Thursday, September 16, 2021

Book Review: The Summoning

The Summoning 
by J.P. Smith
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The leading ladies narrative is quite strong and well written. In fact, I was sure this was a female author. And was very surprised to learn I was wrong. Props to J. P. Smith for fooling me; and for keenly understanding that strong, smart women can still be nervous or unsure at times. I appreciated the dynamic here of our lonely widow and her struggles; but how she’s persevered regardless. The heroine of the story and her character’s voice is what makes this story for me.

I was pleasantly surprised by this mystery/thriller (with a hint of supernatural) to it. This is not my usual genre; but I was intrigued by the psychic medium spin and in the mood for something a bit different. I’m glad I read it. While not amazing or perfect; and maybe 3.5 stars would be more appropriate than 4, the reality is that I truly enjoyed the strong narrative voice in The Summoning. The slow burn of the story felt very well paced to me and quite realistic. Added to that the supernatural element tossed in and I was hooked.

The End
The ending is the key to this story and you won’t know what the plot really is until you’re almost done with the novel. Without giving it away, I can say it brings up questions of societal power, gender roles, grief, and the assumption or expectation (if you will) that most people are inherently good. This skewing of people and the ‘goodness’ of our society comes crashing down even as I still asked myself ‘am I sure whose the villain?’ Not because it’s not obvious in the end but because of the blend of the otherworldly with stark, assured realism.

Clever is the best description for The Summoning. You think you’re reading one type of story; only to realize that maybe it’s not as cut and dry as it seems. A wonderful blend of realism and paranormal. While a few moments felt slightly ripped off (I swear it’s Sleep Away Camp referenced) none of these moments change the impact of the ending. Thankfully I enjoyed the characters a lot, and found the pacing to my taste (which is to say that some might find it a touch slow). I liked how realistic the set-up (and ending) felt given the occult inclusion. This is one you have to read to decide if it’s for you as I can’t say too much because it would spoil the whole experience and ending.

Please note: I received an eARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. This is an honest and unbiased review.

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1 comment:

Leonore Winterer said...

Not my usual genre either, but it does sound quite fascinating!