Title: Waking the Witch
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Page Count: 309 pages
Genre: urban fantasy
Copy for review provided by Wunderkind PR in exchange for an honest review
50 words or less:
I'll put this out there at the onset of this review: I've only read one other book in the Otherworld series (Bitten) and so I was unfamiliar with many of the characters and history that these characters shared/were trying to overcome. As a result, I won't focus on how this book fits in with the overall trends of the series, since I don't really know anything about those, and will instead focus on the experience of reading this book more or less as a standalone novel.
Savannah as a narrator and heroine really worked for me on a variety of levels. I enjoyed her snark and her sass, her can-do attitude (even though she freely admits sometimes that that's totally a bluff) and her desire to prove herself to the people she loves. One of my favorite things about the heroines in this series so far is that I find it really easy to understand their thoughts and motivations and to realize why they make the decisions that they do; for better or worse, that's definitely the case here.
The beginning of the story sets us up with a murder mystery with a supernatural twist as a fellow PI, who also happens to be half-demon and a friend of Savannah's adopted father, shows up in the family agency office to ask for help on a case. Savannah seizes the opportunity to prove that she can handle a case on her own and leaves at once to help solve the whodunnit.
What happens after that is a twisty, turny journey to discover the identity of a gruesome killer, to navigate the drama and prejudices of a small town, and for Savannah personally to make some decisions about the kind of person she wants to be and how she wants other people to perceive her. There's a smidge of relationship drama, there are injustices that have to be overcome; essentially, there's a lot going on and there are plenty of layers to this story that make it a good read.
I'll tell you my one issue with the book, though, and I am totally willing to attribute this to my having not read any other books in this series since the first one- why is everyone so hard on Savannah? She mentions past peccadilloes fairly liberally and there was a sense of the other past characters in the book kind of holding their breath as if they were waiting for Savannah to screw up somehow, and then they were somehow shocked when Savannah not only picked up on this, but was upset about it. I mean, I gather that she hasn't always been the most responsible person or had the best impulse control, but even so, that seems like a lot to hold against someone who in another world wouldn't even be out of college yet. Even at the end, in the emotional showdown with Adam after the (supposed) resolution of the murders, it was hard to tell whether he was standing by her out of deeper feelings for her or out of a sense of duty and responsibility to Paige and Lucas. There wouldn't be anything wrong with either standing, except one is the basis of a relationship and one is maintaining the status quo of everyone else being in charge and Savannah acting like/being treated like a kid. Maybe this is explained in previous books? I don't know.
Anyway, all nitpicking aside, the plot was tight, the narration was excellent and I'm definitely on board to read the rest of the series and future installments as well. Overall it was a very enjoyable read.
Overall Grade: B+
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