Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Review - The Summoning / Kelley Armstrong

Summary - 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?

Review - Settling somewhere between a thriller and a paranormal spectacle, The Summoning is a curious beast. Whereas I should feel great sympathy for the predicament of our protagonist, I don’t. Yet with the brief glimpses of her mother and that of the delectably diabolical Tori, I want more. Armstrong has made her own Dream Team of misfits, who also happen to have supernatural inclinations.

Perhaps the big problem could be the setting, Lyle House. This group home for teens with psychological issues is the setting for the majority of the book and as such should have been crafted as another character in the book. Despite the many “secrets” it contains, the house never really feels completely realised.

Yet there are a plethora of complex characters in this story, Chloe’s fellow misfits are an interesting bunch. All could be tagged as prickly, having been dealing with problems of their own for far too long. By far the most compelling is that of Derek. Built like a brick house, with a attitude a touch below volcanic. Yet we don't really get to know them all that well other than their inevitably sad stories of desertion and rejection.

The Summoning is an interesting tale but doesn't set the world alight as Chloe isn't all that compelling.
Published: 2008
Format: Paperback, 390 pages
Publisher: Harper Teen
Origin: USA
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prophecygirl said...

I haven't read this one yet, but hopefully I will soon. I've heard a lot of good things about it, but have also heard that The Awakening is better. Cheers for the balanced review.

brizmus said...

I'm sad to hear that Chloe's not all that compelling as a character. I think this is the first not great review that I have read of this book, but despite that I've always sort-of wondered if I would find Chloe interesting.

Adele said...

Chloe gets better as does the series. I liked this although not as much as the adult Otherworld books.

Anonymous said...

i have the second one if you want to borrow it, i didnt love this one but the second is a bit better.

Rhiannon said...

I liked Chloe, but mostly i dug the creepy ghosts and dead people!
I've linked your post here:
on my post of the same.