Waking the Witch is Savannah Levine’s first appearance as a narrator and to be perfectly honest it was underwhelming. She’s the daughter of a sorcerer and a black witch (who also happens to be half demon) and this combination, along with her memorable appearances throughout the series, has made her a very promising character. She could blow us away with her wit, capture our hearts by missing her deceased mother, wow us with her raw magical powers and impress us with her intelligence and how she’s a great female lead.
In a way it has felt like Armstrong has been preparing us for her most breathtaking and phenomenal character, all the effort she has put into developing her through the eyes of other people, emphasising her powers and allowing her to grow up in our minds with each instalment.
But she falls flat. She is not a likeable character, she is hard to warm up to and she comes across as rather bigoted. But perhaps I’ve misread Armstrong, perhaps she never intended us to like Savannah straight away. After all, this novel is about Savannah trying to be more mature and growing up and maybe this is how she represented this. If we dislike her at first but have grown fond of her towards the end, is that not a sign that the character has grown, has developed? It’s a shame that this development does not happen in this book, at least not until she loses what is most important to her.
The disappointment of Savannah impacts the entire book, because the risk with making a first person book is that it’s entirely about that character and if we don’t like her how are we to like the book?
However, putting that to the side the plot is actually good, it introduces a new threat we haven’t come across before and this threat does actually pose a risk to Savannah, but of course her being her she’s entirely too arrogant to realise this until it’s almost too late.
The story gets underway when a friend of Paige’s and Lucas’ supernatural detective agency needs some help. Columbus, a small town, is struck by tragedy when three girls turn up dead. She takes it on as a solo mission to prove to Paige and Lucas that they can trust her, however the young witch soon finds herself being the hunted instead of the hunter.
*SPOILERS* There is actually a lot to applaud about this book because it does remind us that Armstrong is brilliant with her plots, the inclusion witch hunters makes Savannah grow up all the faster, she realises she’s not actually invincible. However the whole small-town thing is a bit tired. We all know that being in a small town where there have been recent dangers is never a good thing.
Although I was slating Savannah at the start of this post there are areas in which she does actually make an attempt to mature. She’s never been a fan of humans yet she finds herself developing feelings for one and when he dies she’s actually quite upset. This romantic interest also sees her trying to move on from Adam, the half-demon she’s been falling for since she was first introduced to the story. I actually quite like that little bit of interaction, at these points she seems more relatable and when the guy dies it comes as a surprise, you really don’t expect it.
You don’t really expect Leah O’Donnell to be the main bad guy either. I mean, with the fact that she’s dead you would usually expect that to put a stop to her days of scheming. But it seems she’s found a way of breaching the hell dimensions and interacting with the living world, it’s a good thing then that a combination of Savannah’s awesome power and angelic mummy dearest, Eve Levine, making an appearance when it counts most put a stop to Leah’s plans.
Despite all of this the biggest surprise comes at the end when Savannah, powerful witch that she is, loses her powers. We are as shocked as she when it occurs.*SPOILERS OVER*
Yet for all the good about this book it is overshadowed by one thing. It doesn’t end. It’s just like The Darkest Powers and Darkness Rising trilogies. None of those books ended and that was so annoying. I like closure at the end of books, even in a series. An ending should, of course, answer some questions and, unless it’s the end of the series, it should give us something to make us read further. And in those trilogies and in this book there is no definite ending, hardly any closure. I just hope that 13 won’t be the same as the Darkest Powers trilogy since there was no proper ending to it.
If The Women of the Otherworld series ends without an end I will be so annoyed.