cover- of all the other covers in this series, this is the ONLY one that even looks like a horror or urban fantasy. There is Dru, looking seriously pissed off and focused. There is that face in the background - and it's NOT a hollywood pretty boy face, nope - this is a horror face. And then there's the colors and misty stuff, or shadows....or swirly things representing the horror aspects of the story. FINALLY - the cover matches the genre of the books. FINALLY. so, ummm - good cover.
Young Adult is not my normal reading material. Having said that, there ARE some young adult books or authors that I follow. (J.A. Campbell....and ....um.....yeah - that's pretty much it). The other YA books that I've read, I've read because they happen to be written by authors that I already follow from fantasy or UF genre. Like Terry Pratchett's four book series featuring Tiffany Aching, or Lilith Saintcrow's Strange Angel series - writing under the Lili St. Crow name. There's a few more books here and there that I've read - Devin O'Branagan and Kelley Armstrong - although Armstrong falls under the "they're a writer I like to read, so I'll read YA books by them too". So in this rather rambling way, I'm saying that the only reason I even picked up the first book in the series was because I enjoy Lilith Saintcrow's other UF series - it certainly wasn't the COVER that made me want to read the series. If I hadn't already been exposed to the author, I wouldn't have even looked twice at the series because the covers looked like the average teen YA romance novels. Not my cuppa tea.
Reckoning is the final novel in the Strange Angels series. I have enjoyed each of the novels. I loved they way Dru found a new hardened resolve to take care of her self and her friends. Her character had been through so much, that she'd been dealing with things as they came along, kind of with blinders on - even so her character showed an amazing strength of character throughout the series, and through this final book. I liked that even though she didn't have a normal childhood, she didn't seem to whine about it - she acknowledged her differences from other teens and just went on with things. I also liked the way the author had Dru drawing strength from her gran's and father's voices when she needed their support the most. Dru seems to have a bit more than the "tetch" - she's more than a dhampir. She seems to have the ability to see or hear ghosts - which has helped her through out all her challenges.
In the last book - Dru has rescued one of her friends, and together with Graves and Ash (the broken werewolf) she escapes not only the vampires but leaves the order, not being sure just how safe she really is there. Even since she was brought under their protection (at the end of book one) it seems that she's been in even more danger than before. So now Dru has left everyone else behind and escapes to the place she feels the safest - only that little bit of a break doesn't last long.
Graves is behaving strangely - he doesn't quite seem himself. Dru is also dealing with her changing relationship with Graves, her insecurities and feelings about Christophe (the only part of the series I didn't quite like - the inevitable love trianglep-seems to be a requirement in all YA urban fantasies, and most adult UF - please, publishers, we really don't require this as readers. At least I don't) and her changing abilities as a blooming dhampir - or svetocha. The respite she finds doesn't last long, she finds herself almost succumbing to a darker nature of herself, they're attacked once again and she's found before she's quite ready to be found by the order. Things go downhill for Dru and her friends from then on - until it seems that everyone is captured and Dru ends up fighting one last fight with her archenemy - Sergei.
The dialogue between Dru and Graves was great - awkward at times, bitchy and angry at other times, and sweet in those rare instances (kind of like real life - y'know?). Ash - finally coming around, being able to shift back to boy form is slowly regaining his language skills, but it's almost like dealing with a four year old in a teens' ultra strong body. I think that St. Crow does a great job with switching back and forth between speech styles with all the different characters - the older dhampir have a definite way of formally speaking, the weres sound just like young men tend to sound and I think that Dru sounds just like a tough tom-boyish girl who's spent her formative years riding around with a monster-fighting father and acquaintances would sound. And whe Dru gets closer to her Gran's old place, her speech takes on the dialects and sounds of the Appalachian dwellers. Great job with dialog - this is very important when writing a book - your characters should sound their age, and should reflect where they grew up or came from.
There was plenty of action - lots of fighting, running, adventure and frights for Dru. She even ends up by herself - something she's been afraid of for a long time - without quite saying so. Even so, she perseveres and her old training takes over.
Reckoning is a kickass ending to a kickass series. There is a satisfying ending - not quite a Happy Ever After - this author doesn't do Happily Ever After endings. She does possibilities in the future type of endings. Enjoyed the whole ride and I read in Lilith Saintcrow's blog that she's already planning or working on a new YA series - I think she's working on both a YA series and another adult UF series, having just released the final Jill Kismet novel also. I'm looking forward to what she comes up with next - what ever she writes, I'm pretty sure it's going to feature a strong smart heroine with horrific problems to over come.
If you have not read any of Saintcrow's/St.Crow's work, you are missing out on some almost lyrical writing - very descriptive. The words bring you into the scene, you can almost smell what the characters smell, hear what they hear while running or fighting, feel what they feel. St. Crow has a way that pulls me right into what's happening in the novel, and I love the way she's constantly describing the action along with the atmospheric details - all the senses are included in her writing in an interesting way. This isn't always successful with other writers, I've been bored with words from other writers who attempt this, but I've never been bored while reading a book by Lilith Saintcrow/Lili St. Crow. If you're waiting just for this one, go get it, you'll love it. If you haven't tried any of the series and like your heroines strong and a bit dark, your characters strong yet a bit flawed, you'll love this series.