Sunday, March 4, 2012

Review: The Gathering (Darkness Rising, #1) by Kelley Armstrong

Rating (Out of 5): ~4/4.5
Publisher: HarperCollins (HarperTeen)
Spoilers?: No.

Goodreads Synopsis:

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.


This, like that last book, I have been meaning to review but just haven't gotten around to it yet. What better time than a month before the next book in the series, though, right?
I read Kelley Armstrong's first young adult series, and I've read a couple of her Women of the Otherworld series (but only the first two, because I don't want to skip around but am having a hard time getting into the ones not about Elena/the werewolves). I've really enjoyed what I've read so far, and it didn't bother me that she was starting a new series with new characters but like her first ya one. But for some reason, even though I knew better, I was a bit wary that it would be too similar to the first one.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was very different. In a very good way.
Maya, the main character, is not Chloe (from the Darkest Powers series). I really liked Chloe, but I was glad to see that they were very different. (It kind of amazes me how well Armstrong is at creating characters different from her other ones.) Very different things are happening to the characters in this series compared the the first, which is nice. This book has more mystery and intrigue. It's actually a bit more exciting, or thrilling; not that the other one wasn't. They're just so different.
Maya is straight-forward, feisty, bold. I liked her, as I did Daniel, her best friend (and felt bad for both of them because of Serena, and would have liked to get to know her). (Also, I'm hoping that's not going to be a triangle. It could go in a different direction, and I hope it does.) I did like Rafe, and there was a point where Maya thought, was sure even when she wasn't, that he'd done something. I didn't really believe that he had, but Maya's feelings on it were completely believable.
I did like all of the characters relationships with each other. They live in a very small, secluded town, so everyone knows each other. The teenagers have nice, or just interesting, relationships, as do the adults. I want to know what is going to happen to all of the kids, see where they go, what they are if they're something. And I really Maya's relationship with her parents. They're so close, honest with each other, and can just play around. It was nice to read about such a close, fun family.
I also like what Maya is, what's she's turning into, or whatever (but I won't spoil it, since it's kept so nicely hidden unless you've read it). That was interesting, and I'm looking forward to more of that in the next book. As I'm looking forward to finding out what's going to happen, plot-wise. In this book, a lot of things are kept secret from the residents, the kids especially, and Maya and her friends are just starting to find things out and investigate them. Some big things happen near the end of the book, and I'm excited to see where they're headed.
This book seemed to open things up for the next one. It was definitely a good start to the trilogy, and did make me want to read the next one. Made me excited, and interested, for it.

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