Literature: Darkest Powers
"There was no sign on the front lawn proclaiming Lyle 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...
- The Summoning
- The Awakening
- The Reckoning
- The Gathering
- The Calling
- The Rising (Spring 2013)
There are unmarked spoilers for both The Summoning
and The Awakening
ahead; anything actually put in spoiler tags signifies big, big spoilers for The Reckoning
This series provides examples of:
- Abusive Parents: Diane Enright.
- Affably Evil: Dr. Davidoff.
- Alpha Bitch: Tori.
- Always Chaotic Evil: How werewolves are viewed by many supernaturals.
- 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.
- Apologetic Attacker: Chloe is this when she accidentally raises the dead.
- Armor-Piercing Question: Chloe gets in four of these in about thirty seconds.
(after Derek asks her to come with him while he's Changing)
Chloe: How can you even ask me that? How many times did you chew me out today? Make me feel like everything's going wrong and it's all my fault?
Derek: That's not what I meant. If I hurt you...
Chloe: How could you not hurt me?
- Ax-Crazy: Royce.
- Beast and Beauty: Derek and Chloe, respectively.
- Berserk Button: If he sees you threatening or harming either Chloe or Simon, Derek is going to make sure that you regret it.
- Better as Friends: Chloe and Simon.
- 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 Bad Friend: Andrew.
- Big Brother Instinct: Derek, toward Simon.
- 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 of The 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.
- The Big Guy: Derek fits into Class 5.
- 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.
- Blessed with Suck: Chloe, to the max.
- Blessed with Suck / Cursed with Awesome: Derek. On one hand, he has super strength and enhanced senses, and he can turn into a wolf. On the other hand, most people generally assume that he's a monster and occasionally aren't adverse to having him killed. Either way, the fact that he's a werewolf inspires immediate wariness in most supernaturals.
- Body Horror: Derek's attempts at Changing.
- Cassandra Truth / The Cassandra: Chloe's attempt to convince Rae that the Edison Group are actually really bad people. As is typical of this trope, Rae refuses to listen.
- The Cavalry: Derek and Liz, when Diane Enright is holding Chloe and Lauren hostage. Then, later, Kit Bae, Simon and Derek's father.
- Character Development: Everyone, really, to varying degrees, but especially Tori.
- Clingy Jealous Girl: Tori with Simon in The Summoning.
- Combat Pragmatist: Derek and Chloe definitely fit this trope, as does Simon. And Kit, too.
- Cute and Psycho: Tori, before her Character Development.
- Deadpan Snarker: Derek, of all people, has multiple moments of this.
- Dead Person Conversation: Happens a lot, for obvious reasons.
- 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.
- Defrosting Ice Queen: Tori.
- 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.
- Disappeared Dad: Kit Bae.
- Liz's and Rae's fathers. Justified, considering their fathers are demons.
- Does Not Know His Own Strength: Derek, in his first moment alone with Chloe, in the basement of Lyle House. It goes badly. Also, before the start of the series, Derek accidentally broke the back of the guy who was threatening his brother with a knife just by throwing him.
- Don't Split Us Up: Derek and Simon.
- Fantastic Racism: All werewolves are evil! No, really!
- First Kiss: Chloe's first kiss goes to Simon.
- Genetic Engineering Is the New Nuke: Chloe and Tori, whose power levels are over 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.
- Genki Girl: Liz.
- Genre Savvy: Chloe, definitely. She wants to be a director after all.
- Get a Hold of Yourself Man / Big "NO!": Chloe manages to snap Derek out of his berserker rage at the last second with a verbal slap, delivered in the form of a scream of "No!" It's lucky that Chloe's a good person, considering the girl she saved from being smashed with inhuman force against a brick wall (and subsequently rendered crippled or dead) had been trying to carve up Chloe's face with a switchblade about two seconds previously.
- Gilded Cage: Where Chloe, Rae, and Tori are kept after they're captured by the Edison Group.
- Give Him a Normal Life: The reason that Kit takes Derek out of the Edison Group's facility when Derek is five.
- Good Parent: Kit Bae, who is pretty much the only example in the series.
- Hands-Off Parenting: Er... every parent, with the notable exception of Kit Bae.
- 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.
- Holding Hands: Simon and Chloe, Chloe and Derek.
- Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Derek and Chloe.
- Hyper Awareness: Derek. Chloe, too, to a certain degree.
- 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 them an 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.
- I See Dead People: Chloe, obviously.
- I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Derek in regards to Chloe and his brother Simon.
- Incest Is Relative: Tori and Simon, though both of them unaware that they're related. Thankfully, Simon had no interest in Tori, and Tori got over her crush after having to spend a day with Simon.
- Interspecies Romance: Derek and Chloe.
- Involuntary Shapeshifting: Derek, being a werewolf, although it's implied he just hasn't learned how to control his transformations yet.
- It's All My Fault: Derek manages to invoke this trope like crazy, and not be self-absorbed or emo about it. Probably because he doesn't whine about it, and is only ever obvious about it under completely understandable circumstances. It generally crops up in two situations:
- 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.
- Jerk Ass Woobie: Tori, definitely. Derek takes this Up to Eleven and then Serial Escalation
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Derek.
- Last Minute Hookup: Chloe and Derek, though this is justified, considering they're running for their lives, which sort of puts romance on the back burner.
- Let's Read: There's one that starts here.
- Lightning Bruiser: Derek, of the fast-moving big bruiser variety.
- Long Lost Sibling: Tori and Simon.
- Mad Oracle: Necromancers eventually go insane due to their powers.
- Master of the Mixed Message: Derek may quite possibly be the Trope Codifier, or at least capable of giving the current record holder a run for her/his money.
- Meddling Parents: Aunt Lauren, in a mild sense.
- 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.
- Motor Mouth: Liz is a good non-obnoxious example.
- Mr. Fanservice: Derek is extremely popular with the fans, and most of the Mary Sues created for the series seem to be paired with him.
- In-canon example: Simon. He smiles, and the world practically falls at his feet.
- Played with in Dangerous, when he rants to Derek with this: “So let me get this straight: You save my ass and you’re a loser. I stick up for you because of it and I’m a hero. How does that work?”
- Though, Derek also counts as an in-universe example, due to how when he Changes from his wolf form to human, he doesn't have any clothes on. He gets Chloe with this at least once on accident.
- Murder the Hypotenuse: Tori doesn't try to murder Chloe, exactly, but Chloe could have easily been killed by what Tori did do to her.
- 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.
- Naïve Newcomer: Chloe.
- Necromancer: Chloe. She's a rare example of a protagonist necromancer who is honestly good.
- Nerves of Steel: Derek, no question. Chloe, too.