TEEN LIBRARIAN'S REVIEW:
"The Reckoning" is the final installment in Kelley Armstrong's Darkest Powers Trilogy, following "The Summoning" and "The Awakening." I had an ARC of this book forever but only read it last week. Weird, right?
So here we have the further adventures of the gang from Lyle House, all of whom are teens with genetically modified supernatural powers. Chloe is the necromancer (she can raise the dead!); sorcerer Simon and witch Tori can both cast spells, although with different degrees of proficiency; brooding Derek is a burgeoning werewolf; and Liz … well, Liz is dead, but her ghost still rocks on.
When we last left the kids, they had — again! — escaped the clutches of the evil Edison Group, the doctors, scientists, supernaturals, and all around bad guys who created the kids and then freaked when their powers began to blossom in unexpected ways. The teens have taken refuge with Andrew, a friend of Simon and Derek's dad and a former member of the Edison Group who became disgusted by their tactics. While everyone regroups, other disgruntled ex-Edison Group-ers are brought in by Andrew to help the kids learn more about their powers. At least, that's the explanation Andrew provides.
Yes, as in the other books, there are plenty of crosses and double crosses, which is rad. I like to be kept guessing. I particularly enjoyed the sense of urgency driving the story, powering the scenes of action, scheming, planning, escaping, and hiding. The Edison Group may be a one-dimensional villain, but it's still a powerful and believable one. It was also cool to see Chloe and the gang expand their powers, although, to be honest, some of the scenes of Chloe raising the dead, with their shlocky horror movie images, became a bit tedious. We get it. Zombies. Move on.
What did I like? I know, I'm such a girl, but I got a huge kick out of seeing the tentative romance develop between werewolf Derek and necromancer Chloe. This was a long time coming! If you've read the first two books, you know how far the character of Derek has progressed, transforming from an angry, sullen, sweaty bully into a kind, protective, heroic man. Derek's awkward physicality — the biggest guy in the room now must also deal with harnessing the wolf within — was wonderfully portrayed. Because we see Derek struggling mightily with his inner wolf, we have a deeper appreciation for the scenes where Derek has to lower his defenses and trust Chloe during the Change. Indeed, Derek's vulnerability, his desire to share himself while still fearing rejection, meshed beautifully with Chloe's sometimes scared, sometimes jaded, always wary personality. So while the magic gives this story its edge, the romance was, for me, the real draw.
Not giving anything away, but this book ends on a bit of a cliffhanger, despite it being the final chapter in the trilogy. With so many questions about the Edison Group left unanswered, I wonder if we can expect another set of books with Chloe, Derek, Simon, Tori, and Liz. Until then, fans of the series should devour "The Reckoning." You'll find all the supernatural action, snarky dialogue, and rapid pace of the first books, plus — finally! — the development of a romance that's previously been simmering in the background. I felt the book was a smidge long (again with the overdose of zombie scenes), but see what you think. Like the other books in this series, "The Reckoning" features no offensive language, alcohol / drug references, or sex scenes, so the age range here really depends primarily on your tolerance for mild gore and horror. I have no hesitation recommending this book for fans of supernatural stories, romances, or both genres. "The Reckoning" is officially released on Tuesday, April 6th. Enjoy!