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Review: The Summoning

The Summoning
by Kelley Armstrong

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Release Date: July 1, 2008
Publisher: HarperTeen
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: Library Check-Out
Rating: Special Shelf
About the Book:

After years of frequent moves following her mother’s death, Chloe Saunders’s life is finally settling down. She is attending art school, pursuing her dreams of becoming a director, making friends, meeting boys. Her biggest concern is that she’s not developing as fast as her friends are. But when puberty does hit, it brings more than hormone surges. Chloe starts seeing ghosts–everywhere, demanding her attention. After she suffers a breakdown, her devoted aunt Lauren gets her into a highly recommended group home.

At first, Lyle House seems a pretty okay place, except for Chloe’s small problem of fearing she might be facing a lifetime of mental illness. But as she gradually gets to know the other kids at the home–charming Simon and his ominous, unsmiling brother Derek, obnoxious Tori, and Rae, who has a “thing” for fire–Chloe begins to realize that there is something that binds them all together, and it isn’t your usual “problem kid” behaviour. And together they discover that Lyle House is not your usual group home either...
Twelve Years Earlier... Mommy forgot to warn the new babysitter about the basement...

None of the hype wrapped snugly around the Darkest Powers series could've prepared me for the darkly edged mystery, the quick-paced plot, and the band of teen characters passed off as mere crazies that no paranormal fiction reader should do without! From the appetizer of the story, in which a teeny-tiny Chloe is lured into the basement of her house by something sinister, to the action-rampant, sinfully addictive full course, Armstrong tossed me into a supernatural world that held me as much captive as the characters turn out to be by the work of the operators of Lyle House. The entire series itself is so powerfully hooking that there is absolutely no way to avoid extending out a hand with an expectant, More, please, which comes out sounding less like a tentative question and more like a resounding demand.

Normally, Chloe Saunders would be the last fictional girl in the world I would choose as the lead to an explosive paranormal series such as this. But, as I progressed through the story, I realized that there would've been no one more perfect. Chloe goes through a stage of genuine denial about the ghosts she's seeing - it doesn't help that the "experts" at Lyle House are persuading her to believe that there is something psychologically unbalanced at the root of her behavior, her "hallucinations." However, as the pieces begin to fit, Chloe begins to believe in what she's been otherwise enforced to dismiss. I like a girl who can keep her wits about her in a brutal situation, who can formulate her own opinion, make up her own mind based on the evidence given. She's not stupid in the least. At first glance Chloe is a self-proclaimed Plain Jane with a yearning to be something more exciting (a relatable wish), but she's smart and, over the course of the book, she develops some spine.

Unraveling the deeply disturbing mystery of Lyle House and the kids' connection to their ominous captors while simultaneously  being introduced to the other characters is as entertaining and riveting as a soap opera, as dangerous and creepy as a murder mystery novel/movie, with minor (perfect) touches of teen drama you can only find in your average American television drama series. A jealous girl quick to exact predictable revenge in surprising ways, eerie adults waiting and watching every move being made, and unknown consequences for misbehavior that give off waves of untold horrors make for an irresistible plot line and an unbidden desire for answers that compels you to move through the book swiftly!

There is no immediate romance, and I don't mean instalove. There are romantic interests of a kind, but no romance is introduced in this book. Still, the name Derek being passed around in squees and shouts between bloggers around the blogosphere was enough to coax me to read these books. And because I obtained some pre-knowledge on this area of the novels, boundless excitement for the romance to play out hummed throughout my time reading the book and it's sequels.

The Summoning is a flawless kick-off to the electrifying Darkest Powers series, and in my eagerness to read more, I forgot to note favorite parts in the book before returning this book to my library. This book is so amazing, though, that I'm almost certain I would've wanted to copy and paste the whole book! This is a series that, if you haven't by now (a minor setback, really), must be taken up and read immediately!


Geo said...

I love this series! I wish there had been more of it. I mucho love Derek <3

A. Knight said...

Yeah, i think that's why I'm so anxious to get to The Gathering. I need more of Armstrong's fabulous writing!

LoriStrongin said...

Oh hell, I'm freaked just by reading this review! Any time there's a forbidden basement or attic, you gotta know nothing good's gonna come out of exploring it. And, of course, we're gonna explore it...

Sounds good though, but a book that's gonna make me keep the lights on for a couple of days!


A. Knight said...

Hi, Lori! When it comes to the prologue, yeah that was a little creepy. And the same with some of the other ghostly surprises, but it's not too bad for the easily scared.

SQT said...

I have been meaning to get to this series forever. I love Armstrong's Women of the Underworld so I'm sure I'd love this too.

Erica said...

I super loved this one - so much fun to read :)

A. Knight said...

SQT- Everyone seems to love SOMETHING of Kelley Armstrong, so I couldn't help but want to pick this series up. And it was so worth it.

Erica- *high fives* You bet.

Brodie said...

Oh curse you and your incredible freaking review. I thought I had my whole TBR figured out and now you RUIN it by making me want to read this right now!! I was excited, but not expecting something SO amazing. Chloe souds like a brilliant heroine and I kinda like thr fact that there's no immediate romance. Steamy kisses I swoon for, but I love when bonds are slowly developed and a romance creeps unsuspecting upon you and the characters.

Cannot wait to start this. I have The Summoning, The Awakening and also The Gathering in my bookshelf, so SOON is as good a time as any to dive in. Thanks for incraesing my squee-levels :D

Brodie said...

UGH. This is like, the second or third time I have left a comment on your blog with numerous typos. I only spot them when I press publish and it annoys the heck out of me LOL. I type too fast for my brain and rely way too heavily on spellcheck... which I obviously don't use on comments haha.

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