November 13, 2011

The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong

read first nine chapters here
Series: Darkness Rising 1
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: April 12, 2011
Purchase Link: Amazon

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.
A spin-off of Darkest Powers, which I truly adored, comes Darkness Rising. It starts with The Gathering and we follow another strong teenage female protagonist in Maya Delaney of Salmon Creek, Vancouver Island, Canada.

Maya lives in an interesting town where the population is really small and literally everybody knows everyone. Maya also lives in a wilderness park and helps her dad take care of injured animals before she release them back into the wild. Maya has a thing about animals, she has a bobcat for a pet and a cougar heeds her warnings!
Maya though is adopted and her features hint of Native American roots and one unique and curious thing about her is her paw print birthmark. Not only that, strange things started happening as she turns sixteen and the inconspicuous little scientific laboratory in their town are running more than the usual pharmaceutical experiments.

OK I loved Darkest Powers so I was really looking forward to Darkness Rising. I had such high hopes for the trilogy because I love Kelley Armstrong's writing style and her characters are just splendid.

The Gathering is consistent with having interesting personalities. Maya is a strong female protagonist and her attitude is something every sixteen year old should aspire to. I also like her relationship with her parents, very mature but she shows a lot of respect for them. She knows her boundaries and doesn't really push it.

She also has solid friends around her and though the story starts with her bestfriend Serena who is the Captain of the Swim Team, drowning in one of their usual lake swims, Maya didn't use that traumatic experience to rebel. Serena's boyfriend, Daniel, who is also her bestfriend, is dealing with the loss pretty well. These are well rounded teenagers and their parents "raised" them right.

Now this is what I didn't really like. The story was slow to build up then towards the last 60+ pages of the book, that's when the conflict starts crashing down so I felt like I was rushing until BAM! The end.

There were clues thrown here and there about Maya and who she really is but the follow up events that would've supported those were delayed. Like when she tried to get a tattoo and the artist's eccentric aunt made comments about her Native American features and possible origin then calling her a witch should have prompted her to do some research since it has a ring of truth in it. But then her sixteenth birthday and budding romance with badboy Rafe went first. And again when she finally decided to confront the old lady and look up the allegations, the momentum once again got nipped in the bud. It was so easy to put the book down and get distracted. It took a lot of effort to stay on focused on the story.

But I have to say, the wildfire that happened at the end was very exciting but I still wish that the story was richer and stuck more to the premise and lived up to its predecessor, Darkest Powers.

The Calling, the second book of the trilogy, is scheduled for release on April 2012.

Maya Delaney’s paw-print birthmark is the sign of what she truly is—a skin-walker. She can run faster, climb higher, and see better than nearly anyone 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. Plentiful action and romance in this second installment in the Darkness Rising series will keep readers enthralled to the last page. (from


  1. Great review. Yet another series I am yet to start. God, those book covers are amazing. That is what got me into wanting to read it in the first place. That and Armstrong's name, I always hear great things about her work. Why must I be so slow. Happy that this book at least got exciting closer to the end. It may be a little slow, but it sounds like it is worth checking out at least. Great review guys, thank you :)

  2. The covers are gorgeous! This series sounds so interesting. I will consider reading them sometime in the future. Jeez, with the size of my to-read list, it maybe awhile. *sigh*
    Awesome review hon as usual!


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