After years of frequent moves following her mother’s death, Chloe Saunders’s life is finally settling down. She is attending art school, pursuing her dreams of becoming a director, making friends, and meeting boys. Her biggest concern is that she’s not developing as fast as her friends are. But when puberty does hit, it brings more than hormone surges. Chloe starts seeing ghosts–everywhere, demanding her attention. After she suffers a breakdown, her devoted aunt Lauren gets her into a highly recommended group home.
At first, Lyle House seems a pretty okay place, except for Chloe’s small problem of fearing she might be facing a lifetime of mental illness. But as she gradually gets to know the other kids at the home–charming Simon and his ominous, unsmiling brother Derek, obnoxious Tori, and Rae, who has a “thing” for fire–Chloe begins to realize that there is something that binds them all together, and it isn’t your usual “problem kid” behaviour. And together they discover that Lyle House is not your usual group home either… – Goodreads description
Oh man. I am NOT good with creepy. Bloody, violent, scary? Sure. Criminal Minds? No problem. Creepy rotting corpse ghosts? I’m hiding under my blankets and never ever ever coming out again. I realized in the first chapter that this book might be tough for me. By the time I got about a quarter of the way through I had to stop and have a stern discussion with myself. Big girl panties were mentioned. By the time I was halfway through I seriously considered admitting I am way too much of a scaredy cat for this book and quitting. But I needed to know what happened, so I kept reading. It’s possible I now need therapy. Thanks, Kelley. Thanks a lot. Like I didn’t already have enough mental issues.
One good thing to come out of my current state of quivering mess-itude is that I can now wholeheartedly recommend this book to those who enjoy a bit of creepy dead stuff in their books. In fact, they’ll probably read it and tell me it’s not even remotely scary. You know, to anyone but me. And all have a good laugh. You’re welcome. Now that you’re done laughing at me, let’s get on with the review, shall we?
The premise of this book was intriguing – if totally terrifying. For more than one reason. Other than the obvious (seeing gross dead people), Chloe’s condition brings with it another source of terror. That the majority of the world won’t understand her ability, and will think she’s either lying or suffering from hallucinations. Which is basically what happened.
So I felt for her. I felt for all the kids at Lyle House. You get the feeling pretty early on that there’s something odd going on there, and Armstrong did a great job of slowly building the suspense and tension. She doesn’t jump right in with the supernatural stuff. She gives the reader time to decide what they want to believe, and she slowly reveals more and more. She did this in The Gathering as well, and it was one of the things I really liked about the book. It worked well here too.
She also developed the characters expertly. They’ve got layers, and they’re not perfect angels or villains. She gives you reasons to feel for each of them – and reasons to be wary of them. Particularly given that these are kids who are in an institution for things we don’t know about, it’s a realistic portrayal of how I imagine it would feel to adjust to such a social setting.
There were definitely lots of twists and turns in the plot that I didn’t expect (along with a few I did, but that’s fine) and it moved along without dragging. I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone who’s as big of a
chicken shit sissy as me, but if you’ve got a strong constitution for horror, you’ll be totally fine, and you’ll really enjoy this.
Oh, and make sure you’ve got book two (The Awakening) on hand, because this ends on a cliff hanger, and you’re gonna wanna know what happens next!
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Series: Darkest Powers #1
Published By: HarperCollins
Released: March 31, 2009
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