"There was no sign on the front lawn proclaimingLyle House for Crazy Kids."
A series of YA novels by Kelley Armstrong, set in the same universe as her adult series The Otherworld. The series is divided into trilogies, each narrated in first person by a different character. "Darkest Powers" is the name of both the entire series, and of the first trilogy in the series.The first trilogy, Darkest Powers, is narrated by Chloe Saunders, a fifteen-year-old girl who's diagnosed with schizophrenia when she starts seeing ghosts. She's sent to a group home for mentally disturbed teenagers but she soon starts to realize that there's more to her problems than insanity.The second trilogy, Darkness Rising, is narrated by Maya Delaney, a sixteen-year-old girl with a birthmark in the exact shape of a cat's paw. A newcomer to her tiny town also starts to pay attention to her - and her birthmark.
Summary of The Summoning
After years of frequent moves following her mother's death, Chloe Saunders' life is finally settling down. She is attending art school, pursuing her dream of becoming a director, as well as making friends and (hopefully) 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—and starts seeing them 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...
Anger Born of Worry: Derek invokes this all the damned time, and it's generally aimed in Chloe's direction. He gets much better about it in the final book, though. And towards the end of The Awakening, to a certain degree.
Apocalypse Maiden: Not so much in the literal sense of destroying the world, but Margaret looks at Chloe this way after Chloe rips open the earth while simply trying to summon a ghost, and raises countless zombies accidentally. Diriel (the demi-demon) insinuates that the Edison Group's subjects are potentially these.
Beware the Nice Ones: Chloe. The Reckoning cements this, because when Chloe's other options are taken away from her and she's facing a short and painful future, she takes the only path left to her. After a guard is killed by Diane Enright (who framed her daughter for it) and Chloe is taken to a different room and imprisoned, she raises the guard from the dead and forces him to walk to her room and open the door. She releases his soul back to the afterlife as quickly as she can... But then she makes a deal with the demi-demon, Diriel, that is bound to the building. Chloe releases Diriel, and transfers her to the guard's body, so Diriel can help her escape.
Then, later, Dr. Davidoff is holding Chloe, Derek, Lauren, Tori, and Simon at gunpoint, and is going to kill at least one of them. Diane is dead on the floor behind him, with her gun beside her. Chloe shoves Diane's soul back into her body to raise her from the dead and forces her to shoot Davidoff in the back, killing him. Not bad for a tiny girl who is usually dismissed as useless in a fight.
Big Damn Heroes: Derek has at least one of these moments in each book. The first is when he finds Chloe locked in the basement crawlspace in The Summoning, which wouldn't be that much of a Big Damn Hero moment if it weren't for the fact that she'd just raised both corpses that were in the crawlspace with her. The second is in The Awakening, when he tracks Chloe down in just enough time to save her from having her face carved up. He gets two in The Reckoning: First, when Liam finally attempts to kill Chloe, Derek tackles him from the bushes, having managed to finish Changing back to human form, and again at the end of the book, when Chloe and Lauren are being held at gunpoint by Diane Enright — Derek, in wolf form, comes out of nowhere and takes her down.
Kit Bae gets an awesome one in the climax ofThe Reckoning.
Liz has two in The Reckoning, when she shows up again out of nowhere and distracts a vicious, psychotic Volo half-demon ghost from killing Chloe long enough for Chloe to banish him, and a minor version when she appears with Derek when he takes out Diane Enright, since he needed her to open doors for him.
Subverted with Gwen, who has a tragic example when she comes back to help the kids, even though she knows it's dangerous, but dies before she can do anything to help them. Even in death, she tries to help Chloe, though once again she doesn't have the chance to do much beyond simply warning Chloe.
Bit Part Badguys: Liam and Ramon in The Awakening. Until they reappear in The Reckoning and you realize that their "chance meeting" with Derek and Chloe wasn't such an incredibly unlikely fluke after all.
Deal with the Devil: Chloe makes a deal with Diriel (the female demi-demon) in The Reckoning and ends up freeing her in exchange for her help escaping the Edison Group's facility. However Diriel honestly seemed to like Chloe, and didn't try to find loopholes in the terms of their deal. When her Lord, a full demon, appeared, she might even have been trying to protect Chloe from him by telling him that Chloe is weak and not worthy of his notice. She also apologized to Chloe when the full demon called her back before she could complete their bargain.
Death Seeker: Derek occasionally shows signs of this, to the distress of Chloe and Simon.
