Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Summoning Review

Title: The Summoning
Series: Darkest Powers
Book #: One

Authors: Kelley Armstrong
Pages: 390
Published: 2008
Reading Level: Young Adult

What if you could see dead people? And they could see you?

Chloe Saunders sees dead people. Yes, like in the films. The problem is, in real life saying you see ghosts gets you a one-way ticket to the psych ward. And at 15, all Chloe wants to do is fit in at school and maybe get a boy to notice her.

But when a particularly violent ghost haunts her, she gets noticed for all the wrong reasons. Her seemingly crazed behaviour earns her a trip to Lyle House, a centre for 'disturbed teens'. At first Chloe is determined to keep her head down. But then her room mate disappears after confessing she has a poltergeist, and some of the other patients also seem to be manifesting paranormal behaviour. Could that be a coincidence? Or is Lyle House not quite what it seems...?

Chloe realizes that if she doesn't uncover the truth, she could be destined for a lifetime in a psychiatric hospital. Or could her fate be even worse...? Can she trust her fellow students, and does she dare reveal her dark secret?

Amber's thoughts:
This book is quite original in its portrayal of the dead and those who see ghosts. The main character isn't a possessed child living in a haunted mansion. Chloe is just your average, insecure, awkward fifteen year-old girl. This made the plot more realistic. It also made it easier to relate to the characters.

Chloe did begin to bother me after the first couple of chapters. To the reader, the truth is obvious; Chloe can see dead people. Chloe refuses to believe this and lives in denial for the first fifteen chapters or so. But a little after I was halfway through, everything changed. The story finally began to really  pick up pace. Before I knew it, I was totally addicted to the book. I read every chance I could. I think my friends were getting annoyed with me. One of my book-lover friends actually walked around school with her nose stuck in this book! 

While it does take a long time for Armstrong to set the stage, once the you reach the midway point, the story unfolds rapidly. I now realize that the author was building her characters, and that is something I can really appreciate. 

Let me make a recommendation: if you should choose to give this book a try (which I highly recommend), make sure that you have the sequel on hand. There's a bit of a cliff hanger at the end. I get the feeling that the second book will be even better than the  first, now that the story is rapidly unfolding. 


Melissa (i swim for oceans) said...

Great review...I've heard good things about this, but I've yet to read it :)

Emma (the Expat) said...

Thank you for reviewing this- I've been a little reluctant to read Kelley Armstrong for pretty much no good reason, and this sounds like the perfect book to start with. (Also, thanks for the warning about the slow beginning.)

Kari Olson said...

I loved both this book and The Awakening. I really want the next book already.... =/