Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong

Title: The Gathering
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Release Date: April 12th, 2011

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.


Contrary to belief this is not the fourth book in the Darkest Powers series, unfortunately, seeing as that one was cut a little short :( . But The Gathering is the first of a spin-off series called Darkness Rising. Honestly, I've been hesitant to read this book, fearing that it would not be as good as the Darkest Powers Trilogy because of the new story line and characters... Turns out I was wrong and had nothing to fear.
The Gathering was as intriguing and brilliant as any book in the Darkest Powers Trilogy, even if it lacked the Lyle House for "crazy" kids, werewolves and ghosts. The readers gets to experience the world the author established in the first series in a different perspective. Instead of an asylum and meds you get a small town in Canada based around a medical research lab. If you read the Darkest Powers Trilogy first then you know that there is something wrong with the scientists and you know their plan. And if you are like me, then you may feel the sudden urge to gently yell at the characters to run as fast as they can in the other direction.
Anyway... like I mentioned before, the story revolves around the small town and research facility, but it's main focus is Maya, one of the 200 towns people.
Maya is blunt and sarcastic and she knows. She doesn't like to turn down a challenge but she is good at making sure she doesn't get into too much trouble. Like every characters, she has a struggle, but her's is more than your average teenage angst. You see, Maya was adopted at birth and knows little to nothing about her real Native heritage, and for her, that's a major issue when she goes into town and is called a witch or, more accurately, a skin-walker.
Daniel is Maya's best friend but he honestly acts more like an older brother: protective and comforting. He knows her better than anyone and he's the first person she goes to when weird things start occurring. Also, he as this weird ability to "feel" things and "know" when something is wrong, the ability is like a gut feeling and he always listens to it because it's always right.
Another one of Maya's friends is Rafe...okay, "friend" is sort of pushing it, she can't really stand him in the beginning of the book. But that's how most attractions start, right? Anyway, they grow closer throughout the book and... well, you can find out the rest. Just keep in mind that not everyone is 100% truthful in their motives.
There are a few sketchy characters in the books to, like Hayley who doesn't like Maya and Sam who seems to like Maya okay but also seems to be harboring secrets. And let's not forget Mina Lee and the notorious Dr. Davidoff who didn't show his face in this book but only his name. It's sort of ironic that even out of the Lyle House in the  Darkest Powers Trilogy, people don't like him much.
Anyway, there are other characters but I'll let you meet them yourselves.
I forgot to mention this earlier but the first chapter is what initially grabbed me and pulled me under (no pun intended). You see conflict from the beginning and that particular conflict fuels some of the characters' motives in the book.
Now, skipping to the ending... This author has a thing for cliffhangers, it seems. Just as the book reaches it's peak of the story and the reader is glued by their nose to the pages, she cut's it off in a squealing halt. Okay, that's a little bit of an exaggeration because she let's the action die down enough to were it's a good ending to the book but it does leave the reader begging for more. I noticed this pattern in the Darkest Powers Trilogy, also. This is what, in my opinion makes Kelley Armstrong such an amazing author. she knows how to keep us interested from beginning to end. Plot to cliffhanger, apparently.
For all the reasons stated in this review and everything I left out because of spoilers, I give this book an A- and highly recommend it to anyone who read the Darkest Powers Trilogy and now has The Gathering siting on their desk collecting dust because they are, like I was, fearing it wouldn't be as good as the others. Also reccomended to all of you who like YA, books about evil scientists and paranormal/supernatural stuff.

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