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Reviews of books in a series, with a focus on urban fantasy.
Other genres include mystery, paranormal romance, and crime thrillers.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Waking the Witch (Women of the Otherworld, Book 11) by Kelley Armstrong


Some of the books in the Women of the Otherworld series really work for me, some don't. I'm not sure how to classify Waking the Witch. Somewhere in the middle, perhaps.

On the one hand, I really enjoyed hearing from Savannah, seeing her grown up and responsible. On the other hand, it's been so long since I read the books about her, that there were times I was a touch lost. Dime Store Magic came out six years ago, that's a long time to be expected to remember details.

Also, there is the problem that apparently it is going to take two books to tell this story, and we're half way through the story. The next book, Spell Bound, isn't due out until July or August of 2011. If I'd known that I'd have waited until next year to read both books together. I detest cliff hangers. And Waking the Witch would have been less expensive next year, as well.

Here's the blurb:
The orphaned daughter of a sorcerer and a half-demon, Savannah is a terrifyingly powerful young witch who has never been able to resist the chance to throw her magical weight around. But at 21 she knows she needs to grow up and prove to her guardians, Paige and Lucas, that she can be a responsible member of their supernatural detective agency. So she jumps at the chance to fly solo, investigating the mysterious deaths of three young women in a nearby factory town as a favour to one of the agency’s associates. At first glance, the murders look garden-variety human, but on closer inspection signs point to otherworldly stakes.

Soon Savannah is in over her head. She’s run off the road and nearly killed, haunted by a mystery stalker, and freaked out when the brother of one of the dead women is murdered when he tries to investigate the crime. To complicate things, something weird is happening to her powers. Pitted against shamans, demons, a voodoo-inflected cult and garden-variety goons, Savannah has to fight to ensure her first case isn’t her last. And she also has to ask for help, perhaps the hardest lesson she’s ever had to learn.

It's a good plot -- I did not know for sure who any of the bad guys were until the very end, and then at least part of the plot gets wrapped up. One of the bad guys is taken care of, but that leaves at least one more bad guy running around, and a whole lot of other loose ends flaying in the wind, and one huge cliff hanger sentence at the end of the book.  (The term "bad guy" in this instance is not supposed to hint at the gender of said "bad guys", BTW, so don't look at that as a spoiler or a hint.)

As for the other writing elements: the pacing had serious issues, prose and dialogue were good but not great, character development was fine but I'd honestly hoped for just a bit more spunk from Savannah, and world building was fine. The world is already mostly built, so all Kelley Armstrong had to do was stay consistent, which I think she did.

I'm going to give Waking the Witch a 7 of 10 for the pacing issues, for the general lack of oomph, and for not really wrapping the book up. It's okay to leave some loose ends for future books, but this was a bit much. I've rated the series a 9 of 10 for a long time, I think Waking the Witch brings it down to an 8 of 10.

Book Rating: Waking the Witch: 7 of 10
Series Rating: Women of the Otherworld: 8 of 10

1. Bitten (2001)
2. Stolen (2002)
3. Dime Store Magic (2004)
4. Industrial Magic (2004)
5. Haunted (2005)
6. Broken (2006)
7. No Humans Involved (2007)
8. Personal Demon (2008)
9. Living with the Dead (2008)
_. Men of the Otherworld (2009)
_. A Fantasy Medley (anthology 2009)
10. Frostbitten (Nov 2009)
__. Angelic (Women/Otherworld) Kelley Armstrong (Dec 2009) __. Tales of the Otherworld by Kelley Armstrong (April 2010)
11. Waking the Witch
12. Spell Bound


  1. The last book in this series I read was Personal Demon but I am looking forward to reading this one once I get caught up. There's a great short story with Savannah and Jaime in Blood Lite which is why I'm hoping I like Waking the Witch. Sorry you didn't like this one as much as the others :(

  2. I'm with you, totally, on the cliff hangers. Especially if you get the feeling that they've padded things so that they can publish (and get paid for) two books, instead of tightening up the story and doing it in one book.

  3. All of the characters in this quirky little town were a lot of fun. Each had a their own unique personality, and their own secret to keep hidden. I love Kelley's writing and all the characters that are weaved in and out of this series. We get to see another side of fun-loving Adam, which was great.