13 March 2010

The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong

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…
I didn't know quite what to expect when I picked this one up.  What I found was a story that was unique and intriguing.  While there were a few downsides -- like how much of a girl Chloe could be and how the "problem kid" stuff doesn't really get played up enough -- it was made up for by the total creep factor of the plot.

The best part of this story was the horror.  I'm not a horror fan.  I'm way too suggestible to be able to handle horror.  There was one particular scene where I was literally frozen in my seat, unable to move, terrified of the events unfolding on the page in front of me.  Even though I don't necessarily enjoyed being scared of something completely and utterly fictitious, I could appreciate that Kelley Armstrong was talented enough to pull such a reaction from a reader.

Despite the lack of a romance, the plot made up for it.  There were constantly shifts and twists and most of the time, no one had a clue what was going on.  Kelley Armstrong put a strong, flowing plot together that really complimented the world and put up a struggle for the characters.

My only issue was Chloe and how she had more than one irritating moment.  The moment she got to Lyle House, she just wanted to get out of there, which is understandable, but I was expecting that to be a longing, not a goal, especially after her "friend" disappears.  She also does quite a few stupid things that just had me going, "Really?!  You're going to follow the creepy guy into a dark space?  Really!?"  (That was a hypothetical example, people.  Not a direct one from the book.)  Chloe just had me rolling my eyes at some points, but at others, I totally cheered for her.

I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys a good horror novel.

Book Info

  • pages - hardcover, 390
  • publisher - HarperTeen
  • genre - urban fantasy
  • rating - 4/5
  • series - Darkest Powers
    • The Summoning
    • The Awakening
    • The Reckoning