The Summoning: Darkest Powers, Book 1

Book review by
Matt Berman, Common Sense Media
The Summoning: Darkest Powers, Book 1 Book Poster Image
Popular with kids
Slow but suspenseful teen supernatural fantasy.

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 28 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.


Visions of ghosts who died gruesomely, including a hanged man, a woman whose skin and hair burns off, a man with melted skin and an eyeball sliding down his cheek, and a man who falls into an industrial saw. A girl hits another girl in the head with a brick, then ties her up and leaves her. A fight with a switchblade. Adults shoot at teens with a tranquilizer gun.


Getting a period is a plot point, a description of the first period, a mention of "inappropriate touching," two teens are assumed to be making out (they aren't), a teen is told he will be accused of sexual assault (he's innocent).


"Bitch" is used more than once.


Clothing, video game, computer, electronics, department store, restaurant chain, painkiller, car brands mentioned.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Children are given medications they don't need to keep them compliant.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that there are some gruesome visions of ghosts who died violently, and a girl getting her period is a plot point.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 11 and 13-year-old Written bymom-teacher-reader May 12, 2011

Loved the book

I really liked this book and the others in the series. It touches on some of the things that kids really worry about, like not fitting in, taking medication for... Continue reading
Adult Written bycaitlin89 September 17, 2009
I loved this book! it was amazing! I would recommend it for maybe 12 or 13 years and up. 11 may be pushing it! It all depends on how scared your child is of gho... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written bysprintingsnail April 29, 2020

Absolutely amazing series!

This is one of my all time favourite books, the series is phenomenal, better than a lot of things I've read - and I've read quite a few books in my ti... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byPhinnous February 2, 2013

Good Book

I really enjoyed this book. It is a perfect series for someone who likes the Twilight series. There is quite a bit of violence in the books, but if are at least... Continue reading

What's the story?

When Chloe begins seeing gruesome ghosts and flips out in school, she is placed in a group home for disturbed teens. There she begins to realize that all of the kids in the home have supernatural abilities, and that sometimes they are taken away from the home and not seen again. As she begins to understand her new talent, she also discovers that the building itself has a dark past linked to those with supernatural abilities -- and that she may not be safe there.

Is it any good?

Author Kelley Armstrong takes her time to get this story moving. This is no slam-bang action-adventure, though it does get pretty exciting in the last quarter. Before that, the author gradually builds up Chloe's (and the readers) understanding of what is happening to her and around her, though the reader will get there long before Chloe does. By the end, though, Chloe and her friends have just barely begun on their journey to understand themselves and their world, which is quite different than what they have been brought up to believe. The cover picture, showing a hot girl in a low-cut dress holding a ruby pendant, may convince some boys that this book is not for them. That would be a shame -- with a touch of gruesome and edgy violence, and that last action-packed quarter of the book, along with ghosts, werewolves, and magic, boys will find just as much to like here as girls. Those who persevere through the rather slow start will find that this has more in common with Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment (if that were written well and had fewer plot holes) than it does with Gossip Girls: a group of kids with special powers trying to escape from scientists who want to experiment on them. A fun start to what should be an exciting new series.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about mental illness and the supernatural. Is it possible that people we think are ill are actually in touch with things we can't see or hear?

  • If you had special abilities, would people think there was something wrong with you?

  • Does that happen to kids whose abilities aren't supernatural? Do you know kids who are treated as if there's something wrong with them just because they have an unusual talent? How do you treat them?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love thrills

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