Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Reckoning By Kelley Armstrong - Darkest Powers # 3 Book Review

Chloe Saunders is fifteen and would love to be normal. Unfortunately, Chloe happens to be a genetically engineered necromancer who can raise the dead without even trying. She and her equally gifted (or should that be 'cursed'?) friends are now running for their lives from the evil corporation that created them.

As if that's not enough, Chloe is struggling with her feelings for Simon, a sweet-tempered sorcerer, and his brother Derek, a not so sweet-tempered werewolf. And she has a horrible feeling she's leaning towards the werewolf...

Definitely not normal.

The Darkest Powers trilogy is definitely a trilogy for readers who are willing to overlook some flaws for great characterization. A watered-down plot is stretched over three books, and while the characters grow and develop and steer blessedly clear of so many YA clich├ęs, the plot is simple and, quite honestly, not enough to sustain an entire trilogy.

The Reckoning begins right where The Awakening left off, with Chloe and her friends in the supernatural safe house. It almost feels like the beginning of a chapter rather than the beginning of a book, which makes sense since The Awakening’s end felt like the end of a chapter rather than the end of a book. The young supernaturals coming into their genetically altered powers continue trying to find a way to fight the placating murderers of Lyle House, with the help of a friend of Derek’s and Simon’s father and a few other suspicious adult supernaturals. They battle their unpredictable powers, and Chloe battles her feelings for Derek and Simon’s feelings for her. Let me just state that I absolutely adore the romance in The Darkest Powers trilogy. Derek is an amazing character. He’s troubled, dangerous, and so not the pretty boy that Simon is. But despite his gruffness and frustrating temper, he’s fiercely protective and loyal and some of the exchanges between him and Chloe are just downright sweet. And the romance unfolds slowly, believably, without all the mushy declarations of undying love and floating hearts and promises of eternity and blah blah blah that never happen outside of Twilight-esque YA and cheap romance novels. I have to admit, I got in touch with my inner high school fangirl during a few of their scenes together. Though I like all the characters, Derek is my favorite. By a landslide.

Unfortunately, though, the good characterization and amazing romance don’t quite make up for the simplicity of the plot or the open-endedness of the conclusion. Finding a way to put an end to the big bad Lyle House, with absolutely no non-romantic subplots, is just not enough to fill three novels that are almost 400 pages each, especially when you don’t even tie up all the loose ends. You definitely do feel the paper-thinness of the story, even though The Reckoning is more plot-driven than The Awakening.

I also feel the need to add that I was wishing, the entire trilogy, that Chloe would stop making her necromancy a hindrance and use it as a weapon a little more. I was hoping for her to grow into her powers and to be flinging re-animated dead guys at her enemies by the end of The Reckoning, but she’s still the vulnerable, scared-of-her-powers girl she’s been throughout. Every time they were in a fight and she was lamenting her uselessness, I kept screaming at her to put some souls into some corpses and help her friends out, but nope. The most she offered by way of necromantic bad-assery was having poltergeist Liz scout areas and hit a few people with sticks. I get the moral implications of shoving souls into rotting bodies, but come on. If you’re going to do it so often by accident, why not use it to your advantage here and there?

Still, though this trilogy is more forgettable than it would be with just a little more depth to the story, I really liked it. The best of all three books is the first one, The Summoning. That kind of sucks because I would have loved to uncover more awesomeness as the books went on, but the whole trilogy is more than worth reading, and offered me a few pretty entertaining afternoons.

The Reckoning - 3.5 out of 5 stars


  1. I completely agree. I always felt that last book kind of just ended, I wanted more. the story was good and totally kept me entertained just felt it was missing something. Great Review!!! Well said!!!

  2. I absolutely ADORE Kelley Armstrong's characterization. For that alone, this trilogy would be worth reading. I just wish it had a little more meat to it.

    Thank you so much for the kind comment!


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