Disproportionate Retribution: In The Summoning, Tori lures Chloe down into a basement crawlspace, then hits her over the head with a brick, binds and gags her, and locks her in. Oh, and leaves her there, without telling anyone. And why? Because the Chloe had the gall to talk to the guy Tori liked.
Genetic Engineering Is the New Nuke: Chloe and Tori, whose power levels areover NINE THOUSAAAAAAAAND!!! To get a better idea of how ridiculously strong Chloe is, in The Reckoning, Chloe is taken to a graveyard for some lessons from an adult necromancer. When trying to summon a ghost, Chloe accidentally rips open the earth itself, summoning several undead animals and at least one human zombie. Raising the dead isn't something a necromancer is supposed to be capable of doing until he or she has had a few years of training and even then only with the help of a ritual. Chloe just raised several dead accidentally.
Genius Bruiser: Derek. This surprises Chloe when she first finds out, considering Derek generally gives off the impression of being dumb muscle.
Healing Factor: Nothing dramatic, but Derek, being a werewolf, heals faster than humans do. He can also take more of a beating.
Heel-Face Turn: Tori, although she was never evil, per se. Just... incredibly fucked up and vindictive.
Heroic BSOD: Derek suffers one of these after he kills Liam, despite the fact that Liam was trying to kill him—and, more importantly to Derek, Chloe.
Tori also suffers one, when her mother is killed.
Hidden Depths: Derek, obviously. Chloe, too, though not to the reader, as we're in her head — but upon first meeting her, due to her looks, other characters have dismissed her as a dumb blonde at first, notably Derek and Tori.
Hypocrite: Derek. It's fine for him to throw himself into harm's way and nearly get himself killed, but if Chloe or Simon do anything remotely risky, you can be certain that Derek is going to give theman earful.
I Just Want to Be Special: Rae is very excited to learn that she's a half-demon, and moreover, an Exustio, which is the highest-ranking and most powerful kind of fire half-demon, thus making her special.
First, when something bad happens to the people around him simply because he's with them, and because they're considered just collateral damage in the assailants' quest to kill/capture Derek. Unfortunately, that kind of thing happens a lot, and he often feels that his family (and Chloe) would be safer and far better off without him.
Second, it occasionally causes him to have a Heroic BSOD if he's hurt someone with his strength due to his mind basically shutting down and recognizing nothing but his Up to Eleven "remove the threat" instinct when anyone he cares about is threatened. It should be noted that he's only ever harmed people who were a serious and/or potentially deadly threat, but to Derek, it doesn't make a difference.
It's Not You, It's My Enemies: Derek, with his family and with Chloe. He has two moments like this: Once in the Dangerous novella, and once in The Reckoning after Chloe is almost raped and murdered just because she was with him.
Jerk Ass: Tori, though she starts to get better. Derek... improves.
Missing Mom: Chloe's mother is dead, Rae's (biological) mother is nowhere to be found, and Simon's mom is mostly a mystery, but it's implied that she left Kit and Simon voluntarily.
Liz's mom was... er, in her life, so to speak, but she was pretty messed up and was often put into a mental institution by the court system whenever she was arrested again for some kind of petty crime.
Moment Killer: Exactly how many times did people walk in on Chole and Derek's almost-kissing or just-started-kissing moments? Simon deserves a first place ribbon for cockblocking.
Moral Dilemma: Chloe has one of these every time she decides to raises a corpse or two or release a demi-demon who originated from a Hell dimension.
My God, What Have I Done?: Derek has a minor (off-screen) freak out in The Summoning, after he accidentally throws Chloe across the room instead of what he meant to do, which was simply tug her back. In the Dangerous novella, set before the series, he goes through something like this after he paralyses a kid by throwing the kid away from Simon. Although the kid was threatening Simon with a knife, Derek still feels horrifically guilty and blames himself for what happened.
Derek again, in The Reckoning, after he kills Liam by breaking his neck. Again, the fact that Liam was going to kill them doesn't stop Derek from suffering a Heroic BSOD over it.
Parental Abandonment: Chloe, with her father. Although he loves her, she admits that he probably never really wanted kids and only had Chloe because her mother wanted a child so much; even so, she says that even if he doesn't really know what to make of her, she's "like a puppy left to him by someone he loved very much, and he struggles to do right by it even if he isn't much of a dog person."
Simon and Derek, although their father (foster father, in Derek's case) didn't leave them voluntarily. Played straight in Derek's case; he has no idea who his parents are, but then again, he doesn't really care.
