Title: The Gathering
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Series: Darkness Rising Trilogy #1
Type: Young Adult Urban Fantasy
Maya Delaney has always felt a close bond with nature and her home town of
Salmon Creek allows her to spend as much time in the wilderness as she likes.
Salmon Creek is a tiny medical research town in the middle of nowhere and has
always been a sanctuary for Maya. But strange things begin to happen. A champion
swimmer drowns in the lake. Mountain lions hang around Maya's home. Maya's best
friend Daniel starts getting vibes from people, one of whom is new bad boy in
town Rafe who has an inexplicable interest in Maya...
This is the first
book in the Darkness Rising trilogy which loosely follows on from the Darkest
Powers trilogy and is set in the world of Kelley Armstrong's adult Otherworld
series. I'm a huge fan of both the previous series and I love Kelley's writing
style so I was psyched to hear she was writing a new trilogy. You could easily
start here as a totally new reader as although this trilogy comes after her
Darkest Powers, the link is loose enough that you don't need to read it first
nor do you need any experience of her adult books (although there are nerdy
things in there for those fans to spot).
The storyline is well paced and
plotted, although there is a slower pace at the beginning to set up the world
which quickly picks up as the book progresses. I loved the rural setting of
Salmon Creek as it is different to most YA novels these days and it really
allows Maya to show her wilderness type skills. One aspect of the book I adored
was the focus on Native American mythology with the tradition of skinwalkers and
also in a more contemporary way in terms of Maya's ancestral heritage and tribal
I really liked Maya as a lead character. She is strong willed
and self-reliant, happy to spend all of her time out in nature and refuses to
change for anyone. Maya's issues dealing with the drowning of her best friend
Serena are particularly well written. Rafe manages to be the bad boy without
falling into the stereotypes, although like many a bad boy he hides a distinctly
heart-of-gold type secret which he'll protect with his life. I admire his
acceptance and how willing he is to help Maya even though she doesn't even know
how much she needs it.
Daniel is the perfect best friend, having Maya's
back no matter what and never complaining about the situation at home. Daniel's
home life with his alcoholic father really won him my sympathy and his
determination not to let it dictate his life won him my respect. He also has
some issues as Serena was his girlfriend, although surprisingly not the one's I
expected adding another dimension to his character.
All in all this was a
great read and I'm looking forward to The Calling.