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4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on March 11, 2009
I can honestly say that I REALLY enjoyed this book. I had it finished in 24 hours, and I work full time so that's only reading evenings lol it is young adult literature, which I usually classify as early-mid teens, and even though I'm in my 20s I still loved it. It was interesting and fast-paced, so I never found myself getting bored and going, "get on with it!" It's even suspenceful and creepy, without being over the top. I found myself trying to predict the story along the way and I was almost always surprised. Even if I could predict an element, Ms. Armstrong still found a way to make it new. I think it's a great book about the supernatural, without all that touchy-feely romancy crap that seems to find it's way into almost every plot line.

I only have one complaint. To say that there was so much emphasis on Chloe's necromancy, I don't think Armstrong gave her NEARLY enough communication with the ghosts. Those were my favorite parts!

I am anxiously awaiting the sequel!
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on August 7, 2008
The Summoning is set in the same world as Armstrong's Women of the Otherworld series, but with a whole new cast of characters. Aimed at the YA crowd, the sex and violence themes have been toned down, but there's still plenty of meat for readers to dig into, and I never got the feeling things had been "dumbed down" for the younger readers. I blame my burnt dinner on the dark tone and the involving mystery, both of which kept me turning pages when I probably shouldn't have been.

Chloe makes for a great heroine. She's strong, smart, and easily relatable. I really liked her tendancy to stutter, a quirk I don't think I've seen used before in a protagonist, but it was a simple and effective way to portray the social awkwardness she feels. Chloe felt like a real teenager, with all the insecurities that go with the territory, but this wasn't 400 pages of whiny angst. She faced things that weren't fair, but then she turned around and did something to stand up for herself instead of crying into her pillow.

The story is full of smaller mysteries, all of them piling together naturally to create a bigger mystery that isn't solved by the end of the story. This is the first of a planned trilogy, and my only annoyance with the book is that I don't have the other two in my hands right now. It's very much a horror story, but with the hints of magic, romance, and teen drama, there's something here for everyone to fall in love with.

The long and short of it is, this book is everything Twilight wishes it could be and isn't. I highly recommend it to everyone who likes a little YA now and then, but you have to get your own copy. Mine stays here with me.
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on April 26, 2009
Wow! That's my overall reaction to The Summoning, Kelley Armstrong's first foray into YA novels. In case you can't tell, I loved it! The Summoning is the first book in the Darkest Powers series, and tells the beginning of the story of 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't wait! I highly recommend Kelley Armstrong's The Summoning to everyone who enjoys a great supernatural tale.
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on May 19, 2009
I love, love, love this series! It revolves around Chloe Saunders, a girl in high school, who gets shipped off to a house for troubled teens... only the kids at this house aren't what you'd expect. I don't want to ruin it for you, but if you liked any of the "Twilight" series, or the "House of Night" novels, then you will love this series! (I sooo can't wait for the third book to come out!) This is definately a must read! Trust me!
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on August 4, 2011
I am a long-time fan of Ms. Kelley Armstrong. I first discovered her while doing some research on Canadian female writers. I quickly rushed out to purchase her first book, Bitten, and devoured it in a night. It had one of the most realistic descriptions of wolf shifting I had ever read. It made me squirm, but in a good way. It didn't take me long to catch up and read the whole series.

I have to admit, I was a tiny bit worried when I heard Kelley had written a YA series. I avoided it for a long time, not wanting it to ruin my thoughts about her writing. The only reason I finally picked up The Summoning was because it was one of the choices for my 2011 YA Summer Challenge.

Of course I should never have worried...

The typical Kelley Armstrong writing style I have come to know and love was just as strong in her YA novel as it has been in her adult novels. I was a little worried she might tone it down for the youngins, but she didn't. She didn't hold anything back at all.

The storyline was very intriguing, and kept me reading even through the slower sections. I could easily see and understand the need for the build-up, and therefore it didn't bother me as much as it does in other books where the build-up leads to a whole lot of nothing.

I felt parts of the story were very predictable, but that was equally balanced by events that surprised the heck out of me, even though they shouldn't have. I mean as I have already mentioned, I read a lot of Kelley Armstrong, and I know how she writes her characters, and when certain "symptoms" are there, I should know what's going to happen. I don't know how I missed it, but I'm glad I did. It was a wonderful little surprise.

