Friday, April 5, 2013
Flashback Friday: Darkest Powers Trilogy
Saying that, I guess you know the end from the beginning. I mean, I loved this trilogy, but I was also really lucky. For me, Kelly Armstrong's books go better when you read them all at once. While I didn't do that with the Darkness Rising, (I read the first two at once, then had to wait a year for the third one), I did get to do it with Darkest Powers, and it totally paid off. Here's the thing about her books, they really read as one. Sure the end of the first and second books have a climax, but they aren't built up to that climax in particular. They're all about being chased, kidnapped, shot at, dealing with mysterious powers, (and relationships), coming of age, etc., which makes for a really exciting read, but you need that third book to wrap up the ending and give you some kind of satisfying closure. The good news is, all three books are out, so you can read them 1, 2, 3, without having to suffer any kind of wait.
Okay, so I should probably add a quick recap of the story. Chloe sees dead people . . . well dead everything. She gets locked up in the Lyle House, where she meets other paranormal teens and discovers she's a necromancer (aka, she raises the dead and can talk to ghosts). Okay, I'm going to spoil the first book here, but it's pretty obvious from the beginning, the Lyle house is bad. She, along with a few of her friends (and enemies) break out and go on the run. Chases, betrayals, animated corpses, werewolves, witches, sorcerers, and other craziness ensues, all while they try and figure out who they can trust and how to use their emerging powers.
Yes, these books are exciting, and the tension grows from book to book, but what I love most about these series are the way the characters grow. Take Chloe, the protagonist of our story. She starts out as a cute, fluffy blond whose biggest rebellion is dying a stripe of her hair pink. By the end she's taking on seriously bad people and making life and death decisions. Basically she grows up, and despite all the paranormal stuff happening around her (and a little bit because of it) her growth is genuine. Same with Derek. He goes from no social skills, to . . . limited social skills. And then there's Tori. I hated her in the beginning, and at the end, well she's still not my favorite character, but I love who she's becoming, and that she gets her own character arc.
Then there's Chloe and Derek's relationship. That is probably my favorite. It's very much a beauty and the beast sort of thing, and I'm always a sucker for those sort of stories. Plus it's refreshing that the boy isn't drop dead gorgeous at first sight. He's anything but, and while he does improve throughout the books, he's looks aren't his main selling point. It's how he and Chloe interact, the way they make each other better people and the way that is consistently shown throughout the books that make me love this relationship. Plus, he's a strong, memorable character. You never wonder what he would do in a given situation or that he's the one speaking. He is utterly distinctive and stands out well against too many bland prince charmings.
So should you read these books? Absolutely. It also helps that these characters make an appearance in The Rising, so while you don't need to read this trilogy before The Darkness Rising one, it helps. As for me, I would give the first book 3 stars, the second 3.5, and the third 4.5. I thought they just got better and better.