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The Reckoning  - Kelley Armstrong Great series but disappointing ending, 3.5 stars

This review is from: The Reckoning (Darkest Powers, Book 3) (Hardcover)
In her final installment of the Darkest Powers trilogy, The Reckoning (Darkest Powers, Book 3), Kelley Armstrong returns us to the safe house where Chloe, Derek, Simon, and Tori are hiding from the Edison Group. Unsure of their new protectors and sometimes uncertain of each other, Chloe and her friends feel trapped and hesitant about what to do next to save themselves and to free Rae and Aunt Lauren. Combined with dangerous new ghosts, increasing romantic feelings, and the impending likelihood of Derek's first full Change, things are tense for all involved.

Like the first two books in the trilogy, I enjoyed Armstrong's strong writing and the world she has created. Pacing was solid, and the plot's twists left me guessing whom to trust and surprised when the answers were revealed. Character development continued with Chloe, Derek, and Tori, though Simon became more of a secondary character. The romantic subplot was done well again, but the romance was stronger and answered the long-awaited question of Simon versus Derek. The reader also got glimpses (though not always clear) into how the Darkest Powers trilogy relates to Armstrong's Otherworld series.

Even with these strengths, I finished feeling disappointed. This book did not provide the satisfying ending to the trilogy that I had wanted. Too many plot threads were left unexplored, unfinished, and unexplained. Nothing felt settled at the end except the romance. I understand why Armstrong may have left things as she did: the ending was just enough to close the series but also enough to leave readers wanting more, either from her adult series or from her new YA trilogy, set in the same universe, to be released next year. Though I understand this, I didn't like it. In this book, characterization also felt uneven sometimes, especially with Derek and his interactions with one character in the second half of the book. Tori's character also changed significantly within a few days' time without explanation. Though necessary to move the plot along (and in ways I liked), it didn't fit with how they had been portrayed before.

Despite these problems, I still enjoyed the book a great deal and plan to read Armstrong's future YA books. However, I will do so knowing to not expect a sense of closure from her books, even when it's the end of a trilogy or series. With her strong writing, likeable characters, and creative worldbuilding, Armstrong has the ability to craft a wonderful series of books and draw the reader in. I just wish she knew when to provide a real ending and let the reader go.