Sunday, 26 August 2012

The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong

Title: The Gathering
Kelley Armstrong
Publisher: Atom
ISBN: 978-1-907410-17-8
Pages: 359
Series: Darkness Rising Trilogy #1
Type: Young Adult Urban Fantasy
Source: Gift

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 origins.

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.

Plot: 9/10
Characters: 10/10
Ending: 10/10
Enjoyment: 10/10
Cover: 10/10

Overall: 49/50

1 comment:

  1. Sounds really good. I've only read a short story of Kelley Armstrong's - in the Enthralled anthology - and really enjoyed it. I'll be sure to pick this up.
    Katja @ YA's the Word


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