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Review: Waking the Witch by Kelley Armstrong

Waking the WitchAt twenty-one, Savannah Levine-orphaned daughter of a notorious dark witch and an equally notorious cutthroat sorcerer-considers herself a full-fledged member of the otherworld. The once rebellious teen has grown into a six-foot-tall, motorcycle-riding jaw-dropper, with an impressive knowledge of and ability to perform spells. The only problem is, she’s having a hard time convincing her adoptive parents, Paige and Lucas, to take her seriously as an adult. She’s working as the research assistant at the detective agency they founded, and when they take off on a romantic vacation alone, leaving her in charge, Savannah finds herself itching for a case to call her own. (She’s also itching for Adam, her longtime friend and colleague, to see her as more than just a little girl, but that’s another matter.)

Suddenly, Savannah gets the chance she’s been waiting for: Recruited by another supernatural detective, she travels to Columbus, Washington, a small, dying town. Two troubled young women have been found in an abandoned warehouse, murdered. Now a third woman’s dead, and on closer inspection small details point to darker forces at play. Savannah feels certain she can handle the case, but with signs of supernatural activity appearing at every turn, things quickly become more serious- and far more dangerous-than she realizes.

I went into this book with a sense of dread. Not because I particularly dislike the character, Savannah Levine, but because I knew the final three books would be based primarily on her and not my favorite character of the series, Elena Michaels. However, I must admit I was pleased to find myself not only interested in the storyline, but also enjoying the fact I was finally getting to see things from Savannah’s point of view.

Savannah’s presence in the Women of the Otherworld series has always been that as a side character, who is supernaturally blessed with the ability to use both witch and sorcerer magic. Her very being has caused countless issues for many around her and her power has been a source for much concern among outsiders. Paige’s life was turned upside down because of her, her mother was murdered and she was even responsible for the death of her own father. She’s possessed very little patience for humans and though she’s done her best to follow the example set by Paige and Lucas, she’s still dabbling in the darker side of magic. However, now at the age of 21, she seems to have grown into a fairly responsible young woman. Sure, she’s reckless from time to time, but she’s strong willed, overly confident and definitely one witch you don’t want to cross.

The plot of the story is simple enough. With Paige and Lucas in Hawaii on vacation, Savannah takes the first opportunity to do her first solo case. After years as serving as a background helper and gofer, she’s more than ready to prove how capable of a private investigator she can be. Her case seems simple enough at first. In the small town of Columbus, the murder of a young woman just a few months after a double murder of two local women, leaves the town wondering if there’s a predator in their midst.

Hired through a contact of Lucas’, Savannah is tasked with uncovering who killed the most recent victim. Initially, she finds some resistance with the small town cops, a few of the townspeople and Claire’s half-brother Dallas cop, Michael. However, with a little luck and some restraint, she manages to put herself in good standing with the locals as she digs into the possibility that something supernatural may be afoot.

One of the most amusing and interesting factors of the case comes in the form of the town’s local commune (or as Savannah deems them, the “cookie cult.”) Of course, the story takes a huge twist in the last hundred pages as you realize there are three different murderers in the town. The original double murder turned out to be a case of self defense and accidental shooting, as the mother of one of the women killed, admits she went to save her granddaughter from being murdered by the two women. A local witch and the wife of one of the prime suspects is murdered by a witch hunter that is hidden within the cookie cult. But the biggest surprise comes in the form of Lucas’ contact who initially brought the cases to Savannah’s attention. Possessed by the ghost of Leah, the psychotic Volo who was responsible for the death of Savannah’s mother, Jesse is responsible for the death of several people as well as the human cop Savannah was beginning to like. Though Leah’s original plan fails and Eve Levine sends her back to one of the many hell dimensions, she gets the final laugh in revealing the real killer for the original two deaths. Thus leaving Savannah to watch helplessly as the young girl, Kayla, who she had befriended and cared for, is carted off by social services. A sight that causes her to claim her willingness to give up her powers to fix everything for the young girl. A promise that seems to play a huge part in the next book.

So while I was disappointed by the final choices of lead characters, I’m glad to see Kelley Armstrong had saved Savannah for last. After all, she’s a force to be reckoned with and I can’t wait to see if she manages to save Kayla’s family as well as the rest of those we’ve all come to love in this series. After all, Hell hath no fury like a witch scorned.


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About Kristine

As an aspiring author, avid bookworm, fitness fanatic and dedicated mother, there just aren't enough hours in the day. I write or post about things I'm passionate about and spend my time trying to make the most of every day. Life may be a tough journey, but I have my ruby red slippers and am content on skipping along this yellow brick road until the end of the line.

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