Waking the Witch (Women of the Otherworld) by Kelley Armstrong

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Waking the Witch (Women of the Otherworld) by Kelley Armstrong

Category: Fantasy
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Loralei Haylock
Reviewed by Loralei Haylock
Summary: Compelling characters, fast pace, great action and just a sprinkling of romance, Kelley Armstrong delivers yet another fantastic book in her Women of the Otherworld series. Perfect summer reading.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 336 Date: July 2010
Publisher: Orbit
ISBN: 978-1841498058

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Tired of doing the legwork for Paige and Lucas, Savannah Levine – powerful witch/sorcerer with half-demon blood – is glad to finally get the chance to go it alone. For the week. But what started as a babysitting gig soon progresses to a full blown case for the temporary head of Cortez-Winterbourne Investigations.

When Jesse Aanes, a friend of the company, brings Savannah's attention to a series of mysterious murders with ritualistic cult influences, she knows she has to investigate. Chances are it's just a human trying to be satanic, but when murder investigations get mixed with black rituals, fake or not, supernaturals get edgy. It wouldn't do to have their carefully hidden existence exposed and face the Witch Hunts all over again.

As Savannah investigates, she soon finds there is more going on in Columbus than meets the eye. Is she tracking a murderer? Or is she about to become the next victim?

Ah, Savannah, I remember you when you were a precocious twelve-year-old. Armstrong's latest instalment off the Women of the Otherworld series sees Savannah all grown up and branching out on her own. For long time readers of the series, it comes with a certain sense of pride – this is a character we've seen grow up, it's almost like we had a part to play in her development. For new readers, Savannah makes a sassy, fiery character perfect for introducing them to the series.

The characterisation is great. One of the many reasons Savannah is such a compelling character is her conflicting heritage. She was born to a black witch, but raised by Paige and Lucas, who both have a very strong moral compass. Throughout the novel Savannah battles with her conflicting inner voices – the ones of her mother's friends and her guardians – as she struggles to make the right decisions. It's pitched absolutely perfectly and lends a necessary realism to Savannah, who could so easily have been an irritatingly all-powerful character.

As always, the pacing is great, the action even better and there is a sprinkling of romance throughout. There are plenty of clues for the observant reader to spot, but nothing that gives away the big ending, which is my pet hate in crime stories. Armstrong deftly keeps you guessing with Savannah right to the final reveal.

One thing that surprised me about this book is the almost lack of paranormal goings on. Yes, Savannah uses her powers for breaking and entering, and a fair few of the characters have some sort of supernatural leaning, but for the most part this is a murder mystery story that wouldn't have felt out of place in real life. Armstrong usually balances the supernatural and the human intrigue in her stories, but this one did feel a bit spare at times, and could go pages without any reference to the supernatural. While an established reader wouldn't see any issue with this, I can see how this might be a bit grating for a new reader who might have expected something else.

Overall, a great addition to the series and a perfect bit of summer reading for the urban fantasy fan. Highly recommended.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.

Those new to the series should definitely check out the previous instalments. Fans of Urban Fantasy might enjoy the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs.

Buy Waking the Witch (Women of the Otherworld) by Kelley Armstrong at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Waking the Witch (Women of the Otherworld) by Kelley Armstrong at Amazon.co.uk.

Buy Waking the Witch (Women of the Otherworld) by Kelley Armstrong at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Waking the Witch (Women of the Otherworld) by Kelley Armstrong at Amazon.com.


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