Title/Author: The Gathering (Darkness Rising) by Kelley Armstrong
Publisher/Year: HarperTeen – April 2011
Genre: YA Paranormal
Series: Yes — 1st book!
Other Books From Author: Darkest Powers series), Women of the Otherworld series
Disclosure: The publisher sent it to me in exchange for an honest review along with its sequel — The Calling. This has in no way swayed or affected my opinions on the book. My honesty is more important to me than that.
What’s It About: Sixteen year old Maya lives a pretty normal life in her small medical experiment town outside of Vancouver with her adoptive parents. Years after she witnesses a death under unusual circumstances, even more strange things start to happen to Maya — things like mountain lions being drawn to her, a mysterious guy moves into town and seems to have a fascination with her, outsiders start poking around the town, etc. She’s never really questioned her origins or the motives of her town until now.
I definitely enjoyed this book more than I thought I would. I’ve never read the author’s previous works but I received this in the mail and decided I was in the mood to delve into a paranormal world. I’m not a HUGE paranormal reader, as readers of this blog probably know, but I do try to dip my toes in from time to time because I do enjoy the genre but I’m wildly picky. I guess I just have a hard time wading through the not-so-good Twilight wannabes to get to the unique and wonderful paranormal books. This book definitely surpassed my expectations and I was thoroughly impressed and sucked in to this story.
The interesting thing is that, though there were clearly portions of this book where paranormal-y things happened, most of the book did not seem paranormal at all. I have a feeling this will change in the second book but mostly I forgot I was reading a paranormal book because it mostly took place in the “real” world rather than a paranormal world and there were only bits and pieces revealed of the paranormal tilt to this book. I was so intrigued as Armstrong slowly unraveled some of these elements though I predicted a lot of the things.
I loved the uniqueness of the Native American folklore that was incorporated into this story as well as the setting — I loved the forest and the mystery of this weird town. Have you ever seen The Village? Well, in The Gathering we don’t know exactly WHAT the town is up to that she lives in but you know there is SOMETHING off. I found myself reading quickly and furiously on my flight because there was just SO MUCH I wanted to know about this creepy little town and the creepy little mountain lions that seem to always show up wherever Maya is. Also, I couldn’t help but be drawn into the storyline with Rafe and Maya but I’m not sure where I stand on him. I secretly want her to be with a certain somebody else. BADLY. Speaking of that someone else, I wonder what his deal is??
I have to admit the ending made me a bit stabby because revelations were far and few between, while the mystery and intrigue was page turning and could make one ravenous for answers, and the ending just ENDED. Holy cliffhanger. I swore pages were ripped out of my copy because I couldn’t believe it would just end like that. Throw me a freaking bone and give me at least ONE answer. I won’t be waiting too long before I read the second book — The Calling — because I need some answers to all the crazy things happening.
Final Thought: The Gathering was the perfect read for my travels. It kept my attention with its well crafted mysteries surrounding the town and Maya’s true origins. While sometimes it seemed like not much was happening, there were just so many riveting aspects of the story that had the power to make me able to tune out the screaming baby three rows behind me and the sweaty man overtaking half of my seat. It was unique and refreshing and I’ll be picking up the second book for sure because I really enjoyed it. But that pesky little cliffhanger…GRRRRRR. It just seemed to be abrupt and WAHHH. I’ll stop whining now and read the second book.
Review On A Post-It:
What did you think if you’ve read this one? I need to talk about it with somebody!! If you haven’t read this book, is it on your radar? Are her other series good? ALSO, any recs for any other good paranormal books that someone who isn’t “well versed” in the genre might like??