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The Awakening (Darkest Powers 2) by Kelley Armstrong

We left poor Chloe Saunders just as she'd been taken captive by the rather sinister Edison Group. She'd only just escaped their clutches, too. And that was after she'd only just discovered that she's not a disturbed teenager, but an immensely powerful necromancer, capable of summoning ghosts and raising the dead. She's in good company; fellow captives Rae (half-demon) and Tori (witch) also have supernatural powers. Still free are Derek (werewolf) and Simon (sorcerer).

The Awakening (Darkest Powers 2) by Kelley Armstrong

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Category: Teens
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: Second instalment of Armstrong's teen trilogy which brings the Women of the Otherword universe to young adults. It's just what you'd expect: pacy, with magic, fights, chases and a sprinkling of love interest. A little light for the serious reader, but fans will love it.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 368 Date: May 2009
Publisher: Orbit
ISBN: 1841497118

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Thankfully, Chloe is as resourceful and determined as she is supernatural, and - after a quick detour into hacking the Edison Group's computers and finding they've tried to genetically manipulate her powers - she soon escapes to join Derek and Simon on the run, dragging the spoiled and temperemental Tori with her.

I had a minor moan about The Summoning, the first in this trilogy, because it took a little while to get going. I also said I thought the next two books wouldn't fall into that trap. I was right. Armstrong hits the ground running in The Awakening, and she doesn't let up until the very last page. It's much more familiar territory for her and we are treated to as many vividly-written chases and fights as we get in her adult novels from this fantasyverse. The book is much better for it and I enjoyed it immensely.

The coming-of-age metaphor is a necessity for any supernatural book featuring teenaged protagonists and Armstrong blends it in cleverly here. There's a subtle love triangle going on between Chloe, Derek and Simon, and of course it's all unspoken and all illustrated by their various powers, which are magnified both by the Edison Group's genetic meddling and their own, very human, transition from child to adult.

I like Kelley Armstrong. She's not pretentious. What you see is what you get. And what you see is energetic, plot-driven fiction with efficient and well thought worldbuilding that never tips over into the geeky. She has a great many fans out there, my son is one of them, and you can see why. She has an easy and relaxing style, her readers identify with her characters right from the get-go, and she knows how to make you turn the page. You just can't knock it.

My thanks to the nice people at Orbit for sending the book.

The last living (teen and British) werewolf is having a torrid time in Changeling by Steve Feasey. If they prefer all things bitey, they might like to look at The Last Days by Scott Westerfeld.

Booklists.jpg The Awakening (Darkest Powers 2) by Kelley Armstrong is in the Top Ten Books To Drag The Kids Away From Computer Games For Ten Minutes At Least.

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