Monday, March 19, 2012

The Gathering (Darkness Rising #1) by Kelley Armstrong

Strange things are happening in Maya's tiny Vancouver Island town. First, her friend Serena, the captain of the swim team, drowns mysteriously in the middle of a calm lake. Then, one year later, mountain lions are spotted rather frequently around Maya's home--and her reactions to them are somewhat . . . unexpected. Her best friend, Daniel, has also been experiencing unexplainable premonitions about certain people and situations. 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.(synopsis from Goodreads)

My thoughts:
I am ashamed to say that The Gathering is the first book I have ever read by author Kelly Armstrong. I am delighted to say it will not be my last.  The Gathering is the first book in the trilogy entitled Darkness Rising.  Armstrong’s urban fantasy brings us supernatural elements, Indian lore, romance and a town full of secrets. The tale grabbed me from page one, and while the pace wasn’t mind-boggling I enjoyed every minute of it.

The Gathering takes place on an island located across the water from Vancouver.  The town folk all work for a highly classified lab, and there are around two hundred townspeople.  The protagonist Maya lives with her adoptive parents in the park. Her dad is the park ranger. The lab demands total secrecy and they are all trained on what to do and say to outsiders. Surrounded by woods, cliffs and lakes, Maya feels right at home.  She will be turning sixteen, attends the small high school and last year lost her best friend Serena, to a drowning. Her best friend is Daniel and he was Serena’s boyfriend.  Maya takes care of injured animals and she has a gift for it. The town veterinarian is amazed at her powers to help animals recover.  A recent increase in mountain lions, a nosy reporter, a cute boy and an old Indian woman calling her a witch turn Maya’s world upside down. The tale that unfolded was delightful and I loved Armstrong's writing style. The town and its surrounding woods came alive for me, and the characters were unique and had depth. 

I absolutely loved Maya. She is independent, witty, stubborn, loyal and inquisitive. She has a high moral code and she can sometimes be unyielding when she feels she has been wronged.  Even though Maya was adopted, she really has no interest in her biological parents.  She wishes she knew a little about her Indian ancestors and the birthmark that resembles a paw print. She is proud of the mark, and would like to enhance it with a tattoo.  She loves working with animals, but has been experiences weird dreams and blackouts. In them, she feels as though she is the injured animal, or is an animal herself running through the forest. The whole thing scares her, and she wants answers. Serena's death has impacted her, and she thinks it was more then an accident.  She misses her best friend and worries about Daniel. Daniel is a sweet and loyal friend.  She trusts Daniel; he has a sixth sense when it comes to people and danger. If he gets a bad vibe, she listens.  The school they attend is very small, and Maya while liked, has issues with some of the kids.  The new boy Rafe, who makes her stomach flutter and annoys her with his playboy antics suddenly takes a serious interest in her. I liked Rafe and the more I learned about him and his family, the more I cared. There were other colorful characters and I am hoping to learn more about them in book two. The romance was sweet and fragile. I am anxious to see how it develops and wonder if there is a love triangle in the making. *shivers*

Armstrong’s tale grabbed me from page one. The first part was fast paced and immediately drew me in. The middle slowed, which allowed me to take in the details and absorb the world she has created. The third half of the book progressed at a delightfully maddening speed to end in a cliffhanger.  I have a love/hate relationship with cliffhangers. I get mad, run to see when the next release date is, then fall in love with the anticipation it’s created.

I highly recommend The Gathering to fans of urban fantasy, the supernatural and lore.  I have added Armstrong to my list of must read authors, and look forward to reading her other series.  The Gathering is available in paper, eBook and audio formats. The second book, The Calling will be released in April of 2012. I am very excited to have discovered this author. 

I gave this novel 4 coffee cups out of 5. 

Author's website:Kelley Armstrong

Get your copy here and/or pre-order The Calling :
The Book Depository:The Gathering

Enhanced by Zemanta

Labels: , , , , ,


At March 19, 2012 at 2:49 AM , Blogger Raine and Lizee said...

Wow, her ability is very helpful if she plans in becoming a Vet. :D Hmm, the townfolk all work in a classified lab, I hope that doesn't mean one of the residents was some result too. :D

At March 19, 2012 at 6:44 AM , Blogger Heather Robbins said...

Ya know, I think I read this book... I cannot remember!! Now I must go read it *maybe again* LOL Great review!!


At March 19, 2012 at 10:20 AM , Blogger Giselle said...

I <3 Kelley Armstrong. One of my fav. authors ever and I loved this book - though not as much as the Awakening series. She does make fab. characters too Maya was definitely awesome I,m so glad you enjoyed it!!

At March 19, 2012 at 10:56 AM , Blogger Maja said...