Of course, you have to take into account the fact that Derek never really seems to care what people might do to him — or, at least, it doesn't cause him to lose his cool. It's when other people are threatened that he's in danger of going postal.
Rich Bitch: Refreshingly averted with Chloe who just takes some things for granted. After learning about this trait she fixes it as fast as possible. Tori is much closer to this trope.
Romantic Runner-Up: Simon, although he avoids the general cliche of this trope by being a guy that lots of girls would love to date, while Derek, who gets the girl is more YMMV.
Savage Wolves: Liam and Ramon are wolf creatures; Liam is a monster and Ramon is practically a saint in comparisonslightly less of a monster.
She Is Not My Girlfriend: Averted. Multiple times in The Awakening and The Reckoning, people talking to Derek will refer to Chloe as "your girlfriend", and while talking to Chloe and referring to Derek, "your boyfriend". They never deny it. For one thing, it's not worth it. For another thing, the first people to taunt them about it are two werewolves intent on killing Derek and raping Chloe afterwards, so neither of them bother to correct the werewolves. The second time is in a crowded restaurant, where Chloe unwittingly chats with a ghost for half an hour while Derek is in line, until finally a few guys at another table burst out laughing. One of them tells Derek that his girlfriend's day pass from the psych ward is expired. Chloe and Derek just leave — mostly for Chloe's sake, to just get her out of there, but about five percent because Derek clearly wanted to deck the guy.
Sleep Cute: When Derek finally Changes into a wolf, he's exhausted, and soon falls asleep. Chloe ends up falling asleep as well while using him as a pillow.
A half-example occurs when Chloe curls up in a chair and falls asleep. She wakes up to find Derek sitting on a couch near her, making sure that she's not left vulnerable while essentially dead to the world, and she realizes that he brought her a glass of water and covered her with a blanket while she was asleep. It's a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming, especially when Chloe finally accepts how very much she does love Derek after she realizes just how good it felt to wake up and have him there with her.
Chloe also scolds herself for acting like this whenever Derek calls for her in The Reckoning. Particularly when he was about to begin his third Change; she had to exercise an enormous amount of control to keep from immediately leaping up and running to him because she remembered she was supposed to be mad at him at the time. She eventually gave in, though only because he was blatantly afraid of what was happening to him and she didn’t want him to go through it alone.
Tall, Dark and Snarky: The fans view Derek as this, for sure. Simon in canon too, just without the "dark" part - not only is he legitimately good-looking and of a decent height, the whole reason he was attacked by those three guys in Dangerous was because his snark owned theirs. Of course, all of this still wasn't enough to score the girl in the end.
They Would Cut You Up: What Simon, Tori, Chloe, and Derek fear will happen to them if the Edison Group gets a hold of them again.
What Does She See in Him?: What a lot of people are bound to think in regards to Derek and Chloe. Hell, even Chloe says as much when she realizes that she’s fallen for the jerk and not the nice guy.
The Unfavorite: Tori; her sister, who is tiny, cute, blonde, and blue-eyed) gets all the attention and love, while no matter how hard Tori tries, she can't please her mother. Tori also hates Chloe for this: Not only does Chloe look like all the things that Tori's sister is (tiny, cute, blonde, blue-eyed, etc.), Chloe also usurped Tori's spot as Lyle House's model patient, and caught the interest of Simon, on whom Tori had a crush.
What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Derek, sadly. As a werewolf, he's automatically considered by most supernaturals to be one screw up away from pure evil — which is, unfortunately, a stereotype that most werewolves fulfill — or, at the very least, a dangerous animal to be avoided with great prejudice, and killed if necessary.
In The Reckoning, Diane kills a guard in front of several guards and Edison Group members, and immediately pins the blame on Tori. Chloe calls Diane out on this, so she hits Chloe with a non-lethal, but still painful, spell, and pins that on Tori too, claiming that she's out of control. Of course, nobody wants to dispute this, lest they get zapped by the psychotic witch as well.
With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Chloe. Not at the moment, obviously, but most necromancers go insane later in life — and the more powerful they are, the more likely it is to happen. And the faster it will happen. Considering Chloe is very likely the most powerful necromancer in existence...
It's likely that the 'madness' aspect of necromancy is something that the Edison Group tried to fix, but only time will tell if they succeeded. Necromancers go mad because they're constantly plagued by spirits rather than because of any genetic quirk.