"Chloe Saunders used to be a normal teenage girl - or so she thought. Then she learned the shocking truth - she is a walking science experiment. Genetically altered at birth by a sinister group of scientists known as the Edison Group, Chloe is an aberration - a powerful necromancer who can see ghosts and even raise the dead, often with terrifying consequences. Even worse, her growing powers have made her a threat to the surviving members of the Edison Group, who have decided it's time to end their experiment - permanently ...Now Chloe is running for her life with three other supernatural teenagers - a charming sorcerer, a troubled werewolf and a temperamental young witch. Together they have a chance for freedom - but can Chloe trust her new friends?"
The Awakening by Kelley Armstrong is the second book in her Darkest Powers Trilogy, following the story of 15 year old Chloe Saunders, a necromancer with a lot of power, and no idea what to do with it. (Warning, there will be spoilers here for the first book, so I suggest you skip this review if you're intending to read it and don't want to be spoiled!)
In the Summoning Chloe was sent to a group home for troubled teens after she had a 'breakdown' at school. There she discovers she's a necromancer and that the rest of the teens there are also supernaturals, all different kinds. Most of the group band together to escape, but someone warns the people in charge, the Edison Group as we discover in The Awakening, and they don't get away cleanly.
The Awakening picks up pretty much exactly where The Summoning left off. Chloe has just been betrayed by her aunt and is re-captured and locked up in another building, along with Rae, another teen from the home. She is determined to find a way out and to meet up with Simon and Derek to find their dad, a former member of the Edison group who has gone missing. In doing so, Tori, a witch, daughter of a member of the Edison group and someone who really doesn't like Chloe, tags along for the ride. She wanted to get away just as much as Chloe, but for very different reasons.
I really enjoyed this book. I like how Chloe's mind works, talking about what part of a horror movie it would be, or how things would go if it were a horror movie instead of her life. I also like how resourceful she is, and that as scared as she gets, she's not going to give in. Derek is probably my favourite character though. He's a werewolf, struggling to get through his first change, but already equipped with super strength and hearing. He's so vulnerable, terrified of hurting another kid, but he'll do anything to protect those he cares about. He's got no tact at all though, which is really hilarious at times, but it does make me feel really sorry for Chloe as she's the one having to bear the brunt of it.
This book sees them discovering they've all been genetically altered. And when the 'subjects' haven't turned out the way the group want, they've been killed. Chloe manages to get away, with Tori, and they go on the run with Derek and Simon, trying to reach the boy's father. Along the way they learn a bit more about themselves, what being on the run really means for them all and Chloe discovers a whole lot more about what she can do that she'd really rather know nothing about. There are also a few small hints of romance, and really nothing more, between Chloe and Derek or Simon. My personal view is Derek. It seems to be more Simon interested in Chloe than the other way around, but at the same time, there isn't really anything said about actual attraction between Chloe and Derek.
I don't think either The Summoning or The Awakening have the punch that most of Kelley's main Otherworld series have, but they're still really enjoyable! I'm really looking forward to The Reckoning, the final part of the trilogy, to see how it plays out and if Chloe can control her powers. Oh, and I don't think I mentioned this yet, there is a demi-demon haunting the building the Edison group use. One that really wants Chloe to bring it forth to wreck havoc on everyone. Looking forward to seeing how that plays out too! And to getting the answer to the Simon/Derek question ;)