Thursday, September 2, 2010

Review: Waking the Witch by Kelley Armstrong

Synopsis (via Goodreads): The orphaned daughter of a sorcerer and a half-demon, Savannah is a terrifyingly powerful young witch who has never been able to resist the chance to throw her magical weight around. But at 21 she knows she needs to grow up and prove to her guardians, Paige and Lucas, that she can be a responsible member of their supernatural detective agency. So she jumps at the chance to fly solo, investigating the mysterious deaths of three young women in a nearby factory town as a favor to one of the agency's associates. At first glance, the murders look garden-variety human, but on closer inspection signs point to otherworldly stakes.

Soon Savannah is in over her head. She's run off the road and nearly killed, haunted by a mystery stalker, and freaked out when the brother of one of the dead women is murdered when he tries to investigate the crime. To complicate things, something weird is happening to her powers. Pitted against shamans, demons, a voodoo-inflected cult and garden-variety goons, Savannah has to fight to ensure her first case isn't her last. And she also has to ask for help, perhaps the hardest lesson she's ever had to learn.

My Take: The 11th in the Women of the Otherworld series, I'll freely admit that I've not only read the previous books but that I loved them to distraction.  I guess you could call me a hard-core Kelley Armstrong fan.  Don't even get me started on her Darkest Powers trilogy because I've read those books far more than a mortal human should.  Here's the thing, having read (and loved) the preceding books, it's hard for me to be impartial as to whether this book works as a stand alone.  Although you could read this and enjoy it, I think part of the fun with a series of this magnitude is watching the characters grow from book to book.

We first met Savannah in Stolen as a 12 year old orphan and she's matured nicely since.  She's spunky and sometimes reckless but her wild side has been somewhat tempered by the compassion she's learned from her guardian Paige.  Several pivotal scenes in this book refer back to moments in previous books that helped shape Savannah into the woman she is.  Without having read the previous books, I think you lose some of the emotional impact.  Needless to say, I thoroughly enjoyed Savannah's story.  Her struggle to deal with the power that's contained inside her has always been fascinating to me.  She still hasn't figured it all out, but she's trying.

I highly recommend this entire series and I'm really, really looking forward to seeing where Savannah's path takes her in the future.

Other books by Kelley Armstrong

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