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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, and 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...
I've been a huge fan of Kelley Armstrong for years, but for some reason or another I have stopped reading her books with the same regularity. Therefore, shamefully I am hugely behind on picking up the Darkest Powers trilogy.
The summoning was a fantastic opening to a new YA series and Kelley Armstrong has managed to do what a lot of other adult authors haven't quite achieved - the effortless crossover from the adult market to the YA market.
I read this book over a rainy weekend when I wasn't feeling very well. It was the perfect sofa company and I struggled to put it down unfinished.
As with all of the Kelley Armstrong books I have ever read The Summoning was beautifully written and well paced. She is one author I'm always the teeniest tiniest bit jealous of her easily flowing prose.
This book wasn't perfect. I will admit that I thought the cliff hanger at the ending of The Summoning was a little bit predictable, or a LOT predictable. But I loved the beginning and in particular the setting in the weirder than weird institute for children that need some extra care. I'd love to tell you more about that facility but I'd be worried about giving away some of the secrets that you should really read for yourself.
I loved Chloe, she made a great main character. In fact I liked all the characters even if a few of the minor ones who were a bit on the bland side and weren't always given quite enough development. But my favourite character had to be the mysterious and slightly dangerous Derek (a fellow student at the institute) he was certainly the most interesting character to read about.
However, having said that it was definitely the world building and the overall story that made me want to read on and find out what was going to happen more than the characters necessarily drawing me in.
I know that this has been a bit of a mixed review. The Summoning contains a lot of elements that would usually have me saying - lots of potential just not followed through. But somehow it all just worked for me and I enjoyed the end result. Therefore my advice to you is read it, but just don't think too much about it. It's a great rainy day book when you just want something distracting and enjoyable but not overly taxing.
I'm looking forward to reading the next book - The Awakening.
To sum, I would definitely recommend The Summoning. However, bear in mind that it's not the best example of paranormal YA out there but it is great fun to read and I couldn't seem to put it down.
Overall, I enjoyed it. It was the perfect book when I just wanted something to keep me company and entertained. But so far the examples of Kelley Armstrong's YA books haven't been as strong as her adult series.
Five out of five stars.
Genre - YA, paranormal
Published by Orbit
Paperback 400 pages (£6.99)
Source - I purchased my copy of The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong
Kelley Armstrong; The summoning. 1st book in the Darkest Powers trilogy of young adult books. To be honest I was looking for a replacement for twilight when I read this, and at first I found it a little hard to get in to, but I persevered and I'm so glad that I did! The characters are easy to relate to and I found myself really caring about what happened to them. Chloe Saunders (Main character) has always had strange 'visions' (Think sixth sense!) but things come to a head when she is put in to a home called Lyle House that deals with mental problems etc. However, things are not all as they seem as she soon discovers that all of the other patients all have 'talents' that the institute are trying to supress. Chloe does make one particular enemy called Tori, but she does make some friends, brothers Derek and Simon, and soon they are plotting their escape.
I really enjoyed this book, it was exciting and at times quite scary! Would definitely recommend this and the rest of the trilogy!
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In a nutshell
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I've read and loved every book Kelley Armstrong has wrote to date, so naturally I had to have her young adult novels as well.
It's a great way for adult fans to get a glimpse into how the younger years of `Women Of The Otherworld' characters might have been. I especially love the character Jamie Vegas, so needless to say, I love this.
15 year old Chloe Saunders wakes up one day, gets her first period and starts to see dead people. Yep, just like that. Of course, everyone thinks she's nuts, so she's sent to `recover from her breakdown' at Lyle House, a home for mentally disturbed teens. She's soon diagnosed as a schizophrenic, but we know better. She is a necromancer.
Soon it becomes clear that the other teenaged patients aren't as entirely human as they seemed to Chloe at first either... What's really going on with Lyle House?
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`Young adult novel'. That phrase did make me nervous. I was half expecting to read about Daddy issues, the latest fashion and cute boys, but I can thankfully confirm that isn't the case here. In fact: THE SUMMONING is exactly like Kelley's adult books [the dark humour and gore boxes are still ticked], apart from milder language and lack of sex.
