Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, totally worn out and screaming,
"WOO HOO, what a ride!"

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Review: The Summoning and The Awakening by Kelly Armstrong

Chloe Saunders used to have

a relatively normal life.

As a freshman Chloe looked forward to her first year at her new art school. Since her mother died when she was a very young and her father travels a lot for work she is used to moving and new beginnings. This year she started out with the rest of the class so for once she wasn't the new kid. Her father has also promised that she can stay there until she graduates. It's an ordinary life but a happy life, until she starts seeing dead people. And they are everywhere.

After an episode with a relentless ghost at school, Chloe is forced to spend time at Lyle House, a group home for troubled teens. When it's assumed that she has a mental illness she is determined to get better and stop her "hallucinations". But nothing is as it seems and as she gets to know her housemates she realizes that there are many secrets being kept. Chloe may not be so crazy after all some of those secrets are about Lyle House itself.

This was a fast read that had me hooked from the first page. Everything was a mystery and I was eager to find the answers. This is the first book in the Dark Powers trilogy so there is a lot of background information. The suspense builds gradually as the characters and the plot develops. It's apparent that there is something more going on at this house and these kids all have a special reason to be there. Some were obvious but others took time to figure out.

I did get frustrated with some of the characters actions and how slow they sometimes were to react. While being terrorized by ghosts and discovering deep dark secrets they were sometimes too calm and levelheaded for teens (for anyone!) under pressure. But I did get pulled into the story and was interested in learning more about the characters. I also enjoyed the references to Buffalo, NY, a city that's near where I live now and where I attended college. I would have loved more details of this familiar place. There is a twist at the end to set up the next book. This was Armstrong's debut novel for the YA genre.

Book #1 - The Awakening Series

For more about this series -

Publisher: HarperCollins
Release date: July 2008
Price/format: $17.99/hardcover
Type: YA fiction

Now her life has changed
forever and she is as
from normal as it gets.

Chloe and three of her friends are on the run after escaping from an organization called the Edison Group who is responsible for doing genetic alterations. They know it's affected their lives and made them unique. While it's a relief to Chloe to realize that she isn't crazy but instead has supernatural powers. She has yet to realize all of her capabilities but knows they must have the potential to be powerful. And that makes all of them very valuable to their pursuers so they have no intention of being caught. They need to find someone to help because their very lives are at stake.

This book moved along just as fast as the first one and it started right where the story left off. The teens now have an idea of where they came from and how they were brought together. Now they are piecing together what it means to their futures, if they even have one. For many of them their whole life has been a lie.

I really like the covers, so simple but very appropriate. And the differences in the necklace are all part of the story but not much has been revealed yet. That is an important element from Chloe's past but how much of a role does it play?

I'm really looking forward to the final book The Reckoning to be released 5/10/10. I did get to read the first three chapters on the website and again it picks up right where the last book left off. What a tease! I want to know the rest of the story!

Publisher: HarperCollins
Release date: 4/28/09
Price/format: $17.99/hardcover
Type: YA fiction


  1. I haven't read any paranormal books yet, but would like to try a YA one.

  2. I just reviewed The Awakening as well :-) I am a fan of Kelley Armstrong's books for adults but I think I am liking this series even better! Can't wait to read the final book next year.

  3. This sounds like a fun trilogy, but I'm trying to avoid the YA craze. Well, sometimes I give in, so I'll keep this in mind ;)

  4. I'm so excited - I'm going to hear Kelley Armstrong speak at a conference for work at the end of the month!


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