Last time on the Summoning, Chloe found out her aunt knew she was a necromancer and they’re planning to kill Derek and all the kids are supernaturals!
Chloe wakes up in an empty room, but she’s still pretty loopy from the sedative. She’s also feeling pretty betrayed by her aunt.
I fingered my necklace. Was this more than a silly talisman to convince me I was safe? Did my mother really think it would protect me? Is that why Aunt Lauren had insisted I wear it at Lyle House?
A very good question that should have been asked before now. It certainly doesn’t seem to have stopped her from seeing ghosts these last few days. Does it have some other purpose?
Did my father know? Was that why he stayed away from me? Because I was a freak?
That’s kind of out of left field. If her dad knew and wanted nothing to do with her, he could have just handed her off to her aunt.
Then she wonders if her mother really did die in an accident or if she was murdered. You know what could resolve that question? Summoning her ghost. Instead Chloe just thinks No. I squeezed the thought from my brain as I clutched the pillow tighter. I couldn’t let my mind start running away like that or I’d go crazy.
Chloe starts thinking that this doesn’t make sense. Why lie to the kids instead of telling them?
I remembered what Simon said about his dad.
He worked for this research company, supernatural doctors and scientists trying to make things easier for other supernaturals.
Then I heard the ghost of the witch buried in the basement.
Sam Lyle promised us an easier life. That’s what we all want, isn’t it? Power without price. . .
And then she remembers Derek’s going to get killed. She needs to get out!
I turned around, seeing my surroundings. A double bed with big pillows and a thick comforter. Carpet on the floor. A desk. An armchair. A private bathroom through a half-open door. Like a fancy hotel room.
Across the room was a door, painted white. It looked like any interior door, but when I walked over and put my hands against it, it was cold steel. A thick steel door with no window, not even a peephole.
And no doorknob.
Sounds like it’s zombie army time!
Instead Chloe panics and thinks she’ll never get out and they’ll electrocute her until she bites off her tongue. She tries to reassure herself that Derek’s out now, but then she thinks what if he changes his mind and stays to help Simon escape???
You know what would help with all that, Chloe? Zombie army.
She thinks that eventually someone will come and let her out and maybe she’ll figure out a plan then.
Then she remembers Liz. She’s wearing Liz’s hoodie.
If she was dead, maybe I could summon her, get her to scout the building and—
That’s right. The only way to get Chloe to actually consider what happens to Liz is personal gain. But that’s not really a big deal compared to ignoring Liz this whole time. The book makes an attempt to defend this…
For days now, I’d refused to believe Liz had died. No matter how much proof I had, I couldn’t believe it because the very idea was insane.
…but it fails because she’s just completely ignored Liz, not simply Liz’s powers, for most of the book.
Incidentally, what proof are we talking about? Liz consistently violated the rules of ghost appearances: she didn’t seem to notice the passing of time, she appeared and disappeared at random, she didn’t seem to know what Chloe was or treat her differently, and she was unaffected by the wards. She didn’t fit with how ghosts seem to work, and shortly after we’re told astral projection also exists. The only evidence she’s dead is that she wasn’t included in the special kid list, and it’s entirely possible that was because she’s already been made a part of whatever the hell is going on.
She’d been a supernatural of some kind, and her powers were out of control, so they executed her.
But they don’t seem to have been doing anything about her powers! Her powers were flaring up because she was upset and everyone would then blame her and she’d get more upset. If you know that it’s actually her powers, you don’t need to kill her because you know that the problem isn’t that she’s just hopelessly violent.
And what about Peter? Had his parents pretended to pick him up only to let these people kill him? Or maybe because he got better, he got out. Liz didn’t get better … so she didn’t get out.
Actually, yes, what about Peter? If the idea with Liz was some sort of medication to shut off her abilities, then that’d be one thing, but with the way her aunt talks about it and what Gill said it sounds more like they’re trying to exploit supernatural kids, not make them normal. And Tori certainly seems like she’s just getting yanked around with no effort to actually help her get better.
My original guess was that Peter was one of the normal decoy kids, but considering everyone else was a supernatural kid and the fact they seem to only be making the slightest effort at looking legitimate (there’s no evidence that any such “glowing testimonials” or anything exist since Chloe’s aunt was actually in on the whole thing) I don’t see why they’d bother.
But then again, how did they manage to get so many kids? Supernaturals are supposed to be insanely rare. Of the kids, Chloe and Tori are both related to people in charge, and evidently Simon and Derek had some connection to the group already. That means only Liz and Rae could have ended up there legitimately, and honestly there’s not even evidence of that – we don’t know anything about Liz, and maybe Rae’s mother knew she’d adopted a half-demon and that’s why she gets sent to a group home as soon as she manifests her fire power (also explaining why her mother never comes to see her).
These are all questions that should have been raised at some point other than the last chapter.
Anyway, Liz is dead because Chloe suddenly just knows it. It’s just presented really badly, you know? There’s not a clear connection, like say Chloe realizing they’re all set to kill Derek as if it’s something they do all the time, so killing Liz wouldn’t be anything to them either.
