fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsyoung adult YA urban fantasy novel review Kelley Armstrong Darkest Powers 3 The ReckoningThe Reckoning by Kelley Armstrong

While Kelley Armstrong is best known for her Women of the Otherworld series, which I have read and mostly enjoyed, I personally prefer her YA-geared Darkest Powers series. The Darkest Powers novels, which begin with The Summoning and The Awakening, detail the stories of Chloe Sanders, a girl raised in a wealthy yet non-magical home who, upon hitting puberty, discovers that she can see ghosts.

A misinterpreted incident at school leads to a diagnosis of mental illness and soon lands her in a halfway house for disturbed teens with serious psychological problems, or so she is told. She and the others at the halfway house soon realize that the home is a front for a dangerous group of magic users who have been conducting genetic experiments designed to breed stronger necromancers, witches, sorcerers, and werewolves.

In The Reckoning, Chloe and her three friends are on the run from the Edison Group, searching for the father of the two boys. Aided by a secret group of adults who are allegedly opposed to the Edison group, they end up hiding in a home that is haunted by a violent poltergeist and dark secrets of its own. They discover that one or more of the adults has betrayed them and that the Edison group is still controlling and closely monitoring their activities.

The plot and premise of the novel are strong as are the characters, who are all distinct individuals and painted in shades of gray. Even the villains and traitors have redeeming traits and believable motives. I particularly enjoy the protagonist, Chloe Saunders. While she is a powerful necromancer, she is also refreshingly vulnerable, realistically insecure, and just plain nice. Overall, this third novel in Armstrong’s Darkest Powers series is filled with suspense, intrigue, and danger and relies less on high school drama and sexual references than other popular YA-geared urban fantasy series, though there is a nicely done romantic subplot. I have been actively encouraging my own daughter to read this series.

Darkest Powers — (2008-2016) Urban fantasy for young adults. Publisher: 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.

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  • Stephen B. Frank

    STEPHEN (S.B.) FRANK, one of our guest contributors, earned a Ph.D. at Duke University and works in the field of education reform. When he needs a break from real life, he likes to indulge in urban fantasy. He has a particular love for humor, so some of his favorite authors are Dakota Cassidy, Mary Janice Davidson, Mark Henry, Julie Kenner, Katie MacAlister, Richelle Mead and Christopher Moore.

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