Friday, June 10, 2011

The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong

Title: The Gathering
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Published: April 12, 2011 by HarperCollins
Pages: 359/Hardcover
Series: Darkness Rising #1
Source: bought

Summary: Sixteen-year-old Maya is just an ordinary teen in an ordinary town. Sure, she doesn't know much about her background - the only thing she really has to cling to is an odd paw-print birthmark on her hip - but she never really put much thought into who her parents were or how she ended up with her adopted parents in this tiny medical-research community on Vancouver Island. 

Until now. 

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. 

Review: Even though I still haven't finished Armstrong's first young adult series, Darkest Powers, I could tell I was going to like The Gathering. 

The first half of The Gathering didn't have a lot going on. It was mainly building the town. I got to see just what it's like to live in Salmon Creek where everyone knows everyone else. The first half of the book was also used to set up some mystery. You meet some different characters and learn their back-stories but there's an air of mystery to everything, so I knew something was up, I just didn't know what.

I liked that the shape-shifters didn't really come in until the second half of the book. It was a lot better for the plot (I think) if the book didn't start out with certain characters finding out they're some mythical creature. 

One thing that I thought was different and was really happy about was the use of Native Indians and their different tribes and customs. It was cool to see Maya learning about herself, and I think she should give herself more credit.

I thought the characters were predictable, but that's the only real problem I had with The Gathering. I could tell pretty early on who the shape-shifters were. Rafe is your typical bad boy with hidden depths and sensitivity, but he actually is a sweet guy. I think a love triangle may be brewing, but for once I really hope that doesn't come to be. I loved seeing Maya and Daniel's relationship. They are such good friends! I love seeing friends in books. I don't know why but when there are two people who are genuine best friends it makes me really happy!

I did have one other problem with the plot, and that was that there seemed to be one too many things going on. Some times Maya would be trying to focus on Selena's death (which didn't seem to have any relevance to the rest of the story but maybe it will in future books?), and the next she was worrying about shifters, and then she'd be focused on the animals she was taking care of. The shifters thing and the taking-care-of-animals thing kind of came together in the end, but I still don't see how Selena's death relates.

Kelley Armstrong has created another fun and exciting young adult book! The Gathering takes romance, mystery, and a bit of paranormal and gives it a twist. The characters were real and the ending leaves you with a lot of questions. Questions that will hopefully be answered in future installments. 

More Books by Kelley Armstrong
The Summoning
The Awakening
The Reckoning

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