I loved all the characters, even the evil ones. They had so much depth to them. I immediately fell in love with Derek, even though I feel like Kelley tried so hard (too hard) to make the reader not like him...I just knew that meant he was a character that would win our respect and adoration in the end. Chloe reminded me of a young Jamie Vegas (necromancer and celebrity medium from Kelley's Women of the Otherworld series).

Everything was going so well...the end was coming...things seemed to be pretty tied up...I knew there were two more books in the series, but it felt like book one was at a nice, and mostly neat end...

...and then...whammo....

...evil cliffhanger of DOOM!

I hate that...but of course I will read the other two...eventually...after my rage has subsided...
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on April 5, 2011
There is always something happening in this story. At first, I wasn't sure what pieces of information were significant and which ones were not, but it all fits quite well. This book has one massive cliffhanger; I've never felt so helpless by the end of a read. There are just so many loose ends and because of this, I didn't feel any sense of closure. This book left me begging for the sequel.

Chloe seems to be a typical teen, albeit somewhat of a late boomer. Chloe can see ghosts and communicate with them. Specifically, she can raise the dead. She's believable and I didn't mind following along on the journey. The characters are pretty well written and the dialogue is great, but I felt something was missing, and I'm not sure what that is. Perhaps it's because so much of the action happens in or around the Lyle house that the setting of the story is pretty much "contained," except for the beginning and the end. Still, I wanted to find out what happens next.

Chloe is not the only one considered as a supernatural; there are others in the Lyle house, and that can only lead to interesting friendships and relationships.

All in all, The Summoning is a good read. I like the premise of the book. I haven't read a book quite like this before. I bet this book is a great setup for the sequel. The author sure knows how to keep readers on the edge.
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What started off fairly slowly ended up action-packed by the end, and it was a fun read from start to finish. Not a spectacularly original story, but it was still put together decently, incorporated a few twists and turns that I didn't see coming (most of them regarding Derek), and left me wanting more.

I have to admit, I'm not much for cliffhangers, though. It's one thing to end a book before the complete story has finished but yet the book itself can be seen to have a conclusion is one thing. This book didn't. The ending could well have been just another chapter, and while yes, it does make me want to read the sequel to find out what happens, it also leaves me with a slightly bitter taste in my mouth, as though the primary motivation for ending it there wasn't to hook readers but instead to hook readers' money. End a book in the middle of a story and completionists are going to shell out $10 just to find out the rest, even if it wasn't a great story.

Really, had the writing been tightened a bit and some extraneous detail been left out, I'm sure the two books could have been condensed into one with little trouble.

The characters were certainly interesting and filled certain niches in the story without being terribly stereotypical. As a rare treat, we actually get to see an everygirl who's actually an everygirl, not just some "I'm pretty but don't think so, and I have no friends despite the fact that everyone loves hanging around me, and I don't have any talents but am involved in all kinds of extracurricular activities" girl. Chloe is short for her age, not particularly popular, not hugely interested in boys... and she doesn't let those facts rule her life the way some girls do. I want to applaud her for it. I do applaud Kelley Armstrong for finally making a female teenage character that I can relate to. Half the YA novels I read that feature female protagonists try to make her something that everybody can relate to, but only suceed in making the character someone that can be related to only if you're really into fashion and boys and popularity and not being a geek. So bravo, Kelley Armstrong, for that!

What saddens me most about this is that the author doesn't really have a distinctive writing style. I could have been reading a book written by LJ Smith or PC and Kristin Cast for all it mattered, and I don't think the style would have changed at all. Not everyone responds well to distinctive writing styles, but the ones that have them tend to be remembered long past the time that other authors are forgotten, no matter how good their stories were.

That all being said, I am looking forward to reading the sequel, and I hope it keeps me as engaged as this one did. Though it dragged a bit in earlier parts, I couldn't stop reading during the last third of the book, always wanting to turn the page and push the characters along in their lives. It may be fluff, but it's tasty fluff!
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on July 29, 2010
Is she crazy, or can she really see ghosts? A great book that keeps you guessing and wanting more. Very interesting, to start, I had no idea what to expect. It actually took me the first 4 chapters to realize I was reading a different series than I intended, but I'm glad I made the mistake because I really enjoyed it!

