I don't know the precise reason why I actually requested The Summoning in the first place. I do know that I must have been really intrigued by the idea of a retelling of Bloody Mary and maybe just wanted a break from the influx of YA books that have some type of romance running about. Or, I just wanted to measure Hillary Monahan's debut novel with a scare-a-meter.
The first in the Bloody Mary series follows Shauna O'Brien, who decides to join with her 3 friends, Jess, Anna and Kitty to summon Bloody Mary, a legend that has been around since the 1960s with rumors that the person is someone who died near the end of the Civil War by the name of Mary Worth. As a result of summoning Bloody Mary, the spirit manages to go free from its rightful place within the boundaries of a mirror and begins to haunt the 4 girls, Shauna being her main victim.
Possibly what Mary so scary is the very fact she pops out everywhere almost and locks doors/windows. As the author so puts it in a sentence...
Mary was appearing without a summoning, manipulating objects, haunting glass, and skipping from surface to surface.I did have a problem with Mary's abilities though. While it certainly puts a wow to the scare factor, Mary seems a little... too powerful. Reflective object manipulation? That's almost everything if you ask me. Computer/Tablet screens, washers/dryers, refrigerators, windows, doorknobs, lambs, flash drives, scissors, transportation, sinks, etc. So not only does the haunted have to live in isolation to protect everyone they love, but s/he have to live smelling like poo and crap for the rest of their lives because they can't take a decent shower?
The Summoning is basically the ultimate friendship test for the main characters – Jess, Anna, Kitty and Shauna have been best friends for quite awhile, so when Shauna begins to see Mary everywhere, they have to try to work together to get rid of the ghost. View MAJOR Spoiler » Apparently this test failed, because Anna gets taken. Once you're gone, you're technically gone. It's not like doing anything would have brought Anna back. Although I did like her, so it was actually sad to see her get taken through the mirror by a ghost.
So the ultimate question from the beginning: how well can Hillary Monahan scare me? Quite well, but I managed to sleep very well. While I'll certainly applaud on what a chilling twist on an urban legend The Summoning was, Mary needs to be toned down a bit to make her more believable.