Tuesday, April 19, 2011

BR: The Gathering

by Kelley Armstrong
Darkness Rising series; book I

I am a huge fan of the Darkest Powers trilogy, and finding out Armstrong was coming out with a series set in the same world, I knew it was one I couldn’t miss.

Summary (goodreads)

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.

My Expectations: not too high, I was slightly worried it would feel like a second-rate spin-off
Delivery: Ooh impressed me! In fact, it never felt as though it was leaning on the success of Darkest Powers, it could definitely stand its own ground.
Put-down-ability: despite a slow start, things picked up, 4/10

My Thoughts

With an abrupt, surprising ending, you’ve gotta be wondering… is the journey worth it? My answer? Yes! The Gathering is the first in a new series by Kelley Armstrong, based in the same world as her Darkest Powers trilogy (which is awesome) with a couple overlapping characters. It has the first-in-a-series syndrome, which means there was a lot of backstory and character development. But don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t mean there isn’t action—there is! It was a great blend of the two, albeit I wished more for the latter.

It took me about 80 pages to get hooked, I was personally drawn in when Rafe, the mysterious bad boy was introduced* but it was a relief for me because I was initially bored with this novel. There were just too many introductions, history, etc, in the beginning. However, from then on, I was sucked in and the rest of the novel just flew by. The only thing I didn’t like was the Daniel-Maya-Rafe thing going on… it’s pretty clich├ęd so I wasn’t completely convinced the sparks. Or maybe just because I liked Daniel more =)

The plot itself was great, and I think Armstrong really enhanced the blanket of secrecy and mystery by using such a secluded setting like Salmon Creek. I was constantly wondering what was really going on, although the ‘medical research’ was dimmed in comparison to finding the truth behind Maya’s pawprint birthmark and Serena's death. I kind of wish this wasn’t the case because I’m a ‘grand scheme of things’ kind of person, but alas, it’s very necessary.

Maya’s character is very likable and I never found times when I wanted to smack her, unless it came to Daniel… but that’s a story for another day. Like Chloe from Darkest Powers, she’s definitely a strong-willed, brave heroine who will definitely grow into her awesome-ness in later books… which I can’t wait for! Oh, and I can’t forget, this novel is set in the gorgeous Vancouver Island, which I loved because Armstrong included lots of Canadian-esque tidbits that I recognized… Nanaimo bars!!

The Gathering is a great set-up novel for what I can predict will be a fantastic series. Likable characters, distinct settings, and intriguing mysteries are all introduced in this instalment, and with a cliffhanger ending, readers won’t be able to get enough.

Rating in HP Terms: Exceeds Expectations
Recommended for: heavily rec for fans of Armstrong’s other works, Paranormal YA fans
Acknowledgements: none in ARC

8.5/10 – because I thought it was very enjoyable despite a few flaws. At a romance angle, it will definitely appeal to the masses although it didn’t particularly work for me, but at a plot angle it shined. It didn’t move too slowly and as Maya searched for clues and answers, I was dying to know what was going on as well. It’s easy to be emotionally invested in this novel, which I believe is a great compliment. With characters I can easily care for, there’s no doubt I will be sticking around for the rest of the books. And I really want to know what happens next!!!

*I didn’t think I’d be saying that either, hehe

source: publisher
author website / twitter
book trailer


  1. YAY! I am so glad this is really good. It sounds like it has it all. I loved The Darkest Powers series too. Off to download this now to my kindle. Brilliant review :)

  2. I really liked The Darkest Powers series so I'm sure I'll read the spin off =) .. It sounds pretty good .. I so have to order this book !!

  3. I devoured the Darkest Powers series so I must read this one as well :D Great review.

  4. Have I told you how much I love your footnotes?! Unique and clever, you are.

    Good to know the story picked up with the bad boy showed up to scorch the pages. LOL

    Seems like for me, it might be better if I pick this one up when the next book comes out. I'm okay with that. Thanks for giving me a lot to consider, Audrey.

  5. At first glance I don't think I'd pick it up :$ But thanks to your review, I'm now considering it! Ooh, Nanaimo bars...why do those sound so familiar!!


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