This eleventh novel in Kelley Armstrong’s Otherworld series stars twenty-one-year-old Savannah Levine, an orphaned half witch, half sorcerer. She works for her adoptive parents, Paige and Lucas, at the detective agency they began, and when a case about two murdered young women in a small town is brought to her attention, Savannah can’t resist. She travels to Columbus, Washington to solve the murders, yet when she gets there she finds signs of supernatural activity around every corner. She finds herself torn between attempting to go it alone and feeling like she needs help to figure things out, all the while knowing she will do whatever it takes to avenge these women’s’ deaths.
I have to say right off the bat that I haven’t read any of the first ten books in the Otherworld series. Originally I didn’t want to accept Waking the Witch for review because of this, but the publicist assured me that I wouldn’t have a problem reading this one out of order. For the most part, she was right, and I was able to jump right into Savannah’s story knowing nothing about her or her lineage. She was a fully realized, interesting character and I didn’t feel like I needed to know more about her in order to enjoy this story. However, I can only imagine that if I was more familiar with this world and these characters I may have enjoyed the book more than I did.
As it stands, I liked Waking the Witch well enough. Savannah came across as a strong, intelligent, but also stubborn – characteristics I must admit to loving in a female main character. She had this goal of proving herself to her adoptive parents, of showing them that she was capable and smart and old enough to make adult decisions, and she did whatever she could to accomplish that goal. She broke rules, she found herself in dangerous situations, and she thought with her heart instead of her brain many times because she was so determined to prove herself. And by the end of the book, she really did prove herself and some of those bad decisions didn’t look so bad once she succeeded.
I liked that Waking the Witch had a mystery at its core, and I found the mystery to be crafted well. I did not guess the culprit, and I didn’t understand how the supernatural elements would tie into the mystery until all was revealed at the end. It kept me guessing and kept me on my toes pretty much throughout the entire book.
At the end of the day, though, I didn’t love this novel. Yes I enjoyed it, but it will certainly not make my favorites list. I think Kelley Armstrong has a great talent for world-building and I’d be interested to begin her Otherworld series from the beginning. Waking the Witch was a good reading experience for me, but unfortunately not a great one.