May 19, 2012

Review: The Summoning

By: Kelley Armstrong
Published: July 2008 by HarperCollins
Format: Paperback, 390 pages
First Reviewed: September 2011
Buy: Barnes & Noble//Books-A-Million//Amazon//Book Depository
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She sees dead people...and they see her.

My name is Chloe Saunders and my life will never be the same again.
All I wanted was to make friends, meet boys, and keep on being ordinary. I don't even know what that means anymore. It all started on the day that I saw my first ghost—and the ghost saw me.
Now there are ghosts everywhere and they won't leave me alone. To top it all off, I somehow got myself locked up in Lyle House, a "special home" for troubled teens. Yet the home isn't what it seems. Don't tell anyone, but I think there might be more to my housemates than meets the eye. The question is, whose side are they on? It's up to me to figure out the dangerous secrets behind Lyle House . . . before its skeletons come back to haunt me.

Rating: 4/5

This is a re-read for me after about two and a half years. I've read both this and the sequel, but never got around to the third and final book, so I decided to dive back into this series. I remember really liking this before, and I'm happy to report I liked this just as much this time around.

The writing wasn't overly amazing. Nothing wrong with it--despite the few errors and couple of stylistic choices that weren't too good for me--and Armstrong has very solid prose and great use of voice for me, both with narration and dialogue.

Armstrong moves along the story extremely well, in my opinion, and she has that gift that makes me read. It's one of those books I can sit down and read in one setting and not realize I'm reading so long. And that's completely because of Armstrong's writing.

Overall, the writing was great. It was solid and great for the story and voice. Just didn't blow me away or anything, but definitely a fantastic author in Armstrong.

While I don't think the characters stand out too well compared to other characters in books, I felt all of their personalities were distinct and I really enjoyed them all. Even the ones we only met for a few pages.

Chloe was a good MC for me. I really enjoyed following her and look forward to following her again in the sequel. Armstrong gave her relatable traits and also made them believable. I absolutely loved her love of film and how it was incorporated into her narrative/inner dialogue and the story. That's something some authors attempt, but usually forget about come mid-book.

I also really liked the other characters. What I loved most about Derek was that he wasn't the love interest--yet, obviously--but was still as intriguing and compelling as any male lead. I loved his development and the mystery surrounding him, and Armstrong gave him traits that I haven't read too much of with male characters before, which I appreciated.

As for the other characters, they weren't stellar, but I enjoyed reading about them. They were developed and interesting and while some of them were a little cliche, the majority were refreshing to read about. Overall, the characterization didn't wow me, but I did really like the characters and Armstrong's use of traits and voices. Solid development all around.

The plot was refreshing! I remember really enjoying this book, as I mentioned before, but I found aspects I appreciated more this time around. Mainly the non-romance. Just goes to show how a book can be engaging, mysterious, and thrilling without that involved. I can tell Armstrong set out to write a book about supernatural teens and not a paranormal romance, and I absolutely loved that.

I also really loved the overall premise. Sending teens to a house that specializes in troubled youth when they're really just supernatural. The whole "I have powers but everyone thinks I'm crazy" thing sounds like it'd be overdone, but Armstrong made it original for me.

The pacing was great and had me curious from beginning to end. Honestly, there's not much criticism I have for this. I felt there was some parts that could have been developed a bit more and a few scenes I felt were a tad bit unnecessary. Also a few parts that could have been somewhat more thrilling, as I wanted to be on the edge of me seat for the entire section toward the end. Though, it was engaging and had me excited and my heart racing somewhat, it just could have been a bit more.

Okay, I have one thing to add: What girl in her right mind would be angry about not having her period yet? Pffftttt! Sure, maybe a few, I guess, but if my friends all had their curse and I didn't, I'd be rubbing it in their faces. Completely random thought in the beginning of this book. Haha! If you've read this, then you'll know what I'm talking about.

Final Thoughts: I always love when I read a book and enjoy it just as much as I did the first time. This book was a solid read for me and I can't wait to re-read The Awakening. It was refreshing with aspects I both loved and appreciated and character traits I really liked. It wasn't amazing, but it was definitely a solid read that held my attention from start to finish. Highly recommend this.

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