Tagged: darkest powers trilogy

The Reckoning by Kelley Armstrong

(Cover picture courtesy of Atom Books.)

My name is Chloe Saunders.  I’m fifteen, and I would love to be normal.

But normal is one thing I’m not.

To start with, I’m having these feelings for a certain antisocial werewolf and his sweet-tempered brother—who just happens to be a sorcerer—but, between you and me, I’m leaning toward the werewolf.

Not normal.

My friends and I are also on the run from an evil corporation that wants to get rid of us—permanently.

Definitely not normal.

And finally, I’m a genetically altered necromancer who can raise the dead, rotting corpses and all, without even trying.

As far away from normal as it gets.

Just like The Hunger Games, I wish The Summoning had been a stand-alone novel.  It wasn’t, so I was stuck reading The Reckoning, a terrible end to what had potential to be an amazing series.  Alas, Kelley Armstrong did not take the series to the next level.

My main problem is the cliché factor.  Necromancers are definitely new in the YA scene as they don’t have that vampire appeal, but that’s not what I have a problem with.  But the rest of the book?  Well, it’s pretty cliché.  Like a lot of YA books, it involves a huge love triangle, but for whatever reason it just doesn’t work.  Some books can pull off love triangles very well, but this is not one of those books.  It really ends up making Chloe into a Mary Sue, which is kind of is anyway, even without the love triangle.  Not only are the character clichéd, but the whole evil-corporation-genetically-engineers-people-then-wants-to-kill-them premise is old and utterly predictable.

The plot of The Reckoning just drags on and on, as if Kelley Armstrong suddenly had the urge to describe all of the corpses Chloe raises in mind-numbing detail.  I have a pretty strong stomach when it comes to gore (or else I would never, ever look up things like this for fun), but I did notice my appetite disappeared after reading this book.  This is a YA book, but it is not for the sensitive.

I give this book 2/5 stars.

Amazon     Barnes and Noble

The Awakening by Kelley Armstrong

(Cover picture courtesy of Realm of Words.)

If you had met me a few weeks ago, you probably would have described me as an average teenage girl—someone normal.  Now my life has changed forever and I’m as far away from normal as it gets.  A living science experiment—not only can I see ghosts, but I was genetically altered by a sinister organization called the Edison Group.  What does that mean?  For starters, I’m a teenage necromancer whose powers are out of control: I raise the dead without even trying.  Trust me, that is not a power you want to have.  Ever.

Now I’m running for my life with three of my supernatural friends—a charming sorcerer, a cynical werewolf, and a disgruntled witch—and we have to find someone who can help us before the Edison Group finds us first.  Or die trying.

Unlike City of Ashes, The Awakening suffers from Book Two Disease, a terrible affliction known to cause frustration, disgust, boredom, and in rare cases, complete alienation.  In my case it was a sense of boredom instead of complete alienation, but second books should improve upon the original story, not make readers question their judgment of the first book.

We learn a little bit more about Derek and Simon’s past, the mysterious Edison Group and why Chloe is such a powerful necromancer at such a young age.  But most of the book revolves around Derek, Simon, Chloe and Tori trying to find a safe place from the Edison Group.  The plot is not nearly as exciting as the first book simply because it puts a lot of emphasis (perhaps too much) on the inter-character relationships.  Like a lot of YA fiction, it revolves around a love triangle.  Some books can pull off a love triangle very well, but this is not one of them.  It just ends up feeling like Chloe is a Mary Sue that every guy she meets falls in love with.

I wish the second book in the Darkest Powers trilogy could have been better because it had a lot of potential.  Sadly, Kelley Armstrong doesn’t take it to the next level and it made me very reluctant to read the third book.  The Awakening is not a bad book on its own, but in the context of the series, it is not a good book.

I give this book 2/5 stars.

Amazon     Barnes and Noble

The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong

(Cover picture courtesy of In Between Writing and Reading.)

My name is Chloe Saunders and my life will never be the same again.

All I wanted was to make friends, meet boys and keep on being ordinary.  I don’t even know what that means anymore.  It all started on the day that I saw my first ghost—and the ghost saw me.

Now there are ghosts everywhere and they won’t leave me alone.  To top it all off, I somehow got myself locked up in Lyle House, a “special home” for troubled teens.  Yet the home isn’t what it seems.  Don’t tell anyone, but I think there might be more to my classmates than meets the eye.  The question is, whose side are they on?  It’s up to me to figure out the dangerous secrets behind Lyle House…before its skeletons come back to haunt me.

Do you like urban fantasy but are sick of all the clichés that usually come with it?  Well, have I got the book for you!

The Summoning starts out as a typical urban fantasy novel: the protagonist, Chloe, seeing something no one else can see.  But soon the plot twists and Chloe ends up in a group home where all is not as it seems.  When Chloe learns the truth about Lyle House, she decides to act, but is betrayed by someone she thought was her friend.

Chloe is a realistic and believable character with flaws that will help readers identify with her.  She can be kind and caring, but also selfish and petty.  It is these seemingly contradictory characteristics that make her such a complex, believable character, which is what Kelley Armstrong was going for.

The only thing I think fell short was the fact that there was never really an adequate explanation for the source of Chloe’s powers.  It may just be me, but I like it when writers explain the source of magic in their books.  It makes the world-building seem a bit more complete.  What do you think?  Do you like it when writers explain magic to you?

I give this book 4/5 stars.

Amazon     Barnes and Noble