The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong
published by DoubleDay (Canada), Harper Teens (USA) and Little Brown Sphere (UK) in July 2008
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?
Genre: urban fantasy, YA
Series: The Darkest Powers, book #1
The Story: Chloe Saunders is 15 years old and has the usual worries of a teenage girl: boys, school, club/hobby and first periods... Then, she starts to see people that nobody sees. While trying to run away from a burnt custodian in school, she hits a teacher and is thus sent to the Lyle House, a centre for 'disturbed teens' for evaluation. There, she meets Liz, Victoria, Rae and foster brothers Simon and Derek. While some are moody and others, unsocial... none seem to be 'crazy' or 'sick.' Does she really belong there? What about all the ghosts she sees? Is Lyle House only a centre... or more?
My Opinion: Loved it. LOL :) I thought it was a great idea that Ms Armstrong had, to explore supernatural teens coming into their powers. She did give us a hint when she wrote the short stories (Adam, Logan), but to have a full-fledged book is even better :D
So far, I really enjoyed the characters. Chloe is a good heroine. She's smart and has a head on her shoulders. She's also normal (well as normal as you can be when you start seeing ghosts)... she has some friends, isn't overly popular and is quite mature for a 15 y.o. girl. She lost her mother when she was a young kid and her father gives her money, if not affection and attention. I have to say, I'm curious to see how her relationship with her father is going to turn out... in the book, she mentions that her father probably hadn't want any kid, but he loves her mother so much... He's not very affectious and attentive to her needs and was actually out of the country. However, he did fly back as soon as he heard Chloe was in trouble.
My other favorite character is Derek... I guess because he reminds me so much of Clay LOL :) Of course, nobody can be as anti-social as Clay... but Derek is doing his best :) Simon is the happy-go-lucky boy. I like the loyalty there is between Simon and Derek and how they stick together and think of the other first. I think there might be some kind of love triangle between Derek, Simon and Chloe in the future... I hope it won't mess their brotherhood... The other characters are quite interesting and each is different. It's interesting to see that most don't know WHAT they are and their struggle with their problems.
Should you read the Women of the Otherworld series before reading this trilogy? No. Ms Armstrong does a good job incorporating the information readers need without overwhelming us. However, I think it's a bonus if you've read it. While I was reading The Summoning, I kept trying to figure out what they were and that was great fun. By the way, if anyone has an idea on Victoria, let me know... I have a theory, but am not quite sure :P For those who have read Ms Amstrong's Women of the Otherworld series, you'll recognize her style in The Summoning. Seriously, you get the same feel of mystery and wonder and it's great.
So far, the plot is quite strong and the intrigue, quite interesting. Some stuff, I didn't expect :) If you've enjoyed the Women of the Otherworld books, I'm sure you're going to enjoy The Summoning as well. Of course, the storyline has been adjusted to the audience (less violence, less romance); however, I don't think the plot was simplified at all. Ms Armstrong did a great job setting up for the next 2 books and I just can't wait to read book 2... however, I haven't found any information on it. My only concern is Chloe's power... she sounds very, very powerful... perhaps too much?
Ms Armstrong mentioned that The Darkest Powers storyline won't intersect with the Women of the Otherworld series... however, I can't help but wish that in the future, Chloe and cie will appear in the Women of the Otherworld series (hoping that the series will be extended)...
My Grade: A-. A solid first book that I truly enjoyed :D Now, anyone knows when book 2 is coming out?