Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Darkest Powers series by Kelley Armstrong

Chloe Saunders sees dead people. After a traumatic childhood incident involving a basement and a malicious ghost, she had repressed that ability as well as any memories associated with it. But when delayed puberty strikes a 15 year-old Chloe, her ability comes back with a vengeance. To those around her, it looks like she has suffered some kind of a mental breakdown. Her father and aunt decide to put Chloe in a group home called Lyle House for mentally ill children. It doesn't take long for Chloe to realize that Lyle House is not what it seems and that she and the other children have something in common, and its not mental illness.

Derek has superstrength and his foster brother, Simon, has magical abilities. Chloe's roommate, Liz, can throw objects with her mind when she's angry and Rae can start fires... not necessarily with matches. When Liz is taken away after an 'episode', the kids are told that she was transferred to a mental hospital, but Chloe knows this is not true since she has seen Liz's ghost. Derek, Simon, Chloe and Rae decide to escape, but an unexpected betrayal results in the girls being captured by the people who are really responsible for running Lyle House... the Edison Group.

Chloe learns that she is a necromancer. Not only can she see and communicate with the dead, but she can return them to their corpses. Simon is a warlock and spoiled brat Tori is a witch. Rae is a fire-starter and Derek... he's a werewolf. As shocking as this news is, the real revelation is that the Edison Group had genetically altered a test group of children including Chloe in an attempt to reduce their abilities and give them more control. The experiment backfired and the children who were altered have amped up powers that can become unpredicatable when they lose control of their emotions. Although the Edison Group had some success in correcting that problem in a few of the children, others such as Chloe are considered a lost cause, a mistake that the Edison Group would like to permanently erase.

Chloe and Tori escape and re-unite with Simon and Derek. Even with the help of a friend of the boys' father, they aren't going to be able to run from the Edison Group forever. They are going to have to master their abilities and take the fight to the Edison Group if they are to have any hope for survival.

I absolutely loved this series, not so much for the supernatural elements, but because of the growing romantic relationship between Derek and Chloe. Derek is introduced as a hygenically challenged oversized sullen teen boy. As I read the descriptions of him, I was thinking to myself 'eww'. As the story progresses, my opinion of him and Chloe's changes radically. He's the hero of this piece, no question. I'm glad I purchased all three books at the same time since this is just one story. I would not have wanted to wait for the next installment.

BEST FEATURE: Derek. I totally fell in love with this boy and I'm not afraid to admit it.

WORST FEATURE: Necromancy, really? All the other characters had cool abilities, but our heroine can raise the dead. Gross!

PARENTAL WARNING: minor violence, kissing only; appropriate for pre-teens and up

RATING: 4, it might not be for everyone, but anyone who likes young adult fiction, will like this.

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