Review: Waking the Witch by Kelley Armstrong

Posted January 21, 2013 by Carmel in Carmel, Reviews, Urban Fantasy / 5 Comments


Review: Waking the Witch by Kelley Armstrong
Waking the Witch by Kelley Armstrong
Series: Women of the Otherworld #11
Published by Vintage Canada
Published on: July 27, 2010
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 336
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
Amazon | Book Depo 

The new novel in Kelley Armstrong’s bestselling Women of the Otherworld series showcases the fascinating Savannah Levine, a powerful young witch with a rebellious past and a troublesome heritage.

The orphaned daughter of a sorcerer and a half-demon, Savannah is a terrifyingly powerful young witch who has never been able to resist the chance to throw her magical weight around. But at twenty-one she knows she needs to grow up and prove to her guardians, Paige and Lucas, that she can be a responsible member of their supernatural detective agency. So she jumps at the chance to fly solo, investigating the mysterious deaths of three young women in a nearby factory town, as a favour to one of the agency’s associates. At first glance, the murders look garden-variety human, but on closer inspection signs point to otherworldly stakes.

Soon Savannah is in over her head. She’s run off the road and nearly killed, haunted by a mystery stalker and freaked out when the brother of one of the dead women is murdered when he tries to investigate the crime. To complicate things, something weird is happening to her powers. Pitted against shamans, demons, a voodoo-inflected cult and garden-variety goons, Savannah has to fight to ensure her first case isn’t her last. And she also has to ask for help, perhaps the hardest lesson she’s ever had to learn.



Waking the Witch would make for a badass stand-alone novel but I’d expected more from the 11th Otherworld installment. The paranormal aspects are mere parlour tricks, the pioneers of this series are MIA and the plot is more murder mystery in nature than it is Urban Fantasy. I can’t fault Kelley Armstrong’s writing, the intriguing story or the pacing but as a long time fan of these books, it didn’t satisfy me.

This is Savannah Levine’s first crack as an Otherworld narrator and as the supposed prodigy of this series her grand debut was a little lackluster. The previous books have built her character up to be extremely powerful, rebellious and fierce but unfortunately, the real thing failed to live up to all of the hype. Savannah has always struck me as a go getter but her inability to voice her feelings for Adam or wreak havoc on her enemies was disappointing. She comes across as more of an average Joe than as THE Savannah Levine, daughter of Eve Levine (black witch / aspicio half-demon) and Kristof Nast (sorcerer / cabal heir).

The story reads like a murder mystery with some nice police procedural elements but calling it an Urban Fantasy is a stretch. The paranormal side is limited to mediocre light ball and cover spells; considering that Savannah is capable of collapsing a house I felt cheated where her witchy powers are concerned. The resolution does have Otherworld roots but I was so completely blindsided by the villain that it felt like Armstrong was grasping at straws in an attempt to connect this book to the overall series arc. Also, other than the occasional name drop, the strong cast of beloved characters that I’ve grown to know and love is all but absent.

As a stand-alone, mystery this novel has what you’d expect: action out the wazoo and an impossible-to-guess “who done it” intrigue. The pacing is brisk, the writing is flawless and I love the fact that this series unfolds in real time. But as the 11th installment in Kelley Armstrong’s world-famous Urban Fantasy series it fizzled. Waking the Witch delivers a good story and has a high entertainment value but it’s an expendable addition to the Women of the Otherworld universe.

Books in this series:

Review

Review

Review

Review

Review

Review

Review

Review

Review

Review

Review

Review



Recommendation: Good for fans of all things witchy.
Like this, like that: The Hollows series by Kim Harrison and the Arcadia Bell series by Jenn Bennett.



Kelley Armstrong Reading Challenge



Carmel Signature

One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

Owner, designer and main blogger behind Rabid Reads. Avid book reader, snowboard bunny, video gamer and Supernatural fan. I love all things paranormal, werewolves especially. Oh, and I’m Canadian, eh!

Facebook Twitter Google+    

Tags: , , , ,


Get your daily dose of Rabid Reads in your inbox! Subscribe via e-mail:
Bargain Books Always 50-90% Off!


5 responses to “Review: Waking the Witch by Kelley Armstrong

  1. I was so nervous to read this book. I was expecting the worst. I was so mad Savannah was going to have her own book because I pictured her as a child. But I loved this series so I had to give it a chance and I was pleasantly surprised. I think because I went into upset and reluctant to read it, that it made it better for me. Its been a few years since I read it but that is how I remember it.

  2. I did have high expectations for this title as well when I had read it. but in the end, I think it worked out well, considering Spell Bound, the next novel goes hand in hand with it :). (I’d love a spin off with Savannah and the twin wolves :)!)