They’ve stitched and bandaged her arm, and luckily didn’t remove the hoodie (or more probably, put it back on for some reason) despite the fact it was probably a mess. I don’t know why the author didn’t just have the hoodie on a chair or something for when she woke up, that seems more like how people would actually do things.
She spends an emo moment on the fact Liz died at a mere sixteen without a chance to do all sorts of things, and fuck off Chloe, you didn’t care for the whole book I refuse to buy that you care now.
I searched my room for cameras. I didn’t find any, but that didn’t mean there wasn’t one. If they saw me talking to myself, they’d figure out what I was doing, maybe decide my powers were out of control, like Liz’s.
a) I really don’t think you deliberately summoning a known person is going to convince them your power is out of control.
b) Talking to ghosts is not a good offensive power, so they don’t care.
c) They need you to interrogate the ghosts about Lyle’s research, while Liz’s power seemed pretty damn useless.
In other words this is just there so Chloe can look brave and extra special.
A perfectly valid worry, in contrast, is that they’ll try to stop her from using her power in case it helps her escape. Assuming there really was a supernatural community, which there obviously isn’t if people are all acting in individual secret societies like this, a necromancer should be, at the least, a huge security risk, as Chloe should be able to ask ghosts to get her in contact with another necromancer. Even if the place is warded against ghosts, it seems like it’s impossible to prevent a necromancer-ghost-necromancer chain of communication, because a necromancer can pull a ghost through a ward. Wards can only keep ghosts out if there’s no necromancer inside. And any other necromancer can then pass it on to everyone else, which, if there was any sort of community, you’d think would result in a rescue since you don’t want people preying on your next generation.
I didn’t need to worry about overdoing it and raising the dead. There were no corpses here. Or so I hoped.
Okay, first off, why wouldn’t there be if they murder people? And second, why would you hope that?
Look, it’s awesome that stuffing souls into their rotting corpses is acknowledged as wrong. It’s a rare glimpse of any sort of understandable morality in these books. But Chloe is afraid she’s going to be tortured to death, she knows one of her friends is definitely going to get killed and she’s pretty sure her other friends are in the same tortured-to-death boat as she is. She should be desperate enough to not care. It’s analogous to being willing to hurt someone in order to escape, even if that person isn’t to blame. Humans will hurt others to survive, it’s a thing we do. Some people may indeed be moral enough that they won’t do this, but Chloe has spent most of the book being an asshole. And at least raising the dead to save her own skin would be an acknowledged flaw – the book doesn’t seem to really be aware of anything else Chloe’s done wrong.
Anyway, she yanks Liz into the room, so I guess that finally proves that Liz is a ghost. Unless astral projection just functions similarly because we don’t even know what souls are or anything.
“Hello?” She waved a hand in front of my eyes. “What’s wrong, Chloe? There’s nothing to be scared of. I know, Lyle House isn’t exactly Disneyland but—” She looked around, brow furrowing. “This isn’t Lyle House, is it? Where—? Ohmy God. We’re in the hospital. They put you in here, too. When?”
Liz immediately proves she’s a better person by being concerned for Chloe’s wellbeing.
Anyway, Liz then says something very interesting:
“They have some funky meds here. I keep sleeping and having these dreams, and when I wake up, I’m totally confused. Did they give you those,too ?”
From the writing, it’s pretty clear Chloe isn’t supposed to be wrong about the ghost thing – once she came to the realization early this chapter, it was fact. So Liz is attributing her confusion to the meds. But what if she’s actually right? We know nothing much about how Chloe’s power interacts with astral projection, coma patients, etc, because we have no idea what ghosts are or how they work, so we don’t know the boundaries at all. As I’ve said before, Liz could be being kept in a coma or something to keep her under control.
Chloe does not consider this because she’s right, dammit. Instead she wonders if she should tell Liz about the whole being dead thing. Liz seems happy like this, but then she’ll figure it out eventually, right? Well…no, Chloe, I’m not sure she will since she seems to be in a loop. She never seems to realize she’s seen you before. (She didn’t even say she’d been having dreams about being back at the house and seeing Chloe.)
And how long do you think it’ll be before she figures it out? Shouldn’t you be the one to tell her?
I didn’t want to. I really, really didn’t want to. But I needed her to help me escape and rescue Rae and warn Simon and Derek. It was all on me this time, and to help them, I needed to do something awful.
Oh, I’m sorry I thought you were thinking about it because you were worried about her, but no, you were just saying that stuff to try to distract from the fact your real issue is you need to tell her so she can help you.
Most of what makes this seem so awful is how Chloe refuses to own up to it. If she’s just said “she seems happy and I feel bad I have to upset her but it’s necessary because I need her help” she’d be fine. But instead she’s trying to present it as doing it for Liz’s own good even when she’s being completely self-serving about her decision.
“Liz? There’s something I need to tell you.”
For a second there was the sense of surprise and rage, and then I realized I can’t honestly say I was expecting better. Jesus christ this book is terrible.
Tomorrow, we’ll discuss the preview of the next book and the book as a whole. For now, I’m off to soothe my rage with fanfiction.