May 16, 2013

REVIEW: The Awakening (The Darkest Powers #2)

The Awakening (The Darkest Powers #2), by Kelley Armstrong
Published April 28, 2009
Publisher:  HarperCollins
Format: audiobook - borrowed from the library
Genre:  Young Adult Paranormal
To Buy:  Amazon  * Barnes & Noble * Book Depository

Check out my review for The Summoning (The Darkest Powers #1).

Rating:  3 STARS

(From Goodreads) 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. I’m a living science experiment — not only can I see ghosts, but I was genetically altered by a sinister organization call 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.

I liken The Awakening to showing up to a big picnic with fried chicken and corn on the cob and homemade desserts aplenty, yet when you look at all that awesome food, you realize that all you wanted was steak and decide to go play corn hole instead. It's not that the food is bad - it's just not what you want.

The Awakening picks up right where The Summoning left off - with Chloe and Tori back in the custody of the baddies from The Edison Group that they had escaped from for a short time. After escaping from their clutches yet again, they, along with Simon and Derek, find themselves on the run trying to get to someone they can trust.

Chloe now knows that she is a necromancer. She also has an inkling of what she can do with her abilities. She learns that, not only can she talk to ghosts, but she can raise and control the dead. That is such an incredible power with such potential. Yet, for the length of the entire book, Chloe bemoans her "useless" power and stands around helplessly when trouble arises, waiting for one of the others with a more active power to save her.

If you've been reading this blog for even a short time, you will know that the one thing I need in a good book is a strong female main character. And, our little Chloe Saunders is anything but. She questions all her decisions, she timidly shies away from conflict, and refuses to tap into her power to help her friends because it makes her feel bad.

Despite her shortcomings, for a portion of the book, Chloe does exhibit some strength of character when she decides to help Derek with a big problem of his instead of remaining comfortable. That section of the book was the best part of the whole thing. We get a lot of insight into Derek and what makes him tick. He is, without a doubt, my favorite character in this series. And, Chloe makes some very mature decisions, too, that gave me hope for the future.

Most of The Awakening is spent in dirty warehouses and alleys. There isn't a lot of forward movement in the story. It does seem as if this is a bridging book, bringing the events of the first and the third book in the trilogy together. As such, there isn't much action or opportunities to see our characters' powers in action.

Yet, knowing this, and seeing the cracks in Chloe's benign personality, I have high hopes for the final book in the series. I look forward to seeing Chloe's relationship with Derek and with the rest of her friends develop.

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