Author: Kelley Armstrong
Published: April 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.
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.
The Gathering is the first book in Kelley Armstrong’s new series, Darkness Rising. This is a continuation of her fantastic Darkest Power series with some new characters for us to get to know. The story takes place in a little town on Vancouver Island where a medical research facility is housed. Almost the entire town has some connection to the facility and therefore, their security and seclusion is a matter for the community and not just the facility, itself. Everyone knows everyone else and all their business in this idyllic little town and the children are trained from a young age how to handle reporters and possible corporate spies.
There are conflicts a plenty causing havoc and stress throughout the story. Our main character, 16 year-old Maya is dealing with some romantic concerns, the death of a friend, and a slight identity crisis. Not to mention the mountain lions are getting a little too friendly with her and other humans in town. She takes it in stride, though, battling to find the truth in all things, whether she likes what she learns or not. Then we have the town itself; it’s not having such an easy time of things either. A reporter is nosing around, asking teens at the school a lot of suspicious questions. Large and small concerns are raging throughout the book, keeping things interesting for readers.
The story is told from Maya’s point of view and her sense of humor and wit really make it hard to put this book down. Armstrong writes with such detail that you feel you are there watching the story unfold in the wilderness surrounding Maya’s home. The plot moves quickly from the beginning, but lets us get comfortable with the characters a little before the strangeness sets in. Whether the action is pumping or we’re witnessing a romantic interlude, it’s a very fast read. You just want to know what’s coming next.
Armstrong’s written (another) fantastic set of teens to follow for this series. They are all so well-written you can’t help but love them, even if they may have questionable motives. Their depth and detail help bring the story to life. Maya is my favorite character from the book, hands down. She’s got a kickass sense of humor that really endears her to me. I did a lot of laughing out loud while reading this book.
The story fits nicely into the ever-growing young adult paranormal niche without being too predictable. Yes, if you’ve read Armstrong’s Darkest Power trilogy you have an idea of what will happen, but not in a way that takes away from the story. I think the author’s style of storytelling keeps things fresh and interesting for readers. I know the twists caught me by surprise and I gasped aloud a few times.
All in all, I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good ya paranormal read and likes to laugh. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and cannot wait to see what happens to Maya and her friends from here.