Wednesday, 13 April 2011

The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong

4 Stars. (Young Adult - PNR)

So this is what I said to my friend when she asked me what I thought of the ending of this book...

"Really good! It was just kinda going along all smooth, introducing readers to the world and then BAM! For like the last 150-200 pages it moves super quick and you're just trying to keep up with all the action. And then BAM! it ends and you're like WHAT?! but what happens?"

Luckily I was smart and anticipated that this would be a story I would want to continue so I scurried over to the bookstore and bought the second in Kelley Armstrong's Darkest Powers series The Awakening

I've read Kelley Armstrong's books before but never anything from her YA series. I really love her style of writing and she creates some very impressive and inventive storylines. I have to say, at first, although I really liked the way the story was moving it read a bit young. I've been reading a lot of YA novels lately and every author has their own voice so I accepted that this one was a bit younger and moved on with the story. In a sense the younger voice fits because the main character Chloe is only 15. The main characters range in age from 15-17.
Like I said before the story is very inventive and it really drew me in...the prologue was especially eerie. I appreciated that Armstrong didn't linger in lala land (my definition of how some authors will drag out the beginning, establishing everything just so before thrusting readers into the action - I hate that.) Chloe spends one day at school and then she's sent to Lyle House where the real action takes place.

There was a lot of progression as the story moved steadily forward, and it took a while for something really dramatic to happen, but it never felt boring or dragged out. Every scene has a purpose and its all important for putting the various puzzle pieces together.

The characters were all distinct and had their own voice and I really liked them all, even Tori the mean girl is likeable if only for her utter bitchiness. She had her vulnerabilities though and I'm interested to see this character progress in the next books.

As for my favourite character - HELLO DEREK! He's so unique. He's cagey, strong, super loyal to his brother, rude and dismissive to others but you can tell that he has so much going on inside his head. He's constantly thinking and is super smart. I waited for scenes with him to crop up to get my fix. I also have to say that I adored the fact that for once a hero in a YA book wasn't the tall dark and handsome gotta have him guy! Derek is so anti-good looking. He's pimply, Chloe describes him as the perfect pinup for a "before" photo of someone using acne cream. He's sweaty and apparently has bad BO, but he's also very strong and has more the body of an adult male - super muscular - than that of a 16 year old teenager. His looks have a lot to do with what he is, but I loved that Armstrong didn't make him the guy girls go gaga over. I'm very intrigued by Derek and all his secrets and can't wait to see the layers of his personality pealed back.

Chloe was a good lead, she's fiesty but vulnerable and she has flaws. She isn't perfect by any means and I liked that her fears also became her strengths and the things I liked most about her. She's not a stupid heroine, she makes smart choices and thinks things through before she acts. She has a stutter and its super cute. When she's nervous of scared she stutters and I always had to smile when at the beginning she'd stutter constantly whenever Derek was around. In two words "Slow down." he'd turn her from stuttering scardy cat to angry tiger. I really enjoyed the moments between these two because they didn't really like each other in the beginning. I'm eager to see how their relationship will change after the events that took place at the end of this book.

The mystery behind Lyle House is intriguing and keeps you guessing and there are some really good twists and turns that go on.
There were some moments that bugged me, mostly when the Chloe was interacting with the adults. They're all very predictably clueless (or pretending to be that way) and make a whole lot of inane assumptions. They're frustrating and constantly cut the kids off and I wanted to scream at all the stupid adults to shush. This is not a huge flaw of the book, though, it actually makes a lot of sense that they would be this way.

Great first book in what is shaping up to be a really intriguing series!

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