Book Review: The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong

Title: The Summoning (Darkest Powers Trilogy #1)
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Contemporary, 
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date: July 2008
Pages: 390
Rating: 3.5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
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?

My Review:

I love the concept of this novel. I’ve been a fan of Kelley Armstrong’s Women of the Otherworld series for a long time now and I have wondered what happens to the children when they don’t have someone incredible to introduce them into the magical and supernatural world. Those questions were answered in The Summoning. 

Chloe Saunders isn’t like other fifteen-year olds. Her mother died when she was younger and her dad is an absentee parent. Her housekeepers and aunt raised her. Oh – and she sees ghosts. After an incident in school, which resulted in Chloe accidentally assaulting a teacher, Chloe gets sent to Lyle House – an institution for troubled teens. Chloe tries to keep her head down and tell the doctor and other staff what they want to hear – that ghosts don’t exist and they were just a result of Chloe having schizophrenia. But after some strange happenings at Lyle House, Chloe isn’t too sure that ghosts don’t exist. There’s a ghost in the basement and her room-mate is plagued with a poltergeist. Add in a boy who claims to be a sorcerer and a couple of other slightly odd characters and Chloe starts to question if Lyle House is really all it appears to be…

I know I said it before but I want to say it again. I loved the concept of this story. The only problem was I found it a little lacking in execution. The cast of characters were interesting and I thought it brilliant the way they all came together. Kid who did odd things or claimed to see the unnatural – it makes perfect sense that they would be segregated from “normal” kids and placed in a psychiatric facility. The nurses served their roles well but I felt like even after reading the novel I barely knew them.

Chloe was a little bland for my liking – she only truly started to appeal to me as a character in the last fifty pages or so. I am looking forward to reading the next book in this series as I did really start to care about what happened to her but for the most part she was a little irritating. What I did like about Chloe was her interest in film and the way that when life got a little too difficult or scary, she’d imagine how she’d have her actors play the scene if it was a scene she was directing. I found that an adorable way of having the heroine face her fears and put herself into situations she didn’t want to be in and at the same time retain her timid persona.

There were times when I felt like this book dragged on a little. The middle part of this novel felt like it took forever. All the events in this book occur within a two-week time frame but it felt like a lot longer as every day and the routine of each day in Lyle House was mentioned. I do wonder if that was a way of trying to involve the reader and to try to show what things were like for Chloe and the other misfits but I got a little bored. Had I not been stuck on a train with no other reading material – I probably would have given up on this book and that would have been a shame.

The ending was fantastic. Whilst for the first part of the novel I really couldn’t care less if I kept reading or not, the ending had me hooked. I was devastated when it ended. I will definitely be reading the next book in this series.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon / Book Depository 


  1. I had the same problem with this book – the middle seemed to drag. I loved the next two books though – the rest of the series really took off for me and just flew by. I’m reading her Darkest Rising series right now and am going to jump into her Women of the Otherworld series later this month. I really dig her writing.

  2. Pingback: Review: The Dark World by Cara Lynn Schultz

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