book series review: darkest powers

hunting for some almost guaranteed quality stories, i ended up at kelley armstrong!

disclaimer for possible spoilers, read at own risk!

✽ the stats

series: darkest powers
1: the summoning
2: the awakening
3: the reckoning
author: kelley armstrong
genre(s): fantasy, supernatural, paranormal
year published: 2008-2010

✽ the (goodreads) synopsis

My name is Chloe Saunders and my life will never be the same again.All I wanted was to make friends, meet boys, and keep on being ordinary. I don’t even know what that means anymore. It all started on the day that I saw my first ghost – and the ghost saw me.Now there are ghosts everywhere and they won’t leave me alone. To top it all off, I somehow got myself locked up in Lyle House, a “special home” for troubled teens. Yet the home isn’t what it seems. Don’t tell anyone, but I think there might be more to my housemates than meets the eye. The question is, whose side are they on? It’s up to me to figure out the dangerous secrets behind Lyle House… before its skeletons come back to haunt me.

✽ the style

another first person told by our female protagonist! i think a reason i like kelley armstrong so much is that her sentences are really easy to digest. i can really zip through her writing – exactly how i finished this trilogy in three days. she doesn’t overdo the imagery and gives us enough to put ourselves in the scene but not IN the scene, which i think is suitable given the pace (any more IN and we would’ve been stuck!)

in terms of comedy, there were some parts that brought some light into the otherwise darker tones in the story. a good contrast and i’d welcome more of that with open arms!

there is continuity in the titles and they follow with the protagonist’s growth/progression. also, the images on the covers were really mysterious until almost the end and it was great that there was some significance to it. i think it would be really useful if the significance of the colour change was elaborated on though.

overall, good reviews in this category – kelley armstrong is completely my style 8)

✽ the characters

chloe was our protagonist – a teenage necromancer “coming to terms” with her terrifying power and even more terrifying “fate”. i was really frustrated with her for a good bulk of the novel because i was hoping she’d get a grip on her powers earlier on and do some super cool stuff later in the series, but she was pretty slow! the pace at which she accepted and gained control of her abilities was very gradual, but despite my frustrations, it was very believable! it was cool that she had an interest in film and that this was incorporated into some of the scenes. would have been really interesting if this was carried all the way through and maintained as a consistent theme!

“There was no closing my eyes and sliding back into that blissful dream of normal. This was my normal now.” – The Awakening

simon and derek were interesting characters. they were essentially polar opposites and the love triangle was pretty predictable. i’d say derek would be your typical young adult novel love interest (strong, dark and brooding). simon on the other hand, with his support from the very beginning, was more of the token nice guy. a really interesting premise is if kelley had swapped the magnitude of their powers, so derek would be a brooding weak boy and simon would be a happy chappy badass super strength boy. throws out all those YA tropes.

the other girls at lyle house were quite a mix. i liked that tori “changed” but kelley left some of her sassiness and intolerance remain. rae was also a believable character; kelley really displayed rae’s loneliness, the scars left by her family and her blind hope in the edison group. i loved liz! she was an asset to the group and i always found myself looking forward to her reappearance throughout the series. despite the fact that chloe and the boys get more light as main characters, the girls had significant contributions to the story as well. each character had a key role to play! kelley hadn’t forgotten about them.

“You know children, always playing with the forces of darkness.” – The Reckoning

✽ the universe

the tropes in darkest powers may be very familiar in the YA fantasy domain, but it doesn’t make the series any less good! a kept secret within modern, “normal” society where key organisations are leading a corrupt movement. there wasn’t a need to reshape the entirety of the universe, but only add this “other” layer on. plenty of room to work with.

i think it would’ve been great to learn more about the different subclasses of poltergeists/telekinetics. there were certain titles mentioned but without further elaboration. i guess that is a matter of relevance though.

✽ the story

following a frightful paranormal encounter at school, chloe finds herself in a home for supposed “mental” patients, where she is to be rehabilitated for her “illness”. little does she know what secrets and conspiracies hide behind lyle house.

“That’s what being crazy was, wasn’t it? You thought you were fine. Everyone else knew better.” – The Summoning

i found the pace was really good, it was exciting and the more tranquil moments were used to build up to the next big event. there were twists and turns one after another and it kept me on my toes!

✽ the bottom line

kelley armstrong is definitely the person to go to for good quality, action-packed YA fantasy. darkest powers is introduced with a very normal-sounding teenage life that is rapidly turned around. it’s a thrilling adventure and a series i couldn’t put down.

in terms of themes, i was probably too caught up in the action to consider it much but if i were to pick something that spoke to me, it would be: don’t be afraid of who you are and grow to embrace yourself. chloe really struggled with her powers – i mean, seeing any movement in something that should no longer be alive or seeing someone’s execution on loop would be absolutely petrifying – but in the end, she grounded herself, and fought to control the situation despite her fears so that she could save herself and her friends and family.

“Now my life has changed forever and I’m as far away from normal as it gets.” – The Awakening

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