Friday, June 4, 2010

CBR Book#44: The Awakening by Kelley Armstrong

As I mentioned in my review of Blood Lite, I enjoyed Kelley Armstrong's short story "The Ungrateful Dead". So, while browsing the library I wandered over to the young adult section and looked for her name. I found the second novel in her Darkest Powers series, The Awakening. While it would have been nice to read the first novel in the series, Armstrong did an admirable job of giving background where needed, so I feel that I didn't miss anything that would have affected my enjoyment.

Chloe is a fifteen year old girl who has recently learned that she is a necromancer. For those of you that don't know what that is, a necromancer is someone who can raise the dead and command them. Like Dr. Orpheus in Venture Bros., except with less velour. As with most young adult novels that have supernatural powers lurking in them, the surge of uncontrollable powers are accompanied by puberty. So it is for Chloe. She is learning how to control her powers. And running from the shady Edison Group.

Chloe is joined by teen werewolf Derek. He is struggling with half-changes into his wolf form and his supernatural strength that he hasn't yet learned to harness. Derek broke a boy's back while they were fighting and he threw the boy. So, of course, Derek is moody, dark, and gruff. He joins Chloe on the run from the Edison Group, along with his brother Simon. Simon is a witch/warlock with a better attitude than his brother. It seems that Simon has a crush on Chloe. Derek and Simon are trying to figure out where their father, Kit, disappeared to.

The last member of the group is Tori, another witch. She has a bad attitude and Armstrong makes her highly annoying by having her throw out sarcastic, but less than witty, barbs constantly. She is also spoiled and forever doing the opposite of what she's told. Her mother is a powerful witch and member of the Edison Group that the teens are running from. The book follows Chloe as she figures out the conspiracy of the Edison Group, deals with her new-found powers, and attempts to keep the group together.

Armstrong has made something easy to read, but, at least for me, less accessible to adults than the Twilight novels (SHUT UP). This novel screams pre-teen over and over again, with parental issues, weird bodily and emotional changes, and crushes that can barely be called that. I may well read the third book, but that's mostly to see where the story goes and whether Armstrong can make things more compelling. The mystery of the Edison Group is revealed quite early in the story and the bulk of the novel follows the kids as they run and hide from those chasing them. I look forward to reading other novels from Armstrong, possibly her Otherworld series.


  1. Some of Kelley Armstrong's Otherworld books are excellent, if you are a fan of paranormal fantasy (which, based on the many reviews for Charlaine Harris and Jim Butcher on your blog, I would assume you are). "Bitten" is her first Otherworld novel, and a very excellent, different take on werewolves. "Stolen", the sequel is good, but not as awesome as "Bitten". "Dime Store Magic", dealing with witches and magic is also awesome, and in "Industial Magic", the characters from Armstrong's werewolf books and witch books meet up. I would say that all of her books up to book 7, "No Humans Involved", are entertaining and good reads. After that, I sort of lost interest, and I have yet to check out her YA books in the same universe.

  2. Thanks for the tips. I wasn't sure which of Armstrong's Otherworld books to start with or read at all. I'll definitely give them a go.