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Monday, April 16, 2012

[Review] The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong

Title: The Gathering
Series:  Darkness Rising
Author:  Kelley Armstrong
Genre:  YA, shifters, demons, fantasy
Format:  Hardcover, 400 pages
Publication Date:  April 5, 2011
Published By:  RandomHouse Canada - Doubleday Canada
Source:  Purchased

Synopsis from Goodreads

On the heels of the wildly popular "The Darkest Powers" series comes the first in another supernatural YA trilogy from New York Times bestselling author Kelley Armstrong.

Maya lives in a small medical-research town on Vancouver Island. How small? You can't find it on the map. It has less than two-hundred people, and her school has only sixty-eight students — for every grade from kindergarten to twelve. Now, strange things are happening in this claustrophobic town, and Maya's determined to get to the bottom of them. First, the captain of the swim team drowns mysteriously in the middle of a calm lake. A year later, mountain lions start appearing around Maya's home, and they won't go away. Her best friend, Daniel, starts getting negative vibes from certain people and things. It doesn't help that the new bad boy in town, Rafe, has a dangerous secret — and he's interested in one special part of Maya's anatomy: Her paw-print birthmark.

My Thoughts

As mentioned in a previous review, I am a long-time fan of Kelley Armstrong, pre-YA novel days. And one of the things I feel Mrs. Armstrong does best is shifters. It was wonderful to see her returning to a shifter based character.

I think I am also a bit biased because this story takes place in pretty isolated portion of Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. I have long since had a strong fascination with this area due to the "sea wolves" that live there. I love nature, and wildlife, and just general outdoorsiness, and this book has it all and more. It also has a strong basis in native culture, which also is a strong draw to me. (This is one of the few things I actually enjoyed in the Twilight series as well.)

Maya, the main character reminds me so much of myself. I was instantly able to connect with her and understood almost every decision she made (and I pretty much had made them in my head before even she did!). I was a very enjoyable read.

One of the best things about this book was the presence of strong parental figures! It's about time! I am so tired of wondering where the heck all the parents are in these YA books! No wonder they get into so much trouble without anyone to guide them. But Maya's parents (adopted) are fantastic role models that support her in her decisions while still allowing her the space to become her own strong and independent person. But you still get those strong parental undertones, like when Maya comes home with a guy and you can immediately tell the father is not super impressed by it at all. It makes sense! This is the way parents would (typically) act in reality. Thank you Mrs. Armstrong for proving parents can indeed still exist in a good YA novel.

Since most people are aware of my extreme hatred for cliffhangers of doom...I was warned in advance that I might not quite be happy with the ending. But I have to admit, it didn't really bother me as much as others have in the past. It seemed mostly wrapped up with a little bit of "what now" at the end. I can live with that.

I don't have much negative to say except for a slight feeling of "meh". I don't quite know how to describe that more in detail, but basically there was just a little of the certain something missing that I would need to rate a book a perfect 5. It was really close, but not quite there. Maybe next time! I'm also not a huge fan of the covers. I don't feel it suits Maya at all. The model on the cover seems much older and "calm" for the Maya I have pictured in my head as I am reading.

I have already devoured book two in the series, The Calling. The review will follow soon!

My rating?


  1. It's really great when you can connect to a location. I'm like that with New Orleans. Also, I really like the idea of strong parental characters. All too often in YA they are either absent or portrayed in a bad light. Honestly, I don't like the cover of The Calling. She either looks like Angelina or Jessica Alba I can't decide.

    1. Thanks for stopping by! I'm glad I'm not the only one who feels that way. This young woman seems to fit the Maya I had in my head more.

  2. I absolutely love Kelley's Darkest Powers series and knew I'd read this one as soon as I got my hands on it. But, while I thoroughly enjoyed it and was excited foe book 2 I agree with it missing a little something. I wanted more of the feelings I got while reading Awakening and it is definitely its own book.

    I will say that The Calling has been a difficult read for me to get into, but I'm glad that you enjoyed it!!

    1. I'm sorry you are having a hard time with The Calling. I think I actually enjoyed that one even more than the first one! Thanks for stopping by and commenting!