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The Awakening - Kelley Armstrong Good second installment (but leaves you hanging again), 3.5 stars

In The Awakening (Darkest Powers, Book 2), the second in Kelley Armstrong's Darkest Powers trilogy, we catch up with Chloe, Derek, Simon, Tori, and Rae. Chloe learns more about the extent of her special powers, the intent of the Edison Group's experiment becomes clear, and the threats to each character's safety becomes more apparent. New alliances are built, old ones are rekindled, and current ones are questioned, all while trying to escape the clutches of the Edison Group.

Like the first book in the series, I enjoyed immersing myself in Armstrong's world. Her writing is strong for a young adult series, and her characters are well-drawn. The roles of some characters are expanded, especially Derek, and relationships are both strengthened and tested between characters. There's more exploration of each character's special skills and how well he/she can master them. Chloe remains a strong teen heroine with a conscience, though she comes off more cliché in this book. Again, the action and the trials the characters experience remain the focus of the novel, not any romantic subplot. There's romantic tension, but it's limited when it appears.

However, also like the first book, the ending leaves the reader without any closure. The series feels like a serialized novel, not a series of books. In this installment, there's no sense of plot other than running from the Edison Group. Though character development and discovery does happen during the journey, the book is almost entirely one flight scene that changes a bit, based on the circumstances. Compared to The Summoning (Darkest Powers, Book 1), it was a lot less satisfying as a stand-alone book.

Despite these misgivings, I'm looking forward to the conclusion of the trilogy this spring with The Reckoning (Darkest Powers, Book 3). Like the first two books, I'm sure it will be a good read and I hope it will provide readers with a satisfying conclusion to the series.