Friday, May 21, 2010

Review - The Summoning (Darkest Powers, Book 1) by Kelley Armstrong (3/5 stars)

I have read the first four book in Armstrong's Women of the Otherworld series and thought the first three were great and the fourth was just okay.  When I saw Armstrong was going to write a young adult series I was excited to see what she would write.  This book is okay, but it is nothing special.

Chloe just wants to go to her awesome art school and not be the new kid for once.  All that changes when she starts seeing ghosts and ends up committed to the Lyle House, a group home for troubled teens.  Chloe is diagnosed with schizophrenia and promised quick release as soon as she is "better".  Well Chloe is starting to find out that all the kids in the Lyle House are "special" in different ways that may not be so much medical as magical.  She is also finding out that Lyle House is more than it appears to be.

This is an okay book, but it didn't blow me away.  It takes a long time to get the story going.  I felt like 2/3rd's of the book was spent setting up the story.  Then things pick up and start to get mysterious and interesting.  But that first part was a pretty boring read.  Chloe is an okay character but spends most of her time trying to runaway from her problems, trying to blend in, or hiding.  I really didn't find her all engaging as a character and the same can be said of the rest of the characters in this book.  This book was also creepier than I thought it would be, almost more of a horror than a paranormal read at times.

The idea of supernatural powers as mental illness is interesting but has been done before.  Amelia Atwater-Rhodes did an interesting take on this in her book Persistence of Memory.  At the end of the book the plot starts to expand some and things get much more interesting.  Right at the end of the book we also see Chloe trying to act with some sort of conviction.  So, I am hoping the next book will find Chloe a more likable character.

The writing is nothing special, but it is easy to read and somewhat engaging.  Not a ton of action in this book either.  Armstrong is creating an interesting world but we only get a partial idea for it in this book.  The book ends on a total cliffhanger with absolutely nothing resolved, which always irks me.  So, I would recommend having the second book on hand or else you will be totally unfulfilled after the first book.

I already have the second book on hand so I will read it.  I am not all that impressed with this series so far though.  The characters were weak and the pacing was slow.  Things did pick up at the end of the book, so I am hoping that the second book will prove to be more interesting.

Overall it was an okay book but there are better series out there to read.  Melissa de La Cruz's Blue Bloods series is very good, Maggie Stiefvater's books are great, and Lesley Livingston's books are also interesting reads if you are looking for good supernatural teen series.  I also enjoyed Aprilynne Pike's Wings and Michelle Rowen's Demon Princess series.

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
- The Young Adult Reading Challenge
- The 100+ Book Reading Challenge
- 1st in a Series Reading Challenge
The Summoning (Darkest Powers, Book 1) 

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