Series Review: The Darkest Powers by Kelley Armstrong
I first came across Armstrong’s writing when she published Bitten (werewolf, paranormal, romance) so when I saw that she had written a Young Adult series, I was torn between curiosity and a skeptical mistrust of yet another neck-and-lips cover – plus, the books are called “The Darkest Powers.” How in the world was the series gonna pull that off?
It starts with The Summoning.
Chloe Saunders is a regular film-loving teenage girl – right up until she has a psychotic break in the middle of the school day and nearly falls off the school roof. She ends up in Lyle House, a home for troubled teens with its own regimen of meds and surveillance. You can probably guess by the glowing jewel (and title) on the covers above that this won’t be a story about a young girl overcoming mental illness. In fact, as time goes on, Chloe begins to wonder whether the ghosts in Lyle House might just be real after all.
Chloe goes from battling her disbelief and vicious sabotage inside the rather sinister Lyle House (The Summoning), to the fast-paced race to stay one step ahead of men with guns and a mystery with teeth (The Awakening), to the finale that unravels the love triangle and leads to the explosive end of the trilogy in The Reckoning.
On the down side, there is a lot of hand-waving to cover up a generally weak plot with its uncertain beginning and an open, sequel-me-now conclusion. The world-building and conspiracy element left me cold and unimpressed. As a series, the Darkest Powers get a shaky start in the first book, taking some time to get rolling, then ending on a half-step. Books two and three swing into the action with more enthusiasm and send the characters rushing headlong into danger following the mystery threads. Betrayal and romantic tension abound.
Read the books for the realistic (yet not insufferable) teen personalities, the gradual budding romance (relationships problems dealt in a healthy way – hurrah!), and fast-paced action.
With these books, Kelley Armstrong joins the rank of other paranormal romance writers taking the dive into the YA demographic. I don’t consume enough YA paranormal romance to put this book in the context of the genre, but this read is definitely easy on the eyes.
Is this on your reading list? What do you think about the Romance-to-YA transition trend?