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Bookends: Teenagers face the menace of werewolves and actual wolves November 25, 2014

Posted by klondykewriter in Bookends, Uncategorized.
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Bookends: Teenagers face the menace of werewolves and actual wolves

By Dan Davidson

April 9, 2014

– 909 words –

 

The ReckoningThe Reckoning

By Kelly Armstrong

Doubleday Canada

400 pages

$12.95

 

The Reckoning concludes the Darkest Powers Trilogy, in which three young people with supernatural abilities are on the run from a group that wants to either exploit them or terminate them.

Chloe, the narrator, is a necromancer, which in this version of magic is a person who has the power to communicate with spirits, animate corpses and cause the two to be reunited. She can also banish ghosts and send them to where ever they go next.

Simon is a minor spellcaster who is just beginning to master some of his abilities and really has to work at it, unlike Victoria, whose amped up abilities do not even require her to use spoken spells.

Derek is the final member of the group. As a human he is large for his age, but more importantly he is a werewolf approaching the first of his transformations, and concerned about what kind of beast he may become when he shapeshifts.

The four have been on the run from a special school run by the Edison Group, the organization responsible for the genetic experiments that have given three of the four of them enhanced abilities.

At the end of the second book they found sanctuary with a group consisting of former members of Edison who have come to feel that the group has gone too far in its breeding experiments. While the renegade group wants to help the teens at first, they eventually become scared of them and betray them to Edison.

Captive at Edison’s headquarters, it turns out to be Chloe’s abilities which are the most crucial in freeing them from captivity, though all the others play their parts. In this section of the book a whole new layer of supernatural creatures is dimly (but loudly) revealed, seemingly part of the Otherworld that Armstrong has used in her adult books about werewolves, witches and demonic plots.

A good portion of the trilogy has involved the relationship triangle of Chloe, Simon and Derek, and that is resolved in this final book. Actually the most dramatic character arc belongs, I think, to Tori, who grows from her origins as a spoiled, spiteful brat into a caring person who holds her own in the struggle against the forces of nastiness.

 

Devil’s PassDevil's Pass

By Sigmund Brouwer

Orca Book Publishers

237 pages

$9.95

 

Devil’s Pass is a third book in “Seven, the Series”. Jim Webb is another of David McLean’s grandsons, one of seven, who has been left a task to perform, and the money to perform it, by his grandfather. The elder McLean lived a full life all over the world, but left items on his bucket list incomplete at the end of it. He planned a quest for each of the lads, something that would not only complete his unfinished business, but also provide them with a growth experience. He has also provided them with people who will assist then on their journeys, but the exact nature of their help is kept secret.

For Webb, who has been living on the streets in Toronto since his stepfather, Elliot, poisoned his formerly happy home and threatened to hurt his mother if he didn’t run away, this means a trip to the Norman Wells, NWT, and a long hike on the Canol Road. Jim, named for songwriter Jimmy Webb, carries with him his Gibson J-45 guitar, with which he has been earning a meager living busking for some months now.

The structure of this novel is different than the first two I read, though all the adventures take place in about the same time frame, so it doesn’t matter what order you read them in. They all have to contain the reading of the will and viewing of McLean’s video in the lawyer’s office, and they all have a series of letters that the grandfather has written to explain the task.

Webb is given minimal instructions, and this adventure is a bit more of a thriller than the first two I read. On his journey Webb has to deal with a man who is the image of his abusive stepdad, and with two German tourists who try to give him a hard time after he cleans up their messes along the trail. There is also a wolf.

In Norman Wells, he falls afoul of a nasty piece of work named Brent, who is abusing the woman he’s with. There are two confrontations with him in that town and then another out in the bush. All three work out badly for Brent, but the third one is a near thing for both of them.

Webb has been given directions to a specific location off the Canol trail, and there he finds the remains of a man who had been killed back in the 1940s when his grandfather was part of the US Military crew that worked on building the road.

Webb has a secondary task after his journey north, and that is to return to the family of the dead man and tell them what happened to him. They never knew. Then, with the help of some research McLean had done on Elliot, he is off to set things right with his mother. We are not told that story, but we have no trouble imagining how it will work out.

 

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