Friday, 8 April 2011

The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong

The Gathering (Darkness Rising, #1)Target Audience: Teens/Young adults
Genre: Fantasy/Paranormal

When I saw Kelley was releasing a new YA book and that it was linked to the Darkest Powers series, but was a series all on its own, I wasn’t sure what to think or how it would work out but I was very excited all the same!
As it turns out the plot is linked very subtly to the Darkest Powers and there are enough mentions to remind the reader that the same people are responsible for both projects, but not too much so as to overshadow the new and completely separate plot (which it is!) Anyway, just to bring everyone up to speed, here’s a brief synopsis.

Maya Delaney lives in the tiny research town of Salmon Creek with her adopted parents and her close friends, and she’s never really worried about her birth parents except for the reminder of them from the paw print birthmark on her hip. Despite the isolation she loves her life there especially the wildlife and all the forests which she feels at home with.
 Then strange things start to happen. A young girl drowns in a calm lake, there are muttering about Witched from an old woman and the cougar population sneaking near town seems to increase, but becomes the least of her worries as she finds out a bit more about her origins.

I really really loved this! I’m a huge fan of all of Kelley’s books both YA and Adult and this one did not disappoint me at all. I’m not sure whether it’s her style of writing or simply her story-telling gift, but there’s something about her books that grab your attention and don’t let you go.
The setting is completely unique compared to her other YA series and the characters are completely different as well.
In a way I thought that the setting would be claustrophobic  considering the fact that it’s set in a tiny town, but the vast forests and wildlife gave a sense of space like nothing else I've ever read.

It wasn't just the setting that had me hooked though, it was the new element of the supernatural. I won't say much more because I don't want to spoil it but I will say that what I encountered in this book was completely different to those of the others and I was very impressed at the range of Miss Armstrong's imagination and research into ancient myths and legend.
I did find the pace at times to be a little frustrating, not in a bad way, but in the sense that I wanted to know what was going to happen sooner rather than later. But then that's the same with all of Kelley's books, they are all gripping and exciting and the type of read that once you start you can't stop.

As with all her other books, the characters are amazing. There's been so much effort put into the description, personalities and lives of them that they seemed so very real and three-dimensional.  Maya is a true shining lead character and her easy going relationship with her parents and friends had me really laughing at times.
Daniel was another favourite of mine and I can't wait to learn more about him especially as there seems to be more than I initially thought. I mean, I could be wrong, but I think he's hiding something (maybe not intentionally however)
Even some of the 'bitchy' characters had an interesting twist to them, such as Hayley. That's something I've noticed about Kelley's books; even the bad guys have a good side and are not to be judged too harshly, this in turn shows a flip side to the hero of the story. Does the good girl have flaws just the same as the bitchy cheerleader sort? It would appear so, and that often turns out to be true in real life as well. No one is perfect.

Finally, for those who have read the Darkest Powers series, keep your eyes open for references to some pretty well known characters from earlier books, you can't miss them!  This is a thrilling, exciting and at times romantic ride of a novel, give this a go. And if you really really like it, try some of her other books as well, you won't be disappointed!


  1. It sounds like a good read. thanks for the heads up on it. :) Nice review!

  2. thanks :) It really is amazing. I happily sat for a whole morning and read most of it, I love books that capture me enough to do that.

  3. Sounds great! I've never read any of Kelly's books but I think this one would be a nice start.

  4. it would be, or you can start with The summoning in the Darkest Powers series. I've read nearly all of hers now, she's a very talented writer :-)


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