The Calling (Darkness Rising #2)

The Calling (Darkness Rising #2)
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Release Date
April 10, 2012
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Maya Delaney's paw-print birthmark is the mark of what she truly is—a skin-walker. She can run faster, climb higher, and see better than nearly everyone else. Experiencing intense connections with the animals that roam the woods outside her home, Maya knows it's only a matter of time before she's able to Shift and become one of them. And she believes there may be others in her small town with surprising talents.

Now Maya and her friends have been forced to flee from their homes during a forest fire they suspect was deliberately set. Then they're kidnapped, and after a chilling helicopter crash, they find themselves in the Vancouver Island wilderness with nothing but their extraordinary abilities to help them get back home.

In The Calling, the sizzling second book in the Darkness Rising trilogy, New York Times bestselling author Kelley Armstrong pumps up the romance, danger, and suspense that left readers of The Gathering clamoring for more.

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What I Loved:
While I wouldn't necessarily rank Kelley Armstrong as one of my favorite authors, she is one author whose books I do always look forward to reading. They're just so much fun from beginning to end, with action and romance and humor. They're like Cheez-Its or potato chips, super tasty snack food that you just have to have and cannot get enough of. The Calling has pretty much convinced me that I like the Darkness Rising series even better than the Darkest Powers trilogy which preceded it, due to the awesome characters and constant action.

It's been about two years since I read The Gathering, so I was really afraid I would remember enough to be parse what was going on, but Armstrong does a nice job refreshing everything, so, while there are some things I don't remember, I've got what I need to know. So, if it's been some time since you read book one, no worries!

The Calling starts with a bang, as the book picks up where The Gathering left off, with the kids (Maya, Daniel, Rafe, Sam, Nicole, Hayley, and Corey) having just been rescued from a forest fire along with the mayor. Things quickly go from bad to worse, as the mayor collapses and suspicion turns to the helicopter pilot who's rescuing them and flying them in the wrong direction. They manage to subdue the helicopter pilot, but that, unfortunately, means no one's flying the helicopter, though they do have enough skill between them to not totally crash it. Until the helicopter pilot wakes up and does it for them. That opening scene is insanely action-packed. Can you say hooked?

Anyway, they mostly survive, but now they have to Hatchet their way through the wilderness while trying to avoid the supposed rescuers out to capture them and do who knows what to them. Meanwhile, they're dealing with the reality of the fact that they all appear to have paranormal powers of some sort and wondering whether they can all really trust each other. I won't go into any details on that stuff, because you should enjoy the drama for yourself. I will say, though, that the romantic element is kept very minor in this book, which I thought was a nice respite from the whole love triangle thing.

What Left Me Wanting More
Though The Calling was a complete and total blast to read, there were some elements of the plot that felt manufactured and overly convenient. Basically, they're running around and being chased at all turns, and they keep dropping off one at a time, sort of like And Then There Were None. Also, they were strangely mature about everything; every team member acknowledged that the survival of the group was worth the sacrifice of the one, and they were all eager to be sacrifices. This seemed a little ridiculous to me, especially given that some of them weren't even great friends. There's also a scene where Maya has this great idea to get into a truck with this creepy guy, bringing Sam with her. Yeah, she has a plan, but he's so obviously a freaking bad guy and the whole thing just made me headdesk.

The Final Verdict:
Despite those drawbacks, The Calling is an awesome read, and I could hardly put it down. Even better, I love the way the ending set up The Rising, and I am very excited to read that one next.
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