Sunday, June 28, 2009

Review: The Awakening by Kelley Armstrong

Book Two of the Darkest Powers series

Tags: YA, paranormal, supernatural, action, werewolves, witches, necromancy

Rating: 4 out of 5


At the end of the first book in this series, THE SUMMONING, 15-year-old budding necromancer Chloe Saunders finds herself the prisoner of the well-meaning but dangerous Edison Group, a group of scientists and doctors who strive to make the lives of supernaturals like Chloe and her friends from Lyle House better via genetic modification. Unfortunately, if their experiments on the teens do not work out, then the supernatural is terminated.

Understanding that they are all in danger of being killed, Chloe and her Lyle House friends Tori, Simon, and Derek stage a great escape and head out to find the only man who might be able to help them. Alas, if only it were as easy as outrunning the heavily armed Edison Group! Several of the teens find their powers growing uncontrollably; Derek in particular must experience a painful transition as he grows into his werewolf identity.

Will the Lyle House kids find a way to take down the Edison Group before their own powers destroy them?


If THE SUMMONING was exposition, then THE AWAKENING is one hundred percent nonstop action! In this book, anything seems able to happen—enemies, mysterious powers, and scary situations ram the readers from all sides and every page. Additionally, Armstrong’s writing is straightforwardly simple, which adds to the feeling of constant danger.

It’s incredibly difficult to write an action-mystery novel without falling into character clichés, but thankfully, Chloe, Tori, Simon, and Derek all have distinct voices and behaviors. Their conversations are perhaps my favorite part about the book, because I had some issues with other parts. For example, most of the adults seemed to blend into one another seamlessly, without definition or personalities that stuck with me.

I was also disappointed with the whole “Chloe as damsel-in-distress” plot, which is a little too reminiscent of Bella’s helplessness in Twilight. I couldn’t even begin to count the number of times that Chloe’s cuteness, innocence, or helplessness was mentioned, but it was way more than I cared for. Tori, while portrayed as spoiled and irritating, may be right with her assessment of Chloe: she simply stands there and looks innocent, and people leap to rescue her.

On the other hand, I’m excited to see the buildups of more relationships, particular Chloe and Derek’s. The uncertainty of their status, of their feelings for one another, will keep readers coming back for more. And while the plot lacks intricacy and complexity, the DARKEST POWERS series will certainly appeal to fans of Stephenie Meyer and James Patterson.

Similar Authors
Stephenie Meyer
James Patterson
Cassandra Clare

Writing: 4/5
Characters: 4/5
Plot: 4/5
Want More? I need to know how it ends!

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5


  1. I've been meaning to read this series. Maybe the next time I'm at the library or at B&N.... Nice review!

    Mik @ I Am Nonfiction

  2. I read the Summoning and liked it, but thought there could have been more... well, plot. I'm looking forward to reading the Awakening when I get a chance. Thanks for reviewing!

  3. Nice review Steph. I have these, and should really get around to reading them. If you gave it 4/5, it must be good!

  4. My cousin loves JP, I think she must like this one. Thanks for the review, Steph!

  5. I still need to pick up the first book! I didn't realize how popular they are until I noticed they're on the NYT list (number 1, I think??) Anyway, I will have to pick them up this weekend (I'm going to the beach and need a few good books :)

  6. P.S. How have I not been following you yet?? *headslap*

    (I had you in my blogroll if that counts for anything :)

  7. Eeek, I just love the Awakening - great review!

  8. ( PS anyone reading this its kinda a spoiler so don't read it if you haven't read the book.) good reveiw, but the one thing i don't agree with is Chloe's helplessness. I think with twilight Bella seems to spend most of her time wallowing in self pity, thinking of edwards eyes, or putting herself directly in the path of danger and then screaming help until someone else risks their undead lives to save her. Chloe doesn't do that. She doesn't wallow in self - pity, most definitely does not spend all her time thinking of Derek's eyes, and although she does end up in the path of danger she does what she can to get herself out of it. I think it's unrealistic to assume that with the upbringing she's had ( money was never an issue, shes never been on the run, and the closest shes ever been to being in real danger is writing screenplays for horror movies)once on the run, she would suddenly develop mad kung - fu skills and the ability to fight her way out of a situation. She's five foot and probably less than a hundred pounds. Shes obviously going to be less capably of defending herself than someone like Derek - who is over six feet and weighs two - twenty. I agree with you assessment of the book entirely except for that point - i think it would have bugged me more if Chloe could beat up tow fully grown were - wolves singlehandedly than having to be saved by someone else once in a while. I think the book is great just the way it is.

  9. I read The Summoning and The Awakening. I wasn't impressed by either. The plot was too thin and up and down. Chloe was annoyingly helpless and Tori bothered me. The whole concept was a good one though. The institution was a marvelous idea and so was the group home. I wouldn't read it again though. You are a fantastic reviewer. I hope to readd more of your blogs soon!
    ~ Stevie

  10. Your reviews are fantastic! New follower via paperbackswap!

    Mandee @ compelledbywords.blogspot


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