Review: The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong

22 Sep

Series: Darkest Powers, book # 1

Published: July 1st 2008 by HarperTeen

Details: Hardcover, 390 pages

My rating: 4/5

My Summary:

YA trilogy from author of Bitten. About a girl who sees ghosts, is labeled schizophrenic and sent to a home, where she meets the two mysterious brothers Derek & Simon. I’m surprised to see how good this was, considering my view of Bitten. Well paced & exciting. The only downside was the cliff-hanger ending. Make sure to have sequel The Awakening when you finish.

A few chapters in:

After some hesitation I decided to check out Kelley Armstrong’s young adult trilogy The Darkest Powers. As you may know if you’ve been on this site, I’m not a big fan of Kelley Armstrong since I read (or tried to read) one of her books in her adult series Women of the Otherworld. To me that book belonged among Harlequin novels of the worst kind – poorly written and plain trashy.

Armstrong’s young adult work however has received great reviews, and it deals with a different theme than in the adult series. So I decided to give this author one more try.

I’m now halfway through, and I’m wondering if this really is the same author as in Bitten, because seriously – this is pretty good. The plot moves along in a nice logical pace and I like the voice of the heroine – thoughtful but not whiny. And the writing – what an improvement from Bitten!

The story revolves around Chloe, who is a normal 15-year old girl, except for the fact that she sees ghosts. It obviously freaks her out, and after one particularly bad episode seeing a ghost at her school she is taken away to a home for troubled teenagers. The doctors label her schizophrenic, and Chloe seems about to agree , because how can she possibly know for a fact she is seeing ghosts and not hallucinations conjured up by her own mind? Still, she wants to make sure and starts investigating..

She shares the home with a few other kids as well, among them the two brothers Simon and Derek, who both seem to have something to hide. I have no idea yet what that might be, just that there is definitely more to them than we know now.

Let’s see what happens..

After finishing the book:

I finished it last night and wow, I have to say I’m surprised at how sucked into the story I got. I still can’t believe it’s by the same author as Bitten, how is that possible?

The overall premise reminded me a bit of Fallen. A teen girl experiences supernatural events which leads people to believe she’s crazy. She’s sent to a school or home for troubled kids, only to realize that there is something more to that school and the kids within it, than meets the eye. Something more as in supernatural.

Only, where Fallen failed to keep up my interest, The Summoning more than well succeeded. In Fallen, very little action takes place which made it a bit boring to read, and I didn’t feel why Luce should be so interested in Daniel, or Cam for that matter. The book was all telling and little showing. The pointers about what supernatural elements were at play were too obvious to the reader, and Luce the protagonist struggled for too long to figure them out.

In The Summoning, the pace is brilliantly set. It feels as if the protagonist and the reader are realizing things at the same time, which is refreshing. I never felt bored wondering when the heroine was going to make a realization that I had made many pages ago. I also liked the fact that Chloe isn’t walking around pondering which guys like her and if they don’t, why not etc. It’s not like that at all. She has her priorities set straight, as she tells the brother Derek in one scene in the book.  She states that at this confusing time of her life, what with seeing ghosts and all, getting a boyfriend is about the last item on her priority list. Kudos to that statement!

That being said, there may be romance, somewhere along the line, all though it doesn’t happen in this book. I know I am certainly rooting for one of the brothers, and that may be where the story is heading. At first, this particular brother doesn’t seem very likable at all. Then he and Chloe experience a few things together – where his real personality shines through, and Chloe shows him that she can stand up to him, despite his menacing ways. More importantly, she shows him that she sees him, the real him. This is a great case of showing, not telling,  because I could feel a reluctant fondness growing between them. Please Armstrong, let that continue in the sequel!

The Bottom Line:

There is really only one flaw with this first installment, and that is the ending. It ends with a cliff-hanger – a real one, so that it feels as if the author cut one book into two, at a place where you’ll be dying to know what happens next.  You’d really want to have acquired the sequel The Awakening before you start with The Summoning. Otherwise, the ending was definitely surprising – I did not see that coming, and I still haven’t figured out what’s going on. I only have a feeling that it will be an exciting ride to follow Chloe and her friends in the sequel, while they discover their powers in this new supernatural world – hopefully tying some of the loose ends together in the process.

So would I recommend The Summoning?

Yes absolutely, this was a great addictive read. I am so happy I gave Kelley Armstrong another try!

3 Responses to “Review: The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong”


  1. The Awakening by Kelley Armstrong « After Twilight… - November 1, 2010

    […] you’ve read the first book in this series, The Summoning – you’ll remember the cliff-hanger ending. And it starts just where it left off. Chloe […]

  2. The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong « Koorihime-sama's Book Reviews - November 28, 2010

    […] Goodreads: The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong Library Thing: The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong After Twilight: The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong Creating Discussions: The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong […]

  3. The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong (2nd) « Koorihime-sama's Book Reviews - October 8, 2011

    […] Goodreads: The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong Library Thing: The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong After Twilight: The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong Creating Discussions: The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong My Search for Addictive Books: The […]

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