Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Awakening by Kelley Armstrong - YA review

click on cover for excerpt link
The Awakening
Kelley Armstrong
young adult
Dark Powers #2

Cover - I like the covers to this series.  It's simple, and yet dramatic enough to get your attention.  In the first novel, the pendant is a different cover.  This has some meaning, though at first it isn't clear what.  It becomes clear later. 

I've always enjoyed the Women of the Otherworld novels by Kelley Armstrong.  So when I found she was writing a YA series (she was one of the first adult UF writers to delve into the YA market) I knew I was going to give at least the first novel in the series a try.  I did, I read The Summoning when it first came out in 2008, and I enjoyed it enough to buy the sequel when it was released.  Then of course, it languished on my bookshelf.  I then bought the third in the series, and yet I STILL didn't read it.  Finally, a blogger had this new meme out called "Why Haven't I Read You?", so I took part one week, using The Awakening.  And after taking the time to transcribe some of the first page in my post, I thought - man, I really ought to read this.  So when I finished the book I was reading, I went ahead and read The Awakening.  Then I went right into the third novel - The Reckoning.  Of course, now I want to grab the next trilogy in this setting - because, Kelley Armstrong can write a young adult novel that keeps even an older woman like me interested.  That's sayin' a lot. 

In The Awakening, Chloe and her friends (Derek, Simon, and Tori) have escaped the halfway house they were running away from, only to be caught again.  Chloe and Tori became separated from Simon and Derek, were captured and when The Awakening opens, they are being held in a secret facility.  The Doc from the halfway house is playing Mr. Nice, trying to get Chloe to trust him.  Tori's mom is full of hate, even toward her own daughter.
Luckily for Chloe, she has the help of Liz, the ghost of her roommate from the first book.  Liz still has to come to terms with being undead, but is learning how to function as a ghost.

There's a problem.  The docs have found Derek's backpack, with his insulin.  They're trying to get Tori and Chloe to give them info on where the rendezvouz site is.  On top of being pressured to give the boys up, Chloe is meeting some other ghosts in the facility.

The Awakening is the story of how Chloe and Tori end up going with the evil doctors to look for a rendezvous, how they end up escaping their clutches and meet up with the boys.  From there, they have to avoid being recaptured and try to make it to the home of an old family friend of Derek and Simon's father.  This is their hope for safety and help finding their missing dad.

The four of them have to get along - Tori has always been hard to live with, or even to spend more than a few minutes with.  The boys have no loyalty at all to her, but they let her come along because Chloe insists.

This is a fun read, with plenty of suspense and some dangerous moments the kids endure.  The narration is great, with my only issue being the occasional words that I really don't think a teen would use - some of the phrasing is too much like an uber-edutcated adult, nothing I would expect a 15 or 16 year old to be thinking or saying.  Happily for me, this was infrequent, because that is the kind of thing that will yank me right out of a story.  I'll be FEELIN' the story, in the book, completely engrossed, and the wrong turn of phrase, something that doesn't match the characters will jar me right out of it.

Bottom line, though, is that when the book is finished, I ended up with a good feeling of having read a pretty good book, and wanting to read more.

One of the things I like about this book, is that while we don't see any of the characters from the Women of the Otherworld series in the novels, we're still in the same world.  It's not common knowledge that werewolves, demons or magic users exist; teens that are exhibiting signs of magical ability or were abilities are taken by this particular group, convinced they have a mental illness and studied...with the hint of a dangerous future.

This young adult series is another facet of Armstrongs Women of the Otherworld.


  1. Isn't it wonderful when you find a new book or series by an author you adore? I'm glad you enjoyed this so much! :)

    1. Hells yeah. When I get some extra $$, I'm going to buy the other trilogy in her YA series. I'm not a huge YA fan, but so far, I've read some pretty interesting YA. So maybe It's okay, after all, ;). JK - I've been a fan of CERTAIN YA authors, but not YA in general. Bein' older and all. :)