The Awakening, by Kelley Armstrong

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Publication date – April 28, 2009

Summary: (Taken from GoodReads) If you had met me a few weeks ago, you probably would have described me as an average teenage girl—someone normal. Now my life has changed forever and I’m as far away from normal as it gets. A living science experiment—not only can I see ghosts, but I was genetically altered by a sinister organization called the Edison Group. What does that mean? For starters, I’m a teenage necromancer whose powers are out of control; I raise the dead without even trying. Trust me, that is not a power you want to have. Ever.

Now I’m running for my life with three of my supernatural friends—a charming sorcerer, a cynical werewolf, and a disgruntled witch—and we have to find someone who can help us before the Edison Group finds us first. Or die trying.

Thoughts: I read the first book in this series last year, and ended up rereading it again this year so that I could bring myself back up to speed on the story before ploughing ahead with the continuation.

I enjoyed The Awakening as much as The Summoning. Possibly more, since I can safely say that my book tastes have refined a little from last year.

I’m loving this series. I’m loving the way Kelley Armstrong writes. She’s got creativity, and she’s got a real flair for making realistic characters who are enjoyable to read about. I particularly love that for all there’s obvious romantic hinting going on in the book, Chloe really doesn’t seem to care. Love that.

Why? Let’s recap. Chloe’s 15, has only recently found out that she can talk to spirits and sometimes slam them back into their decomposing bodies without meaning to. She’s on the run for an organization who tickered with her genetics in utero and who now want to study her, and who have killed people who didn’t quite work out in the past. People have shot at her! Romance? Who’s got time for considering local males as potential dating prospects when you’re running for your life and don’t know who to trust?

Seriously. This is how real people behave, but you wouldn’t know it from a lot of YA urban fantasy these days. The trend is to have your lead female see a slightly older male from a distance, feel stirrings in her heart that she can’t explain, then fall head-over-heels in love with him. He feels the same way, of course, and can’t deny the powerful attraction to her. They skip dating, courtship, the whole shebang, and just go to being nauseatingly and unrealistically in love, and their feelings for each other often completely overshadow the fact that their lives are in danger and the world as they knew it is crumbling around them.

Nuh-uh. It doesn’t happen that way. Not in the real world. Not to the majority of well-adjusted people. And thankfully, Kelley Armstrong seems to recognise this. A situation involving magic powers and secret organizations out to get you isn’t the set-up for mushy romance. It’s the set-up for HOLY CRAP RUN FOR MY LIFE, which is exactly what Chloe’s doing.

I have to admit, though, that there are a few drawbacks to the trilogy, the main one being that it could probably have been tightened to a duology quite simply. There are plenty of slower dialogue-heavy scenes that, while they’re interesting for character development and realistic in the way that they’re about things that people do talk about, are not always needed. I like my characters developped, but not to the point where they’re just inflating the story.

That being said, however, I have to also admit that these books are written so smoothly that you don’t realise just how far you’ve come in turning the pages. The character-driven sections like that do a fair amount to actually pull you further along, to give you a bit of a break from all the fear and action and keep you turning pages until you look up in surprise because you’re on the past chapter and you don’t know where all the time went.

I can’t say for certain that if the book was condensed a little that the same effect would be there. I suspect it would, just in a different way, since the high-action scenes certainly keep you reading too.

I’m looking forward to seeing what lies at the end of the trilogy, to seeing all the loose ends tied up. Definitely worth its 5-teacup rating – fans of urban fantasy definitely need to get their hands on this series!

2 comments on “The Awakening, by Kelley Armstrong

  1. I loved this trilogy! The third book (The Reckoning) is the best, so you are in for a treat. Armstrong has another one YA coming out soon. It's called The Gathering. I'm really looking forward to it.

  2. This is one of my favourite series as well. I agree that Kelley makes the romance second place to life threatening situations – as it should! Good review. :)

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