a lot of work to go from my first novel to the one I just finished and I stand by it! You have to believe in your work and the validity of your writing... otherwise you might as well be flipping burgers at the local MacDonald's. Not that there's anything wrong with doing that. But it's not writing books for a living, is it?

Naturally reevaluating myself has led to the decision that I've been mulling over the past few days/weeks. Should I consider self publishing? There is this stigma, I feel, that clouds over the concept. As in, if I self publish won't I just be trying to validate my work myself? But if there's one thing I've gathered from the various rejection letters it's this; agents reject your work not because your writing is bad or the story sucks... but sometimes they just don't click with the piece.

That makes sense to me. There are plenty of novels that I acknowledge are well written and seem to have a good premise, but when I pick them up to read them I just don't get that thing. You know. You're a reader. That thing that connects you to a book. And what good would an agent be if they represented a writer whose writing they didn't CLICK with?

They'd be no good, I can guarantee that.

So if finding an agent is almost a game of chance in some instances, who's to say that my book wouldn't be loved by readers if it got out there? It's a gamble to self-publish, but it can pay off so much more if you find your audience. I think I could find an audience.

Writing is an exploration. Sometimes you have to take paths you once thought you would never consider. But is self publishing such a bad thing in a world that is leaning more towards digital publishing everyday? I don't need huge printing machines to get my work to the public. Just my amazon account and a website. And maybe a blog.

Oh, wait. I already have one of those.

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Artistically Angsty

I've never been one of those people who likes to flaunt their insecurities and their hurts... it's just not how my family operates. We have to be near dying to be taken to the hospital, and God forbid you ask any of us to talk about our feelings. But here I go. About to launch myself into a pity party post. Let's just think of it as a cathartic release of pent-up emotion.

I haven't written anything new in the past however long because I feel a blank inside. After receiving some crippling rejections (two in a row that had actually requested the manuscript and gave me false hope... DEVILS!), it's quite difficult to pull yourself out of your artistic funk.

Yes. I'm an artist. And in agreeing that I'm an artist, I also have to acknowledge the fact that occasionally (alright more than occasionally) we get moody. More than moody... artistically angsty would be the better term. It's difficult to immerse yourself in a career that is so personal and steeped in self-worth. My books are my babies. I pour my heart and soul into those puppies (not to mention hours upon hours of Quasimodo-ing over my laptop). Is it my fault that I fall into a comatose like depression whenever it seems like nobody is willing to stick their neck out to represent me? How am I suppose to hold my head high and tell people I'm a writer if nobody will pay me five bucks for my book to prove that I can make money off of my love?

So I suppose this is my reentry back into the real world and the realization that I got rejected, sure. Did it hurt? Absofuckinglutely. Will I keep writing? I have to. This is what I want to do with my life... I staked 20,000 in student loans on that bet and by God, I'm going to make it happen.

I've decided to use this opportunity to experiment in a few different genres. Perhaps I need an influx of freshness to invigorate myself for my future. Who knows... I could be the next Stephanie Myers... wait... nobody really wants that criticism. Let's try for the next Orson Scott Card. Except, you know, with more romance and gooey stuff.

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