The Gathering (Darkness Rising #1)
Strange things have been happening in this claustrophobic town - from the mountain lions that have been approaching Maya to her best friend's hidden talent for "feeling" out people and situations, to the sexy new bad boy who makes Maya feel . . . . different. Combine that with a few unexplained deaths and a mystery involving Maya's biological parents and it's easy to suspect that this town might have more than its share of skeletons in its closet.
In The Gathering , New York Times best-selling author Kelley Armstrong brings all the supernatural thrills from her wildly successful Darkest Powers series to Darkness Rising, her scorching hot new trilogy.
Mystery in a Tiny Community
I really loved the premise of a teen who has questions about her past which include how she got a mysterious paw print on her hip. Add the lush Vancouver Island background, a love triangle, and strange things happening around her and I'm hooked.
Maya is an interesting heroine who loves the wildlife in her tiny medical-research community. The animals love her in turn and that includes mountain lions that seem to follow her. I liked the romantic angle between Daniel, who she grew up with and Rafe the new kid in the community. Daniel is protective of Maya but it's Rafe mystery that first fascinates Maya then leads her to find out more. I have to say the chemistry is hotter with Rafe. I did like how multi-layered these characters were.
The revelation behind what's really going on in the community was equally fascinating especially when one reporter comes in and snoops around a tad too much. Let's just say the leaders of this community haven't exactly been truthful with the teens. With Rafe and his sister's arrival more unanswered questions come up.
The Native American legend of shapeshifters is explored in this novel too. I wanted to know more about skinwalkers(which Maya and Rafe are). Also the cliffhanging ending made me anxious to know what happens next with all the characters including whether Rafe and Maya go further in their relationship and how they will deal with their paranormal abilities.
Kelley Armstrong kind of has the Sarah Dessen effect going on.
She has a set way a book will play out and she just uses that for all her books but changes it up a bit. Different characters. Different setting.
And no matter how much I know that, I will still read all her books. (Dessen included).
I didn't not like The Gathering as much as I expected to. (I was comparing it to the Darkest Powers series the whole time and I'm sure that took some of the spark from it. Cant beat that series, in my honest opinion).
It was a quick read while the sky was pouring, and I enjoyed it nonetheless
Kelley Delivers Another Addicting Read
Last year, I read and really enjoyed Armstrong's teen series that begins with The Summoning. Later, I tried her Women of the Otherworld series and was not impressed, but I am planning to at least start book two before giving up on her adult fiction entirely. This new series is set in the same world as the previous, but does not have too much crossover, at least not that I've noticed (and my memory's not great, so I might have missed something). Davidoff is the only character name I recognized from before.
The plot holds few surprises, and those, generally, were not the big ones. Her relationship choices were inevitable, and future relationship drama is emerging along clearly defined lines. The emergence of the fantasy elements of the story was wholly expected as well. If you like to be completely caught off guard by your book, then Armstrong might not be for you. Remember that Armstrong has a strong basis in paranormal romance, so there are certain elements that are just going to happen a particular way.
That does not change the fact that her YA novels are compulsively readable. They go down quick and easy, and leave you wanting more. Her romances, if the previous series is something I can go by, are very cute, take a long time to come to fruition and may involve some missteps along the way (like dating the wrong guy and then realizing your feelings lie elsewhere). Although it would be repetitive, I hope for the latter yet again, as Rafe's little bad guy routine did nothing to make me like him. Bad boys are good only in certain circumstances, as better detailed in my previous post. I am fully rooting for Daniel. Normally, I would not ship her with the best friend, but I really liked him for some reason and think he has some awesomeness hiding beneath the surface.
If you're looking for something fun to read this spring/summer, you can't go wrong with The Gathering.
Small Town, Big Secrets
Summary: Maya lives in a very small town with a research lab on Vancouver Island. She lives with her adopted parents and does not know much about her biological family. The book starts out with a prologue in which Maya and her friend Serena are swimming in their town's lake. After chatting and talking to one another, Serena is suddenly pulled under and Maya is not able to save her and her body is pulled out of the lake later that day. A few years pass and Maya is still coping with Serena's death and strange things have been going on in town. From her strange paw print birthmark to the connection that Maya has with the animals. Maya and her friend try and uncover the mystery behind their friend, Serena's, death and the town itself. Add in a mysterious bad boy and secrets of the town and the strange people that Maya meet along the way.
My Thoughts Note: This is my first Kelley Armstrong book, and I didn't have a problem reading it without reading her previous ones.
What I liked: I liked the mystery of the book. The prologue really had me at the edge of my seat and I was ready to find out the mystery behind Serena's death and the strange things that have been happening to Maya. I liked Maya's funny relationship with her parents (reminded me of Olive Penderghast's parents from Easy A) and the kids in school. I thought it was a new take on the supernatural type book and I can't wait to see the secrets that the will reveal in the next book. Armstrong's writing style is simple and easy to follow along which makes the mystery a bit easier to uncover.
What I disliked: With that said, this book was alright. I the premise was interesting and so were some of the characters, but I didn't really get into the book as much as I thought I would. It might be because I had some high expectations going into this book and was waiting for that moment that I would be hooked and at the edge of my seat. After the prologue, I felt the beginning was a bit slow and when they do uncover something "huge," it wasn't very shocking to me. I think because Armstrong didn't really build up to it and would just have it happen out of the blue (which does work at times, but I think she doesn't do enough to build up the tension and mysteriousness).
Conclusion: All in all, I would say pick this book up if you see it at the library or give the first prologue and first chapter a read if you see it in the bookstore. I am going to read the second book when it comes out though because they left a lot of questions and didn't explain much about Serena.