Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Challenge Review: The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong

Title: The Summoning
Series: Darkest Powers Trilogy #1
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Genre: Supernatural Fictions, Young Adult Fiction
Elements: Necromancers, Werewolves, Sorcerers, Witches, Ghosts, Demons, Zombies
Publisher: Harper Teen, Harper Collins
Format: Hardcover, 390 Pages
ISBN: 978-0-06-166269-0
Release Date: July 1, 2008
Source: Borrowed from Wentworth Library
Rating: 4.5/5

Tagline(s): ~NONE~

Summary: My name is Chloe Saunders and my life will never be the same again.

All I wanted was to make friends, meet boys, and keep on being ordinary. I don't even know what that means anymore. It all started on the day that I saw my first ghost--and the ghost saw me.

Now there are ghosts everywhere and they won't leave me alone. To top it all off, I somehow got myself locked up in Lyle House, a "special home" for troubled teens. Yet the home isn't what it seems. Don't tell anyone, but I think there might be more to my housemates than meets the eye. The question is, whose side are they on? It's up to me to figure out the dangerous secrets behind Lyle House...before its skeletons come back to haunt me.


Chloe Saunders just wanted to be normal. But when she sees her first ghost, she knows nothing will be normal again--least of all herself. Now she's been sent to Lyle House, a home for troubled teens. There, the doctors tell her she's schizophrenic, while the other residents tell her she's a necromancer with the power to communicate with and raise the dead. Which is true, she doesn't know, but she does know that there is something not right about Lyle House and its residents are more than they seem...

Meet the younger generation of supernaturals residing in the world of Kelley Armstrong's Women of the Otherworld in her Young Adult trilogy, The Darkest Powers.

In The Summoning, Chloe is a 15-year-old high school sophomore with great ambitions of being a movie screenwriter and director. But that dream comes to a screeching halt when she starts see ghosts and has a total freakout in the hallway of her school. Now she's being sent to a home for troubled teens! Lyle House seems on the up-and-up, but Chloe has been hearing whispers that suggest otherwise.

With the help of housemates Simon and Derek, Chloe uses her abilities as a necromancer to learn from those who lived in Lyle House before them--and died, of course--that Lyle House was owned by Samuel Lyle. He did unspeakably evil and horrible experiments on other supernaturals. Samuel Lyle was a sorcerer using dark magic on those supernaturals he lured to him, offering them a better life. Most stayed far away from the sorcerer and his house, but there were those who were beguiled by his words of hope.

Once they realize that it's not a coincidence that Lyle House is full of supernatural teens, Derek, Simon, and Chloe plan to escape and search for Simon's father. But housemates Rae and Tori learn of the escape plan too. One wants to tag along and the other betrays them into the hands of those running Lyle House. Now the race to escape is on. Who can be trusted when your own family betrays you?

I loved Chloe as the heroine of this series. She starts off like a scared little girl, but quickly becomes a young woman who takes crap from no one. We get a glimpse of the kind of woman she'll become. I liked that she has dreams and ambitions--she's not a heroine who is just drifting along not knowing what she wants in life. Chloe is a smart girl and she shows it. I was most surprised by her great sense of humor and sarcastic wit. And finally, liked that though she was scared of Derek when she first met him, she quickly grows a backbone when it comes to him and doesn't back down when he gets in her face.

Chloe's power as a necromancer is more advanced than is normal for someone her age. When she communicated with one of the ghosts in Lyle House, he said that her power is too strong, too much, too soon, and unnatural. And when Chloe asked another of the Lyle House ghosts if she was in danger, she said, "You're a supernatural. You're always in danger." I'd say that Chloe has a lot to worry about, but at least she's not alone.

Simon and Derek are two of my other favorite characters besides Chloe. Simon is a sorcerer and Derek is a werewolf. Being foster brothers, and knowing the danger they are in, they are pretty tight and don't really trust anyone else. But for some reason Chloe is different--I would love to read their first meeting for the guys POV to see what they thought of her--and when they realize that she's in just as much danger, they let her in and protect her. There are definite signs of a love triangle forming.

The prologue to The Summoning sets the tone for the whole book. We have a young Chloe who is left with a babysitter who doesn't know that she's not allowed in the basement. Chloe knows that she's not to go down into the basement, but the babysitter is asking her to come down and help her look for the Coke. Chloe hopes that if she can get the Coke and run back upstairs before Mrs. Hobb sees her. No such luck. When Chloe turns around to go back upstairs, Mrs. Hobb is there, her death replaying over and over while she's standing there smiling at Chloe, all the while the babysitter is upstairs screaming Chloe's name, trying to find her. The first thing Mrs. Hobb says to her is, "Welcome back, Chloe."

How creepy is that? This prologue sets a dark undertone to the story. The foreboding just screams something bad is going to happen. The Summoning and the Darkest Powers is definitely one of the darker YA series out there.

Book Trailer: 

About this Author: 

Kelley Armstrong has been telling stories since before she could write. Her earliest written efforts were disastrous. If asked for a story about girls and dolls, hers would invariably feature undead girls and evil dolls, much to her teachers' dismay. All efforts to make her produce "normal" stories failed.

Today, she continues to spin tales of ghosts and demons and werewolves, while safely locked away in her basement writing dungeon. She's the author of the NYT-bestselling "Women of the Otherworld" paranormal suspense series and "Darkest Powers" young adult urban fantasy trilogy, as well as the Nadia Stafford crime series. Armstrong lives in southwestern Ontario with her husband, kids and far too many pets.


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