Monday, April 11, 2011

The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong

The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong takes place in a town so small it's not even on the map. Salmon Creek is located on Vancouver Island and almost entirely privately owned by a company that does medical research there. Maya moved there when her father became park ranger, and instantly bonded with Serena and Daniel. But recently, odd things have begun happening. Serena drowns in a calm lake despite being captain of the swim team, and a year later cougars begin appearing frequently surrounding Maya's house. At the same time, a new boy, Rafe, has moved to town and he shows a strong interest in Maya, but is it her, or just her paw-print birthmark he's wanting to know more about?

This was my first book by Armstrong who is quite popular when it comes to both YA and adult paranormal fiction. I pleasantly surprised by The Gathering which was really enjoyable to read. The main character, Maya, was authentic and I appreciated that even though she was adopted she was really happy with her family. Although she doesn't know which tribe she is from, she appears to be Native and it was also nice to have a non-white main character. Also, on a personal note, I really loved the Canadian setting and the fact that Armstrong incorporated it so well into the book, from the fact that she calls them cougars instead of mountain lions to a Canadian Idol joke. The Gathering is not the book to pick up if you are looking for some profound thoughts on life, but it is definitely fun and easy to read and a great way to spend some time.

As much as I enjoyed Armstrong's writing, and will definitely pick up the sequel, I didn't really feel like The Gathering was a complete book. Sometimes this happens when authors are writing series unfortunately, but really not much happened in this book, and basically nothing happened except near the very end. It ends on a cliff-hanger, but even in a series I expect books to offer some answers on their own and in The Gathering there are very few and a whole lot more questions. Although it was a slow start, I do appreciate how much time Armstrong took setting up the premise and the town where Maya lives. However I wish that following the slow start there had been more substance to the story and I have a feeling that The Gathering will work much better as one of three books in the Darkness Rising Trilogy than it does on its own. It has convinced me to pick up the Darkest Powers Trilogy which Darkness Rising is a spin off from, and luckily all three of those books are already published so I can read them in one-go rather than waiting for answers.
Although there is a romance in The Gathering the book doesn't center around it, it focuses more on the odd happenings going on. I did find the chemistry between Rafe and Maya believable, and all of the teenagers in Salmon Creek felt authentic although Maya may have been a bit too perfect. The great thing about the novel being set in such a small town is that the reader really gets a feel for the setting, as well as the fact that Armstrong can introduce you to everyone Maya's age, give them each distinct personalities, and it doesn't feel overwhelming. By the end of The Gathering I really felt like I could visit Salmon Creek and run into these characters and know who they are. Overall, even if I wished for a few more answers in The Gathering it is an enjoyable novel with a believable setting that has definitely hooked me into reading the rest of the Darkness Rising Trilogy.

Release Date: April 12th, 2011
Pages: 368
: ARC From Publisher
Buy the Book

1 comment:

Your comments make my day!