07 July 2011

The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong

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.

Until now.

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.
I didn't really know what to expect when I first cracked the spine of this book.  I'd read Kelley Armstrong's Darkest Powers trilogy and thought it was awesome so I thought I'd do good by reading this series, too.  Good call, Amelia.  I loved this.  I especially loved the main character Maya, but the sub characters, the setting, the romance, and plot were so fantastic.  It was a very enjoyable read.

Maya is my kind of girl.  I wouldn't mind tending some wild animals and having a nice conversation with her.  She knew she was flawed (hallelujah) but her attempts to work at her flaws gave her a refreshing dimension.  She was funny, not completely uptight, and the "fearlessness" she felt when confronted with something terrifying was portrayed very convincingly—something I was a bit worried about cause saying she didn't feel anything at someone's death could've been a major turn-off.

The one thing I didn't like about her was that she was defensive towards the reader.  She'd go, "Look, it was because blahblahblah…" getting really personal with the reader and I was just like, "Okay, chill." I don't like having to think that towards a book.  So that was kind of annoying, though it didn't happen that often, luckily.

The other characters were completely awesome.  I would love to sit in a cabin somewhere and chill with them for a while (as long as they kept the beer—and their hands—to themselves).  Corey, though not having a major role, was probably one of my favorite "background characters".  As for the main characters, I call dibs on Daniel.  He was completely awesome and swoon-worthy.  The relationship Maya and Daniel had was pretty well described and didn't hold any cliché moments.  Also, I loved Maya's interaction with her parents.

Excerpted from the hardcover edition, page 202

Kudos to Kelley Armstrong for the well-played romance.  Considering the limited selection Maya had in her town (pop. 200), she sure had a fine catch.  Not like it came at such a huge surprise who would get together with who, but Rafe's character had some nice appeal and the twists and turns of their relationship were believable and didn't feel over-dramatized.  (Sort of.  There was one point I just had to go "c'mon".)  As for Rafe himself, I didn't find him appealing to my standards, but I did respect him.

The atmosphere was written beautifully.  It almost makes me want to move to a tiny town…almost.  The time Kelley Armstrong took to describe the town of Salmon Creek really paid off.  Within the first one hundred pages, the setting was established so thoroughly that it became a character of its own.  Maya's character really fit in with the world.  Everything seemed to click.

Everything seems set for the take off of the rest of the series.  The ending, however, was crazy.  I mean, it was so sudden that I was just like, "Wow.  That's…it?"  Very dramatic for an ending and raises even more questions—especially for Maya (HOLY CURSED PARENTAGE, BATMAN).  I can't wait to find out what gets answered, wrapped up and put away in the next book!

"Another night then," Mom said. "Maybe on the weekend we can have a barbecue and invite your sister."

"Or," I said turning to Rafe, "if you want to skip the whole awkward meet-the-family social event you could just submit your life story including your view on politics religion and every social issue imaginable along with anything else you think they might need to conduct a thorough background check."

Mom sighed. "I really don't know why we even bother trying to be subtle around you."

"Neither do I. It's not like he isn't going to realize he's being vetted as daughter-dating material."

Rafe grinned. "So we are dating."

"No. You have to pass the parental exam first. It'll take you awhile to compile the data. They'd like it in triplicate." I turned to my parents. "We have Kenjii. We have my cell phone. Since we aren't yet officially dating I'm sure you'll agree that's all the protection we need."

Dad choked on his coffee. (p. 202)

Book Info:
  • pages – hardcover, 359
  • published – April 2011
  • publisher – HarperCollins
  • genre – urban fantasy
  • received via – library :)
  • rating – 5/5
  • series – Darkness Rising
    • The Gathering
    • The Calling | Review