The Summoning (Darkest Power #1) by Kelley Armstrong
Hardback, First U.S. Edition
Release Date: July 1, 2008 from HarperTeens
Best Enjoyed by: Females, Ages 14 and Up
Chloe Saunders just wants to be a normal teenage girl, having friends and maybe even a boyfriend. But when you start seeing ghosts and are locked up at a home for mentally ill teenagers, things like “ordinary” and “normal” are hard to come by.
But Lyle House does seem almost normal. The patients carry out life as ordinarily as possible and Chloe tries to do the same. However, that changes when her roommate is sent to the hospital and Chloe begins to wonder if all is what it seems at the house. Determined to find out what is going on, Chloe unearths a deadly secret that may seal her—and her housemates’—fates.
When the first sentence to a book is, “Mommy forgot to warn the new babysitter about the basement,” you know you’re in for a dark, twisted journey. I was reminded of those creepy horror movies with little girls. And The Summoning definitely has some horror aspects going on.
Chloe is a great main character. First off, she’s short and feisty, so she’s a lot like me (without the whole I-see-dead-people talent though). She also wants to be a film director, so she often explains scenes as if she was shooting them, which really adds to the scenery Kelley Armstrong “paints” with her words. Chloe is a very convincing teenager and stays true to her age, which was refreshing.
I am also 98% Team Derek (the other 2% is for Simon, who can sometimes be cute). But really, the whole cast of characters were done so well, evil or not aside. The similarities between the mental ward and high school were rather ironic, or so I thought. I also really loved Kelley Armstrong’s writing. It just seemed to echo Chloe really well and brought the story to life. She added a lot of surprising things as well, which really compelled me to keep reading.
As said before, The Summoning is a bit creepy. While there’s nothing that really got me hiding under my covers, those who are very easily scared might find this frightening, so I’m just going to caution you. A few scenes will definitely make your heart race a bit and there’s a lot of action. I should also note that if you’re looking for a fantasy where romance plays a major role, you’ll be disappointed (at least for the first book).
There were two things I disliked about The Summoning. First, the ending was too abrupt for me. It was like I was riding a train and suddenly it just stopped and I was lurched into nowhere. However, cliff hangers do build more anticipation for the next book (The Awakening, which is out now) so I can see why authors do it. The minor thing I disliked was the description in the sidejacket of the hardback edition. I thought it could have been so much better, especially since it started out with, “My name is Chloe Saunders and my life will never be the same again.” Very unoriginal and I think some might be turned off by it and not read such a good book.
Overall, this will appeal mostly to fans of YA fantasy, and especially those who like Holly Black, Melissa Marr, and Cassandra Clare. The Summoning is a dark, creepy book that requires the sequel, The Awakening, to be near because you won’t want to slip away from the world Armstrong has created. I definitely recommend this.