Wow! That’s my overall reaction to The Summoning, Kelley Armstrong’s first foray into YA novels. Just wow! In case you can’t tell, I loved it! The Summoning is the first book in the Darkest Powers Trilogy, and introduces us to 15-year-old Chloe Saunders, who like every teenager, just wants to be a normal girl with normal high school interests and problems.
At first it seems that Chloe might just be that normal girl. She has girlfriends, wants to go to the school dance, loves movies and is in the film club. Everything seems to be going according to plan, until one day when she starts seeing people that aren’t there. At first Chloe assumes it must be her imagination, but when a mysterious janitor with severe burns chases her at school, Chloe understandably panics and reacts badly, landing her in a home for children with mental problems. Upon arrival at Lyle House, Chloe is relieved to see that it isn’t so bad, and is determined to get well and get back to her normal life. But Lyle House turns out to be so much more than it originally appeared to be.
As always, Armstrong has created a well thought out, and completely believable world that despite being populated by supernatural beings, never feels unrealistic. And like her Women of the Otherworld series, she brings both the readers and the characters into the supernatural world slowly, giving the characters the same doubts that we as the reader would have if someone told us they could see people that weren’t there. As everyone in the story struggles to keep their secrets, we’re given little clues that let us know that things are not as normal as they may seem, but we’re also kept guessing all the way along, making for an exciting and compelling tale.
The characters in The Summoning have more depth and personality than usually found in YA novels, and there are none of your standard jock, popular girl, and outcast stereotypes that often populate these novels, which is completely refreshing. The dialogue feels natural and flows well – with one slight exception. And this may just be a personal issue, but by the end of the novel I started to become frustrated by the fact that Chloe almost never gets to finish a sentence. This small issue in no way takes away from the wonderful story though.
The Summoning is a fantastic and original story that will keep you engrossed until the very end. And when you come to that end, be prepared… the story does not end with a nice little bow to wrap things up, but instead finishes on a bit of a cliffhanger. I’m really glad that I have book two of the series The Awakening on hand so I can find out what happens next, because I can not wait! I highly recommend Kelley Armstrong’s The Summoning to everyone who enjoys a great supernatural tale.