I read the whole series, and loved all 3 books. The characters were so well written and Kelley keeps you on your toes to the very end. I love it when a story isn't predictable and it was certainly the case here!

Chloe was believable and age appropriate. She was totally likable and developed very well over the span of the series. I liked that she second guessed things and didn't just believe in the supernatural because someone told her it was real. She fought to understand the truth and made her own decisions.

Derik; the tough guy with loads of attitude. I had a soft spot for Derik from the start and was very happy with the way his character grew and came out of his shell.

Simon; cute boy who's sweet and artistic *swoon* what girl wouldn't crust on him. I really liked how Kelley handled his relationship with Chloe, I won't spoil anything but I found her approach very refreshing.

Of course there are so many other great characters in the series too. An awesome read, I wish that there were more than 3 books!
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on January 24, 2010
This book was great. I felt myself turning page after page and wanting to read more. Although the beginning wasn't what I quite expected, it wasn't such a bad thing and the ending was awesome and I am definitely going to add the sequel to my wishlist. The plot was great from beginning to end. It was well written, clear and had enough teasers, and although naturally all questions weren't answered some which bugged me the most were so I wasn't entirely left hanging. This book had a great way of gradually introducing you to the paranormal aspect of the plot, sort of as if you're Chloe herself and just learning about it with her. I like the way it's done as it makes it more realistic. The plot is darker than I expected and more serious for a YA book. The paranormal parts, especially when Chloe starts practicing her gift, has a skin crawling creepy effect and it's definitely well written to give you the goose bumps. The ghosts she sees, are also well done and their descriptions are chilling and menacing.

I'm not that attached to Chloe even though she's the main character. I found as I read later into the book I suddenly became much more frustrated and I wanted to hit her upside the head for her stupidity at times. I'm surprised Derek has managed to keep his temper in check with Chloe bumbling about sometimes. Although Derek may seem abrasive, I actually like him the most in the book so far. He's surprisingly mature despite his surly manner and horrible attitude. He seems to be the strongest character, I think in the book. Tori was horrible and I was hoping Chloe would clock her across the face. Perhaps sometime I'll be satisfied to see Tori in a horrible demise. She's just an awful person and I hope I never meet anyone like that ever. Chloe does seem to develop through the novel although I don't think she really matures yet. I think perhaps because she doesn't really have all the information and facts concerning her and her "condition/gift". So, she still has room for development which I am looking forward to seeing in the next book.

When I said the beginning wasn't what I expected, I meant that I expected a lot of paranormal activity to happen. It didn't. It was gradual, and even then there is bits and parts of it, but not as much as I thought. There's a lot of "real life" in the book and it adds realism to the plot and it's a refreshing surprise to read something like this. So it's not really a criticism, it was just interesting to read and something new to see, I think.

Overall, a wonderful creepy page turner, mix in realistic life scenes and a huge cliffhanger ending, you'll want more from this series. A lot more.
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on December 29, 2009
Chloe Saunders is going crazy. At least, that's what she's told after she sees a ghost at school and has a breakdown. She is pulled out of her art school, where she is pursuing her dream of becoming a director.

Chloe is then sent to a highly recommended group home for disturbed teens called Lyle House. It seems okay at first, even though the therapist keeps insisting she's schizophrenic.

But as she gradually gets to know the other teens at the home, Chloe begins to realize that there is something that binds them all together, and it isn't your usual "problem kid" behaviour. How does Simon push people without being anywhere near them? Why is Derek so tense all the time? Why do objects move of their own accord when Liz is around? What's with Rae's thing for fire? And what really happens to the teens who are "released"?

Together, Chloe and her friends discover that Lyle House is definitely not your usual group home - and they might all be in serious danger.

Kelley Armstrong has written tons of paranormal fiction for adults, and her teens books are just as good. Although the characters all possess supernatural powers, they are all developed to the point that they're still believable.

"The Summoning" has a few scares, tons of action, a bit of romance, and a lot of supernatural power. Fans of "Twilight" will love this series, which is extremely popular with the teens at my library.

The sequel is "The Awakening," which is even better!
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