I loved this book too, and I especially loved Maya (we even have the same name) She's one of those rare heroines I'd like to know in real life. However, the abrupt ending, not even a cliffhanger but just sudden, was an unpleasant surprise. I can't wait for book 2, though.
Lovely review, Kimba.
Maja @ The Nocturnal Library

At March 19, 2012 at 12:06 PM , Blogger Lisa O. said...

If you loved this book Kimba you MUST try her adult series. Elena and Clay are still one of my favorite couple in UF to date and I think she's way more skilled with adult books.
Nice review!

Lisa O. @ The Nocturnal Library

At March 19, 2012 at 3:34 PM , Blogger lisab said...

This sure looks good! Love your reviews, Kim.

At March 19, 2012 at 7:34 PM , Blogger Melissa (My words and pages) said...

I have to say I've heard mixed thoughts on this one. But I do still want to read it. :) Glad to see you enjoyed it. Thanks! And thank you for the trailer too.

At March 19, 2012 at 9:50 PM , Blogger Christy D said...

Oh, and you say I'M bad for your budget? :P Pfft.. I so need to read one of Kelley Armstrong's books!

At March 20, 2012 at 4:15 AM , Blogger Monaliz said...

I'm so glad you liked this, can't wait to read it! :) Hopefully I get to read it soon, I'm currently reading the Summoning from Kelley Armstrong, good so far!

Thanks for sharing, and thanks for stopping by! :)

Monaliz @ Mind Reading?

At March 20, 2012 at 2:55 PM , Blogger Rebecca (Kindle Fever) said...

Ohh, YES! I'm so glad you liked it. :D I am ashamed to admit I have yet to read a book by her, so I'm always glad to see others liking her work! Especially when the work sounds awesome. I will so have to check her work out. Well, most likely I'll start with this one. ;) Great review!

At March 20, 2012 at 3:44 PM , Blogger Blodeuedd said...

I like Armstrong's adult books and I am very intrigued by her YA books :D

At March 20, 2012 at 4:32 PM , Blogger Pabkins said...

I didn't read your review yet - but I will as soon as I read this. I had been contemplating waiting until at least one more book comes out. I've always enjoyed everything that I've read by Kelley Armstrong though.

Do you follow her freebie shorts that she puts out on her blog that continue the story from the first YA trilogy?

At March 20, 2012 at 4:49 PM , Blogger Pabkins said...

This is the First Kelley Armstrong book you've read!! Ahhhh!!! Yes yes - read the adult series! The adult series is actually almost done - she is stopping at book thirteen and I think that is the next one that is coming out after her upcoming YA release. I'm up to date on those books. This second YA trilogy that she's doing I was thinking of saving til she was done with it. I enjoyed her first YA Trilogy.

Unlike some other authors who've written adult and YA books - I actually enjoy both of KA's. Now I tried reading a Kim Harrison YA book - I thought it was terrible.

At March 21, 2012 at 6:32 AM , Blogger Sally@Always Lost in Stories said...

I absolutely love Kelley Armstrong! I can also definitely recommend her other YA trilogy which starts with The Summoning. I've pre-ordered the Calling and can't wait.
Love your review of this!

At March 22, 2012 at 6:04 PM , Blogger Kate said...

I loved the Gathering! But you haven't read WotO? You need background, Kimba! There's so much more to this world than you see in The Gathering. I hope you enjoy the rest of Kelley Armstrong's books as much as this one!

At March 22, 2012 at 9:30 PM , Blogger Sharon ObsessionwithBooks said...

I also enjoyed this book & thankfully the next in the series will be released next month so not long to wait!

A wonderful review Kimba.

At March 23, 2012 at 5:58 PM , Blogger Natframpton said...

This was my first book by he too. I remember loving it!...not that I can remember too much ..except it was fab lol. Glad you liked it

At March 23, 2012 at 6:19 PM , Blogger Jac said...

Maya sounds like an awesome MC! I haven't heard much about this one, but after your review I'm going to go check it out! Thanks :)

-Jac @ For Love and Books

At March 23, 2012 at 11:29 PM , Blogger primrose said...

I read this last year and love it. Can't wait for the next book.:)

At March 24, 2012 at 7:14 AM , Blogger Stephanie Verhaegen said...

Nice review! I loved The Darkest Powers trilogy and so I had to read this book last year but I didn't think it was as good but still I liked it. Not everything can be amazing. I also really love Armstrong's Women of the Otherworld series. I'm excited about The Calling! Thanks for sharing this review! :)

At March 24, 2012 at 12:03 PM , Blogger Carmel @ Rabid Reads said...

Glad that you've finally discovered Kelley Armstrong! I haven't read any of her YA books but I'm a huge fan of her UF Women of the Otherworld series. I really must read this series soon... Thanks for the review!

At April 4, 2012 at 11:14 AM , Blogger Patricia said...

Wonderful review!


Post a Comment

This blog is an award free zone..however your comments are welcome, needed and loved! I try to respond to all comments via email. Tell me what you think...

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home