Many young adult books - naturally - have leading characters experiencing emotions that their target audience are going through; something that most adult readers have no desire to re-live. The author knows this, so Kira is self aware when it comes to those angsty moments, with a biting wit, that doesn't seem forced. It also helps that Chloe - the narrator - is not spoiled, whiny or controlled by her hormones. When she is in arguments she think about how she's coming across before answering, she doesn't avenge someone when she has cause to and she says boys are low on her list of concerns. She doesn't make my blood pressure shoot up to a dangerous level, so it's seem for older people to read too.
The mystery element is also well done. There are plenty of clues and red herrings, so I never was sure of anything until it happened.
So was there anything I didn't like? I finished this way too quickley... More please.
The Summoning - Kelley Armstrong
Young Chloe Saunders has a gift, and that makes her dangerous...
Yes, rather like the film 'Sixth Sense', Chloe Saunders, the main character and the character in which this book is written via her first person view, sees the dead. Unlike the film, she did not grow up knowing what she was seeing, and when it all suddenly comes into the light she is thrown into a home for those who are deemed with mental problems, though not all is as it seems.
The Summoning is the first book in a trilogy (Darkest Powers Trilogy) with the third book to the date of this review not out yet (Believe release date May 2010).
I don't want to let on too much without giving away the story, though I shall endeavor to enlighten you into the basic storyline of this book, enough to hopefully allow you to make up your mind whether it is your type of book or not before spending out the money to buy it.
At 15, Chloe has started to reach milestones that she (perhaps not many others) is proud of. Her first date to a dance, her first hair dye (in the school toilets!), her first minor break in...and her first period, and with this last one comes another first, one that changes her life forever. Chloe Saunders sees her first ghost.
Chloe doesn't understand what she is seeing, and by opening her mouth to what she has seen earns her a one way ticket to the local psychiatric ward, Lyle House - a home for 'disturbed teens'. Chloe is determined to keep her head down and get out of there, even believing the label of schizophrenic she is stamped with, though soon there is disruption within the house and fingers start pointing towards Chloe. After her room mate goes missing after claiming she has a poltergeist and other patients begin showing signs of the supernatural, Chloe and a few others start questioning whether Lyle house and its staff are all that it seems or is there something more sinister going on? Chloe realizes that if she doesn't uncover the truth and soon, she may spend the rest of her life in Lyle house, or worse, though who can she trust with her secret?
If you have read any of Armstrong's Otherworld series you will find that this book is written in the same style, with sex and violence toned down for younger readers though still there in the background. It is full of quiet supernaturals, and by quiet I mean that every page is not filled with superheroes or vampires which seems to control a lot of stories at the moment (not that I mind!), though as the story continues, you find that everything from necromancers to werewolves exist in the reality of the world Armstrong creates (a theme which runs through most of her books).
There are no real subplots going on as it is written from first person you read what Chloe sees and feels and find out about everything else as she does, though this is certainly not a bad thing in this book. Many people may dislike a first person view on a story but this, like a few others (Twilight for example) works really well like this.
As already stated above, the book is written in the first person view of Chloe Saunders, and although 15 years of age, it is certainly not only a teen book (rather like Harry Potter in the way that adult and teens both love it!). As with most first person written books, you find out more about the main character than anyone else, though don't worry, this book does not bore you with her whole history, yet picks and chooses the most important history which is relevant to the actual story line and not what she thought of the jumper that great aunt Maude brought he when she was only two years old!!
There are a small amount of main characters in the book and we meet each one of them slowly throughout the book, all described with different and powerful personalities and very true to life. As the story continues (and also more into the 2nd book) we learn more about these characters especially Derek and Simon, two foster brothers who eventually become two people that Chloe can relate to and trust more than anyone else (though still not fully as you will see). Each character is written brilliantly and you begin to empathize and sympathize with each and every one of them (even the particular characters who are written to oppose Chloe in every way possible.
As many people do, when reading a book, they tend to like or dislike certain characters, and this book is no exception, though don't believe your first ideas into the characters as there is a lot more to learn from each and every one of them with many surprises along the way.
AND THE RESULT IS...
It took a little while to get into the book at first as it started off quite slow, though once you get into it, you won't be able to put it down. It is an easy read; though don't mistake this for a young read only. It is suspenseful, thrilling, and edge of your seat writing with compelling characters and page by page engaging chapters. If read in the dark alone, it can also be a little jumpy but don't worry, you wont be needing a night light!
