September 14, 2011

Review: The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong

read first nine chapters here
Series: Darkest Powers 1
Format: Hardbound
Release Date: July 1, 2008
Source: YA, PNR
Purchase Link: Amazon

My name is Chloe Saunders and my life will never be the same again.

All I wanted was to make friends, meet boys, and keep on being ordinary. I don't even know what that means anymore. It all started on the day that I saw my first ghost - and the ghost saw me.

Now there are ghosts everywhere and they won't leave me alone. To top it all off, I somehow got myself locked up in Lyle House, a "special home" for troubled teens. Yet the home isn't what it seems. Don't tell anyone, but I think there might be more to my housemates than meets the eye. The question is, whose side are they on? it's up to me to figure out the dangerous secrets behind Lyle House...before its skeletons come back to haunt me.

The first of the Darkest Powers Trilogy, the story is told in the POV of Chloe Saunders. Schizophrenic by day, necromancer by night.

This is the first Kelley Armstrong that I've read and now I know I have to read her Otherworld series. Why? Because she writes wonderful imagery and between you and me, that counts a lot when it comes to non YA fiction.

Right off the bat we are given a short prologue of Chloe as a toddler talking to spirits in the basement. The description of those dead people scared me a little bit with their normal faces transforming into something insidious.

The characters are wonderful, just the right amount of teenager to make them palatable. Chloe is this stammering teenager who is still coming to terms with her powers. I would be too if I find out that I can raise the dead, not just see ghost but see and talk to them in the flesh just like those talking corpses in the now defunct show Pushing Daisies.

So Chloe and a couple of other special teenagers are confined, but more like imprisoned, in this looney bin called Lyle House. The house is ran by a team of Supernatural scientists whose motives are yet to be discovered... by me anyways. I felt claustrophobic the whole time I was reading the book plus it was reminiscent of Nightmare on Elm Street Dream Warriors with all these poor kids are trapped in a facility with these creepy nurses and administrators who pretends that they have their best interest at heart. They are diagnosed as "troubled" to hide the fact that they have special powers with the ultimate goal of possibly controlling them. The resident psychiatrist Dr. Gil and the lead doctor Dr. Davidoff made my skin crawl, their malice just leaps off the pages.

And her co-conspirators the brothers Simon (sorcerer) and Derek (werewolf) and Rae (half-demon firestarter), each have interesting backstories and special abilities I'm curious what their little band will try to pull off next. The best part is there's no sign of any forbidden love story from Chloe's end as far as book 1 is concerned. It's nice not be distracted by teenage love for a change so no angsty emoting thank you very much! Another hook is Liz, who was removed from the House but her disappearance is shady. Chloe can see her spirit but there is a question as to whether or not she's dead or in a coma somewhere, atral projecting.

The pace is not rushed nor does it drag. I also liked the villains, aside from the creepy doctors, Chloe's Aunt Lauren turned out to be this nefarious person. At first she's this mother figure only in the end she betrayed Chloe, masterminding her confinement to Lyle House. I got so worked up I was cursing the covers after I finished the book.

So I'll take a little break and calm down before I start The Awakening, obviously I got too involved with the story.

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