Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Summoning

The Summoning (Darkest Powers Series)
by Kelley Armstrong
400 pages

“I wasn’t Chloe Saunders, sheltered art-school girl anymore. I wasn’t even Chloe Saunders, Schizophrenic. If Chloe Saunders, necromancer, followed the old rules, she could wind up in a padded cell, ranting about the voices no one else could hear.”

Summary: The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong is the first of the Darkest Powers series about a girl named Chloe who can talk to ghosts. After seeing her first ghost at her high school Chloe is sent to a group home and diagnosed with schizophrenia, which she is happy to accept in light of the option of being able to see and hear ghosts. However, the ghosts keep trying to communicate and when one of the girls at the group home goes missing Chloe starts really questioning what is happening to her. Aided by two brothers in the group home Chloe begins to understand her gift and embrace it. She soon learns that the group home is not as normal as she thought, and could really be a dangerous place for supernatural like her and the other kids.

Review: The Summoning is both a new and old story. In a world dominated by vampires and zombies it is nice to have a good old-fashioned ghost story. I thought Armstrong did a good job at developing the characters, especially Chloe. Chloe struggling with the idea of being schizophrenic really added a lot to the character and to the storyline. I thought the group home was a great setting and the other characters fascinating. Despite the kids at the group home being unique in their powers, the book does shine light on some real aspects of what living in those types of places can be like, as well as how people feel about being there. At its root the book is also a coming of age story with themes that apply outside the supernatural genre such as physical changes, puberty, friendship, problems with authority and trying to figure out who you are. At times the pacing of the book was rather slow, however it was necessary to set the stage for the big plot twist and cliff hanger. I did not really appreciate the book until near the ending, but having it all come together made it irresistable to read. I cannot wait to read the sequel.

Other books by Kelley Armstrong: Bitten, the Awakening, Haunted, Living with the Dead.

If you liked reading about ghosts you might also enjoy: Kit’s Wilderness by David Almond, The Presence by Eve Bunting, All the Lovely Bad Ones by Mary Downing Hahn, Restless by Rich Wallace, A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb.

If you enjoy reading a supernatural romance, you might also like: Glass Houses by Rachel Caine, Twilight Series by Stephenie Meyer, House of Night Series by P.C Cast, Blue Bloods by Melissa De La Cruz, Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause.

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