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"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 Darker and Edgier 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 (April 2012)
WARNING: 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.
- 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)
- 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. Oh, and how. 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 Badass Wolf: Derek. Obviously.
- Liam and Ramon also fit this trope, with Liam being a Complete Monster and Ramon being
practically a saint in comparisonslightly less of a monster.
- Liam and Ramon also fit this trope, with Liam being a Complete Monster and Ramon being
- 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. Subverted in that 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.
- Did Not Do the Research: In spades, when it comes to mental illnesses.
- Subverted, actually. None of the kids exhibit the proper symptoms of mental illnesses because they aren't mentally ill. The Edison Group was lying to them; the diagnoses were tailored to fit what the kids were experiencing. It's Lampshaded by Rae in the first book when she points out that a lot of the symptoms of their diagnoses don't fit, yet they've been slapped with the label anyway.
- 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.
- 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?”
- 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!!!
- 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.
- 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.
- Jerkass: Tori, though she starts to get better. Derek... improves.
- Jerkass 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.
- Love At First Sight: Averted hard with Chloe and Derek. Oh so much.
- 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.
- 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.
- Naive 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.
- Noble Demon: Diriel is arguably one of these.
- No Periods, Period: Averted with Chloe, for obvious reasons.
- No Sparks: Simon and Chloe, when they kiss after their date.
- No Sympathy: Derek is really, really good at this trope sometimes. For example:
"Stop sulking. It's just hair."
- Official Couple: Chloe and Derek.
- Offing the Offspring: Diane frames Tori, her own daughter, for murder, knowing that it will result in Tori's death.
- Dr. Todd Banks murdered his nephew, Royce.
- Our Ghosts Are Different
- Our Souls Are Different
- Our Werewolves Are Different
- Painful Transformation: Derek, of the physical sort. And how.
- 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.
- Liz and Rae.
- Parental Substitute: Aunt Lauren for Chloe; Liz's nana.
- Playing with Fire: Rae, naturally.
- Plucky Girl: Chloe, definitely. And Liz to the nth degree.
- Power Incontinence: Chloe, who is at risk of raising the dead in her sleep, or if she summons too hard. Derek can't control his Changes (yet). Liz, when she was alive, would unknowingly make things fly, and hurl them at people who angered her. Tori's magic occasionally lashes out when she's upset or angry, such as when she threw a lightning bolt at Chloe.
- Properly Paranoid
- Puberty Superpower: All of them; puberty is when supernaturals first start to come into their powers.
- Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: Derek is perfectly okay with letting Liam and Ramon pin the blame for their own so-bad-the-death-penalty-is-inevitable crimes on him before sending him off to the Alpha of the local werewolf pack, until Liam involves Chloe in the deal and literally says, "I like them young". And then Derek just attacks.
- Rich in Dollars, Poor In Sense: Tori.
- 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 actually gets the girl... yeah, not so much with the 'girls would love to date him'.
- Try telling that to the fangirls.
- 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.
- Sibling Triangle: Simon and Derek with Chloe.
- 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.
- Smitten Teenage Girl: Tori when it comes to Simon.
- 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.
- Speech Impediment: Chloe has a stutter. She can mostly keep it under control unless she's nervous or frightened. After all of the crap she's been through, she's become accustomed enough to horrible situations that her stutter doesn't crop up as often as it used to. It's still there, though.
- Superpowerful Genetics
- Super Senses: Derek has all of them.
- Tall, Dark and Snarky: The fans view Derek as this, for sure. And 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 allow him 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.
- Too Powerful to Live: Margaret and Russell see the kids as this.
- What Does She See in Him?: Probably 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.
- Up to Eleven: Derek's instinctive need to protect his "pack". Chloe's powers may be Up To Twelve.
- Underestimating Badassery: All of the kids are underestimated at some point or another, but especially Chloe.
- Unstoppable Rage: Derek is not going to be very happy with you if you threaten or harm Chloe and/or Simon in front of him.
- What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Derek, sadly. As a werewolf, he's pretty much automatically considered by most supernaturals to be one screw up away from turning into a Complete Monster — 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.
- Wicked Mother: Diane Enright, holy shit.
- 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.
- Witch Species
- Witch with a Capital B: Almost averted by Tori. When talking to her mother, she calls Chloe a "B-- witch." Which is ironic, considering that Tori herself is unknowingly a hereditary witch.
- A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing: Derek is assumed to be this by almost everyone he meets, when in fact, metaphorically, the opposite is true.