The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong
Published: 7 April 2011 (Atom)
Pages: 384Buy: Amazon, Kindle, Waterstone's
Source: Borrowed from a friend.
Plot Summary: (from 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.
This book follows on/runs alongside the Darkest Powers trilogy but from reading this book, I can't see that you need to read that trilogy to enjoy this one. I'd really recommend those books anyway, though! And there's a few crossover characters and references you'd pick up on only if you've read the Darkest Powers books. Nothing in this review should spoil them though. Now, on with The Gathering!
Maya lives in Salmon Creek, as isolated medical research town with a tiny population. After losing her best friend, Maya is trying to get back on track and enjoy her life again.
Firstly, what struck me about this book was how different it felt to the Darkest Powers trilogy. The writing and the feel of it just felt a lot more gentle, and the pace especially was a lot slower. I really loved Maya from the start, though. She's such an interesting main character and I really enjoyed reading about her and her closeness to her animals, her friendship with her best friend Daniel and her relationship the with new boy Rafe. I think she's far from your typical teen girl heroine; she's not overly girly and she doesn't go gooey over boys. She's confident and has a good relationship with her parents and as the book went on you got to see some of her flaws which I really liked. Daniel, too, was a really great character and I loved finding out more about him and his background
I found the plot really engaging. It was clear from the beginning that there was more to the town and the people than met the surface, and throughout the book you got this sort of uneasy feeling. It was great at keeping the suspense for a while but towards the latter stages of the book I found myself really wishing for something to actually happen and for the big reveal to hurry up already, because all the action and drama comes very late on. It was worth it when it came but for 50 pages or so beforehand I was getting a bit bored just waiting and waiting.
Overall though I absolutely loved it. I really like Kelley Armstrong as a writer, based on what I've read previously, and it was great to dive into a new trilogy and new characters. This book had a really great ensemble of characters, exciting twists and lots of suspense.
What to read next: The Calling by Kelley Armstrong, the second book in the Darkness Rising trilogy.
Books like this: The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong.