Thursday, 7 March 2013

Kelley Armstrong – The Summoning (2/5)

Series: Darkest Powers Trilogy #1


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Genre: YA Fantasy

This is the book for you if you like:

- Characters discovering their gifts for the first time

Summary: (from author’s website)

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?

Thoughts on covers:

I’m not a big fan of any of the covers. The first suggest the necklace is a central plot point, while it’s just something that’s mentioned in two scenes and the third one is so generic I would never pick it up. I almost like the middle cover, the German one, because I love the colouring, but I feel like the fact on that cover is weird. I don’t know.


The title does a pretty good job of describing the focal point of the story, so it’s an okay title.


Where do I start? I felt like none of these characters had actual personalities, not even Chloe – and the book is written in the first POV. Chloe is just there; this story is happening to her and she’s trying to react to it, but she’s not really doing anything. I still don’t really know what her characteristics are; I would have no idea how to describe her.

The other people at Lyle House are, if possible, even worse; they all seem to have one characteristic – Derek is blunt, Simon is protective, Tori is a bitch, Rae is childishly excited – without any other signs of having a personality.


The story is mostly set at Lyle House, the centre for disturbed teens where Chloe ends up after she starts seeing ghosts. The building is a pretty generic one; a creepy basement, a creepy attic and rooms for the kids in between, boys and girls divided. It’s nothing special.

General story:

One day, Chloe suddenly starts seeing ghosts; she freaks out at school and gets send away. Diagnosis: schizophrenia. It would have been interesting to see how she handles the diagnosis, or the confusion about whether she’s seeing ghosts or hallucinating, but we don’t get to see any of Chloe’s inner turmoil.

Instead, it immediately turns into a story about how Derek knew what Chloe could do and he – not very subtly – urges her to find out about her powers. Again, this could be an interesting story, but suddenly there is this conspiracy about Lyle House and its caretakers. There is little development about Chloe getting used to her powers or what she can do; she’s suddenly swooped up in the story of Simon and Derek, a story that wasn’t that interesting to begin with.

Chloe and Derek develop a plan for Chloe and Simon to escape Lyle House and find Derek and Simon’s father. I wish we had known more about their father and how he could help before they escaped, because now it just felt like a useless exercise – especially with the way this book ended.

There could be this great story here. Unfortunately, instead of focussing on the characters and their feelings, Armstrong focuses on the plot – which is, to be honest, quite predictable and thus loses most of its impact.

Will I read the other instalments in this series? Nope

Overall rating: 2/5

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