Top critical review
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Too slow paced
on 16 August 2008
THE SUMMONING is the first book by Armstrong that I have read. Looking at the synopsis and reading reviews on Amazon.com, I thought I was going to be in for a treat. Unfortunately, I found it to be a disappointment.
THE SUMMONING is about Chloe Saunders, a teenage girl who begins seeing ghosts. When she is chased by a badly burnt janitor through her school, her fear causes her to thrash out at her teachers. The violence and Chloe's insistence that there is a man there which they cannot see, result in her being taken off to a hospital before ending up in Lyle House, a home for mentally disturbed children.
Within her first couple of days there, Chloe is diagnosed by the staff as having schizophrenia. But Chloe is unsure that this correct - is she ill or are her visions for real? And as Chloe spends more time at Lyle House, she begins to suspect that the home is not all that it seems.
That is the basic plot. Sounds impressive. Armstrong's writing is quite good - the way that she discusses mental illness and being 'normal' is convincing; it throws up areas of debate and consideration. However, as I got further into this book, I felt as though the writing lacked any true suspense or driving force. The pace seemed incredibly slow, to me, with very little really happening upto well into pages 200+. Also, the repetitive way that Armstrong had other characters, especially a boy called Derek, suddenly appear from seemingly nowhere got very infuriating. It made the novel seem lazy to me, which is a shame.
Although I know that Armstrong has written books for adults, I will not be choosing to read them following this. Even as a YA book, THE SUMMONING was left under-par by my standards.