Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Summoning (book) by Kelley Armstrong

This is the first book in Armstrong's first young adult series, Darkest Powers. As far as I can tell, it's set in the same world as her Women of the Otherworld series.

Chloe Saunders is a fairly ordinary 15-year-old high school student, although she sometimes has nightmares of a time when she was much younger and had imaginary friends who could sometimes be pretty scary. She's a little embarrassed by the fact that she hasn't yet gotten her first period, so she's thrilled when it finally starts one day at school. However, on that same day, she sees what appears to be the ghost of a dead janitor and completely freaks out.

On the insistence of Chloe's school, Chloe's father and aunt have her admitted to Lyle House, a home for troubled teens. Chloe is told that she has a mild form of schizophrenia - she knows that if she wants to have any chance of ever leaving Lyle House, she has to agree with this diagnosis and take the medication given to her. However, a couple of the other teens at Lyle House believe that she really is able to see ghosts - one of them calls her a necromancer. As Chloe investigates her abilities, the ghosts she's seen, the other teens, and Lyle House as much as she is able to, she begins to believe that Lyle House may be more sinister than those in charge of it let on.

I was thrilled when I realized that this book is probably set in the same world as Armstrong's Women of the Otherworld series. There's Chloe the necromancer, as well as a sorcerer, a werewolf, potentially two half-demons, and another teen whose supernatural side has not yet been revealed. Although I thought the story itself didn't quite measure up to some of Armstrong's Women of the Otherworld books, I still enjoyed it and loved the gradual revelations of everyone's abilities. I look forward to seeing whether everyone can get away from Lyle House and whatever experiments are being conducted there in the next or later books.

I was wondering, however, if everything in this book agrees with the rules Armstrong established in her Women of the Otherworld series. The main thing that throws me off is the werewolf teen. As far as I knew, Elena's children were the only children born of a werewolf, since Elena is the only female werewolf in existance. Also, as far as I can remember, it's not possible to become a werewolf if you're younger than a certain age (maybe 18?), because the transformation is so hard on a person. Clayton was supposed to be the only exception, I think. Does that mean that the boy in this book is another exception, unknown to the Pack?

For those who are wondering, this is basically a young adult urban fantasy book - there are hints that there might be some romance developing in the future, but I wouldn't in any way call this book a paranormal romance. At first, I figured that Chloe might be ending up with Simon, one of the two boys at Lyle House and certainly the best-looking one. However, as the story progressed, I started wondering if Armstrong might end up pairing her with Derek - although acne-covered and more than a bit scary, Chloe's spent the most time with him and seems to be getting to know him fairly well. There's also that one scene where Chloe got to see Derek's very non-teenage boy chest... Of course, Armstrong might decide not to pair Chloe off with anybody, but her track record in her other series would indicate otherwise. I guess I'll just have to wait and see.

Overall, I enjoyed this book and look forward to getting to read more of this series.

Read-alikes:
  • The Strange Power (book) by L. J. Smith - This is the first book is Smith's Dark Visions series. Kaitlyn Fairchild is a psychic whose drawings predict the future. The only problem is, her drawings usually don't make sense until after whatever they predict has happened. When she finds out about the Zeetes Institute, a place where she can learn to control her abilities, she decides to go, but the institute may have have more sinister intentions than Kaitlyn realizes. Those who'd like another story starring teens with special abilities who are trapped in a sinister place might enjoy this book/series. The books in this series definitely have a romantic element.
  • Jennifer Scales and the Ancient Furnace (book) by MaryJanice Davidson and Anthony Alongi - This is the first book in the Jennifer Scales series. Jennifer Scales has no reason to believe she isn't an ordinary girl in an ordinary family - until she suddenly develops the ability to shapeshift into a dragon, and her parents admit that she's half-dragon, half-Beaststalker. As if her life wasn't complicated enough, Jennifer has to figure out how to protect herself and her family from beings who view her as their natural enemy. Those who'd like another story in which a teen discovers she has special powers and a non-human bloodline might enjoy this book/series.
  • Blood and Chocolate (book) by Annette Curtis Klause - Vivian is a werewolf, part of a small community of werewolves living in secret among humans. Vivian's father, the pack leader, was killed when the pack was driven out of its previous home, and all that remains is for a new leader to be chosen before the pack can move to a more permanent home. In the meantime, Vivian doesn't really feel at home with anyone in the pack. She begins dating a human, but how long will their relationship last if she tells him what she is? Even worse, people have been getting killed and Vivian can't be certain she wasn't responsible. Those who'd like another young adult novel involving supernatural creatures and a bit of suspense might enjoy this book.

2 comments:

  1. I agree, what a cool idea to set a YA in the same world. Aside from the rules thing. Kelley Armstrong is great, though.

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  2. Katie MacAlister does the same thing - I think most of her adult books have at least one corresponding YA book set in the same world (technically, one of those "worlds" is just England, but it's an England with the characters she used in one of her adult books). Her YA books are written under the pseudonym Katie Maxwell.

    It's cool for Armstrong and MacAlister's adult readers (although I'd have to say that MacAlister's YA books are less enjoyable for adults than Armstrong's YA book), but I wonder how things work out for their YA fans. I can imagine teens reading their YA books and then hunting down their adult books. Depending on the maturity level of those teens, that could be a bad idea. I can also imagine that some parents would be less than pleased.

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