I would say that although it is based around teen characters from 15 to 17 years of age, this book is great for adults too. As said above, it is an easy read though easy reads are sometimes the best especially if you don't want to do much thinking.
I would certainly recommend this book to everyone, but give it a chance. Don't give up on the first chapters which you might feel like doing due to its slow nature, it will soon pick up pace and you will be glad you carried on.
Characters are written brilliantly and it has a story line to keep you on the edge of your seat, which is annoying at the end of book two, The Awakening, as you have to wait until mid 2010 for the final book!
Anyone who reads my reviews knows Im a complete sucker for spooky fiction.
I love Kelley Armstrongs books, and was really excited when I found out she was releasing a new series, in the same vein as her previous horror fiction, but aimed at a younger audience.
A bit of background stuff.
Kelley Armstrong, born in 1968 , is married with three kiddies, and lives in Ontario Canada.
She is best known for her "Women of the Otherworld" series (Bitten, Stolen, Dime Store magic, Industrial Magic, Haunted, Broken, No humans involved, Personal demon, Living with the dead).
The Women of the Otherworld series is set in a world very much like our own, except demons, witches, vampires, werewolves, necromancers and sorcerers all exist, and live relitively quietly amongst us humans.
"The Summoning" is not part of the "Women of the Otherworld" series, but it takes place in the same "world" if you like.
The only difference is that the main characters are younger.
Kelley Armstrong is best known as an adult fiction writer, but decided to venture into young adult, with her "Darkest Powers" trilogy ("The Summoning" is the first installment in the trilogy.
Kelley Armstrong addresses why she chose to venture into the young adult world on her website.
She was eager to explore how younger characters would react to the same situations as her older characters, and to write about the lives of younger supernaturals. To do so, she decided it was more appropriate to aim the books at a younger audience.
The content is barely diluted. There is less sexual content, violence, and bad language, but the book is in no way patronising, or (as Armstrong says herself) "a lighter, fluffier version".
There are references throughout the book that make it obvious that "The Summoning" exists in the same universe as the "Otherworld" series, but the two series do not interlink directly.
So. To the plot of "The Summoning".
The main character is 15 year old Chloe Saunders.
She has lead a relatively normal life, until one day, she discovers that she can see, and communicate with the dead.
After a particularly traumatic ghost sighting at her school, she is sent away to a private facility (not really a mental institution...more like a place for disturbed teens).
Once there, Chloe realises that she is not the only patient who has strange powers.
She also learns that Lyle House (the facility) is not the safe place that it was supposed to be, and that no one can be trusted.
What was good about it?.
I really enjoyed the fact that "The Summoning" combined all of the chills, the thrills, and the fantastic storyline and characterisation of Kelley Armstrongs "Otherworld" books, and threw in some really genuine teen angst.
The jump from adult fiction to young adult is seamless.
The book never becomes patronising. It isnt dumped down. There may be less sex and violence, but the story is still chilling, and utterly enjoyable.
Kelley Armstrong has created very believable teenage characters. They are conflicted, real, sometimes mature, sometimes childish.
Even though I am a little older than the intended audience (Im 24) I enjoyed the book as much as I have her previous titles. I didnt for one moment think that the novel was too young for me, or feel that it lacked in any way.
What was bad about it.
Nothing bad, really.
The story dragged a little in places. Most of the action takes place in the last breaths of the book, and I feel it would have been more gripping had there been more going on consistently.
The characters, and the relationships between them, more than made up for this problem though.
The book has no resolve. It ends on a cliffhanger, and I believe this continues the story in the next book in the series.
Although I have no problems with cliffhangers, it is a bit of a pain to read a book, want to know what happens next, and to not be able to find out for a few months until the next installment is released.
You will probably enjoy it if you like....
...books by Stephenie Meyer, L J Smith or Laurell K Hamilton.
I think this is a book for teens and adults. Anyone with a fondness for the supernatural.
The writing is fast paced and gripping. The dialogue between characters is age appropriate and convincing. The characters are realistic and interesting, and interact well with each other.
The plot is clever, and exciting, and the scary moments (there are a few) are utterly chilling, regardless of the young adult target audience.
You can buy from.
(for a mere £4.79) well worth it.
Visit Kelley Armstrongs website here.