Friday, August 20, 2010

The Summoning review

I picked this book up because I loved the cover.  I heard it was about a girl who has some psychic abilities, and I love fantasy, so I thought I'd give it a try.  Chloe Saunders has the ability to see dead people.  This book veers solidly into horror territory right away, with a flashback to malevolent ghosts from Chloe's childhood that doesn't shy away from the suspenseful or grotesque.  

After Chloe collapses at school after another particularly horrific sighting, her often-absent father and aunt decide to commit her to an institution, Lyle House, which is where the bulk of the story plays out.  Once there, Chloe meets up with other patients, Rae, Simon and his hulking brother Derek, her roommate Liz and catty Tori.

Simon hints to her that everything at Lyle House isn't what it seems.  All of the teens have special powers and they're being locked up as part of an adult conspiracy. Simon describes himself as a wizard; Chloe is, of course, a necromancer. Simon's adopted brother Derek has superstrength and the ability to shift into a wolf form, something which causes him to barf excessively.  Liz has the ability to make objects move, seemingly of their own accord, and when she freaks out and creates a mess, levitating and exploding shampoo bottles in the bathroom, she is taken to a different facility and not heard from again.  Only Chloe, via her special ability, knows that Liz is dead, and therefore knows that all of their lives are in danger.  Chloe, Simon, Derek and Rae all make a break for it, and the book ends on a tremendous cliffhanger, after Chloe realizes her trusted aunt is also in on the conspiracy.  With nowhere left to turn, she summons Liz's ghost for advice on what to do next.

There are plenty of descriptions of the teens acne, which at first I took as a sign of realism, but quickly realized was just something else that was added for more gross-out factor.  To be honest, I was hoping for a book with a more mystical, romantic feel.  While this book was interesting, I don't think I'll be returning to read the rest of the series.  Anybody want to convince me differently?


  1. Hmm... I'll check it out. I've read some of Armstrong's earlier fantasy, so I'm a little curious about her teen work.

  2. Yeah, I loved the cover... I just didn't think it would be so gory! I'm such a wimp. I know there's much scarier horror out there. This is probably quite tame compared to some of the hack-and-slash that's out there.



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