Saturday, July 31, 2010

Waking the Witch by Kelley Armstrong

waking the witch cover

I have never read a Kelley Armstrong novel, so when Wunderkind Publishing asked me if I wanted a copy of this book to review, I had no idea it was the 11th in a series.  That's right--eleventh.  On the plus side, I didn't feel when I opened this book like I was dropping into the middle of a long-running series, and I was never lost as to the plot and characters.  But on the minus side, that was probably because Waking the Witch was pretty light on both.

Savannah has been working in a supernatural PI firm since she was sixteen, when two PIs named Lucas and Paige took her in.  Now they're on vacation and Savannah's determined to prove herself by solving her very first case, on her own.  She travels to a small depressed town where she suspects women are being killed using witchcraft.  There she becomes embroiled with various men.  The major players are:

Jesse--Young guy Savannah's age who is half-demon and also a PI.  He handed her the case to check out while he took care of something else.

Michael--Cute detective trying to solve his sister's murder.  And he drives a BMW, yet isn't a gearhead?!?  Wow, cops are making a lot these days.

Adam--Savannah's true love, who plays the role of Oblivious Male Friend.

There's also the hick inhabitants of the town (remember, kids, people who don't live in cities are uncultured, uneducated, and poor), such as Difficult and Lazy Sheriff, Old People in Diner, and Town Richie Rich Who Thinks He Can Do Whatever He Wants.

Notice anything?  That's right, none of the major characters except for Savannah are women.  There are several female characters--one child, and a slew of minor adult characters, the majority of whom are villainous in some way.  By the end, the book winds up feeling weirdly male-centric.  Even Savannah isn't much of a girl--she could be a male and the book would probably be the same.

In addition, there are several plot holes and inconsistencies of logic going on.  Just to give one example, at one point Savannah thinks, "As I got older, I dated less, and I'd thought I was just slowing down, getting ready for that big moment when Adam would notice me, but after I realized that wasn't happening, and I just kept slowing down."  First of all, that's a lot of commas.  Second of all, as I got older?  The girl is twenty-one!  I find it difficult to believe there's much of a dating arc going on there.

My main gripe with the book, though, it that it was just BLAH.  I didn't care about the women who got killed, who killed them, the characters in the town--anything, really.  I also felt zero spark between Savannah or any of the characters, except possibly the little girl.  Perhaps if I had read the ten books preceding this one I'd have more invested in the characters and would care more, but as it was I didn't get much out of it.

There are a lot of light, fun UF books out there (I'm assuming that's what this novel is aiming for) that are more entertaining and creative than this one (Twice Bitten, for instance).  However, if you're a fan of the series and the author, you'll undoubtedly want to pick this book up--I'm sure you'll enjoy it more than I did.

On that note... Wunderkind sent me an extra copy of Waking the Witch to give away!  Just leave a comment with a valid e-mail address and I will pick the winner randomly and mail them a copy.  Contest will close on Friday, August 6th, at 11 PM MST.

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