Saturday, July 12, 2008

“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…
The Summoning is Kelley Armstrong’s first YA novel and the beginning of a new trilogy called The Darkest Powers. Kelley is known for her Women of the Otherworld series of urban fantasies (I am a big fan) and it seems that this series will share the same world view that includes the possibility of half-demons, sorcerers, necromancers, shamans and shape shifters. Chloe is of course unaware of this secret preternatural community and is devastated by her looming future of mental illness. The story introduces us to her cast of characters at a slow leisurely pace filling in their back stories and relationships. Slowly crumbs of the truth emerge about the nature of Lyle House and its residents.

This is very much a setup novel preparing the way for others in the series. The Summoning is left at a huge cliffhanger that makes the novel up to that point seem a mere preamble to the main event. Not sure if this was Ms. Armstrong’s intent or the publishers forcing her to split a larger story for the usual economic reasons. I’d hate to think it was because they think the attention span of a YA audience is limited. I would recommend waiting for the next companion volume (Book 2 – The Awakening) to be released and read them together.

A special website just for this series has been created at is a commercial promoting the book.


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