The Reckoning - Kelley Armstrong "You know children, always playing with the forces of darkness."

Last we left them, Chloe and her former roommates at Lloyd House--Derek, Simon, and Tori--were being transported to Andrew's safe house. Now that they are there, they desperately seek to save Aunt Lauren and Rae, who are still in the Edison Group Laboratory that Chloe and Tori had escaped from in "The Awakening". But there are strange occurrences, and Chloe isn't sure whom they can trust.

I Liked:
I've been waiting months to get my hands on the paperback copy of "The Reckoning" ever since I whipped through the amazing "The Summoning" and "The Awakening". And this is a decent sequel.
Our characters remain as brilliant and loveable as last time. Chloe is a resourceful girl, witty, brave, and yet sometimes awkward and not all powerful. She mostly relies on her brains to solve solutions, instead of her superpowers (which, while impressive, still aren't the most useful at times). Derek is still gruff, selflessly trying to ensure the safety of Chloe and Simon, while sometimes struggling with himself and his feelings. I really liked Chloe and Derek together. Chloe really puts Derek in his place when he goes overboard in the protection department, while Derek is truly trying to make sure she is safe in his own awkward way. Simon is still as funny and charming as ever. Tori is really fascinating; of all the characters, she is probably the most powerful and has some of the most useful abilities (at least, in a battle!). She is abrasive, sometimes rude, and sometimes selfish, but when she curls into a ball and cries, I want to cry with her. She definitely is not your stereotypical mean b!tch.
After about the halfway point, the action ramps up to the levels we saw in the previous books. Chloe is continuously learning more about her powers; Derek gets to learn more about his. We have some nice, intense fight scenes, some good chase scenes, and, of course, a few good escape scenes.

I Didn't Like:
Was it the fact I read it so long after the last two books? Was it the fact that I wasn't in the same "groove" when I read the last two books? I don't know, but I did find this book had a few hiccups.
Firstly, the Romantic Triangle. Yeah, you knew I was going to talk about it. There was one in the background of the earlier books, but it wasn't the primary focus, and I felt it was decently done. Here, however, the Romantic Plot Triangle takes up the first 150 or so pages. Not my cup of tea. I would much rather have had the team doing something than to have to watch Simon and Chloe go on a date and all the rigmarole that goes along with being a teen in love (apparently, I never experienced any such drama in my teenaged years, but that is a pathetic, miserable, boring story well out of the scope of this review).
But even when not discussing the Romantic Triangle, the first 200 pages go absolutely nowhere. The team hangs around the safe house. That is literally all that happens. Oh, there are points when you think something happens, but those end up being dropped or don't go anywhere. For instance, there is an interesting sequence in the opening with a ghost going after Chloe, but what the purpose of this was, I have no clue. There's also a scene where Chloe inadvertently shows off her extreme necromancy powers in a cemetery, but, again, not quite sure what this told that couldn't have been relayed elsewhere in a way that kept the plot moving forward. There was a point where Chloe and gang investigate the former owners of the house, but that goes nowhere (including that ghost that won't leave her alone). There was something about a Dr. Banks, but none of it really makes a whole lot of sense and I'm not sure why it was included.
In fact, there are a lot of places where I was confused beyond belief. Again, maybe it was because I hadn't read the previous books recently, but it almost seemed that Armstrong was changing her mind about who was the ultimate bad guy. First, it was the Edison Group, then Margaret, then Russell, then Gwen, then something about Cabals (perhaps this is included in her adult books, which I haven't read yet)...after a while, I gave up and just read.
Some of the fight scenes I found hard to visualize, such as the one between Derek and the werewolves. Of course, again, maybe this was because I wasn't in the "groove".
And the final complaint I have is about the ending. I had expected it to be somewhat open-ended (there is a new trilogy after all), but definitely not this open-ended. I won't spoil, but I had hoped for a bit more of a "happily ever after". Instead, it almost feels like this ending is just BEGGING for sequels. If they are good sequels, great, but if not...

Dialogue/Sexual Situations/Violence:
The cursing is light, but expect a lot of b!tch's and a few da**'s.
Several adults think that Derek and Chloe are sneaking away to make out. Chloe goes on a date. A ghost makes some lecherous remarks.
Our main character is a necromancer, so expect a lot of zombies and rotting corpses. Several characters get bludgeoned, there are plenty of fights complete with nice, bloody wounds.

It's a decent sequel, but, in my opinion, nowhere near as good as the first two. Our characters remain as great as ever, but Romantic Plot Triangle, a slow beginning, and confusing turn of events make this a bit harder to get through. Also, if you don't like your stories open-ended, you will probably not like this. I should probably rate this 3, but for the good memories of the previous book, I will round up to 4.