In this follow-up to “The Summoning,” the first book in the Darkest Powers trilogy, “New York Times”-bestselling author Armstrong continues the thrilling adventures of a teenage necromancer and her supernatural friends.
My Thoughts (May Contain Spoilers)
I really, really liked this book. The Awakening, the 2nd book in the Darkest Powers series by Kelley Armstrong, continues where it left off in the first book, The Summoning.
When I had finished reading The Summoning, I felt like I had been ripped off. Ever since the Twilight Saga came out, writers are writing young adult fiction. This is all good, but since the Twilight Saga was a trilogy, people feel like they have to write their own sagas and trilogies (or sometimes, as in the House of Night books, a whole set of TWELVE books). Again, this is all fine and good, but writers have to remember that at the end of each Twilight Saga book there was closure. A new idea was introduced at the beginning of each book and that was dealt with accordingly leaving the reader with a sense of finality by the end of the book.
With these new sagas, authors are trying to lure readers into reading the next book by leaving us with a cliffhanger. Cliffhangers are good, but authors have to realize that we, the readers, also want something to happen in a book as well. Not just plans and character development, but action, a climax, and, again, that sense of finality. When I read The Summoning, I didn’t feel this. I was upset. But I was also curious about the next book – would it also just be more of the same, without any closure? Or would Armstrong give us something we want?
The Awakening opens up at the institute Chloe, Victoria, and Rachelle were taken to after they tried to escape Lyle House, having been tricked by Chloe’s Aunt Lauren. Immediately, Chloe’s goal is to get out – to get away from these so-called doctors who were trying to make her “better.” It comes easy to Chloe, but not as easy as she would have liked. Having managed to hack into Dr. Davidoff’s computer (with help from a ghost we’re sure to meet in the next installment), Chloe learns the fate of those like her – if they show no sign of improvement, of figuring out how to control their powers, they are terminated. According to his records, though, Chloe and Derek are different – their fate unknown.
Chloe and Tori manage to escape the institution with help from Liz’s ghost and Tori’s spells – and no help from Tori’s mother, Mrs. Enright, who saw right through Chloe’s reasoning to help the Edison Group on their mission to find Derek and Simon. Tori and Chloe attempt to part ways at this point – Tori saying she’d rather go back to her father, who knows nothing of her powers. Here we get to see some emotion on this strong, and usually scheming, character – her dad ends up calling her mom, who comes to meet her instead, to bring her back to the Edison Group. Now, Tori has no choice but to stay with Chloe.
The girls take up shelter in a shed and wait for Derek and Simon (who left a very clever drawing of graffiti on a building for them). That night, Chloe manages to raise the soul of a dead bat, turning it into a zombie bat. While at first I thought this was a useless part of information, if showed the reader one thing – Chloe needs to know how her powers work and how to control them.
Eventually Derek and Simon show up and the four of them set off to find a friend of the boys’ father, Andrew, who can help them get Rachelle and Aunt Lauren out of the institution. Their journey is met with plenty of adventures, from Chloe accidentally creating another zombie while dreaming to Chloe and Derek meeting more werewolves. The action is never-ending throughout this novel, which is great for the reader – it makes for a real page-turner. Tori is her usual self, but throughout the book her and Chloe get to like each other slightly more. Dereck learns to control his emotions around Chloe, and to tolerate Tori.
There seems to be a hint of romance in this book and it reminds me of the Edward/Jacob issue in Twilight – will readers go for Simon? Or will they turn towards Derek? Throughout the book, Simon is the one who is quieter, more like Chloe, and is always thinking that Derek won’t know how to control his emotions. Derek, on the other hand, shares many moments with Chloe – his second encounter with turning into a werewolf, being one big one – and gets more personal with her, sharing stories of his childhood. Chloe starts to feel a “funny feeling” in her stomach when she’s around Derek – something that never comes into fruition in this book, but romance-lovers will probably jump at the chance to see who Chloe picks in the third book.
By the end of the book, they are found by the Edison Group again, and are trying to escape. The four managed to find Andrews house, but it was abandoned – similar to when Simon and Derek’s dad left suddenly when they were younger. They manage to escape, again, from the Edison Group, but only with the help of Andrew – the Edison Group’s one hostage – who takes off with the EG’s van to rescue our main characters.
We are left with a cliffhanger, but also a sense of resolution – the group found Andrew – and now Armstrong has set up the premise for the next instalment: Get back to the institution and rescue Rachelle and Aunt Lauren from their evil clutches. And will there be any development in the love triangle in the next book? We’ll have to wait and find out!