Published: April 12, 2011
Series: Darkness Rising #1/ Darkest Powers #4
Sixteen-year-old Maya 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.
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.
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.
A secluded, private island. Secret medical facilities. Forests full of cougars and bears. A girl that might be a shapeshifter.
At the onsent, I didn't think this book would be the right fit for me. While I enjoy the paranormal, I'm not a huge shape-shifter fan (although we never actually see our main character change shape - which is a bit annoying). I'm also not a huge fan of stories that take place in the woods - it just seems too easy to place obstacles in their way - and I've read plenty of novels that take way too much time describing a tree than describing the story.
BUT - despite everything I just said, Kelley Armstrong's novel, "The Gathering" managed to keep me hooked. Here's why:
1) Armstrong uses the forest simply as a backdrop - which I loved. Not every scene took place in the wood and there were no overly descriptive paragraphs about its beauty. And considering our characters are on a secluded island, the woods actually make sense within the storyline.
2) "The Gathering" is a story all about developing the characters. Far too often, authors breeze through any character who isn't the hero or heroine. But in this book, I felt like I knew every single character's personality - and each were unique and memorable in their own way.
On the downside of the story:
1) The love story that goes on between Maya and Rafe was just....blah. You never really know what his true intentions are and the amount of time they spend mad at each other is just frustrating.
2) SPOILER ALERT:
You get the distinct sense throughout the entire novel that Maya is a shape-shifter - but you never actually see her change. To me, this was done as a deliberate way to write a sequel and I didn't like it at all. If you left this book as a standalone, someone would say that not a single question was answered and that there was barely any movement in the story.
3 1/2 out of 5 stars (I'm hoping things will get better in the next book, "The Calling" - review coming soon)
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