Sunday, May 8, 2011

Book Shelf: The Gathering (Darkness Rising #1) 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.
...moreSixteen-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.

In The Gathering, New York Times best-selling author Kelley Armstrong brings all the supernatural thrills from her wildly successful Darkest Powers series to Darkness Rising, her scorching hot new trilogy.

Blurb from Goodreads....

Review: (Warning, contains spoilers)

Hmmm, what to say? What to say? I liked this book. It was good, not quite as good as The Darkest Powers books mind you, but good in its own way. For some reason though I just didn’t love it like I thought I would. I enjoyed it, I can’t deny that but I wasn’t captured the way I was with The Darkest Powers Trilogy.
The storyline itself though was mysterious and interesting, if not a bit slow at times. It was a very different world than the one I’ve come to love in Kelley Armstrong’s other YA series, but it was a good set up for the rest of the series. I must admit there wasn’t a lot given away. It sets the story up, but doesn’t really give you a hint as to what direction the series is gonna take. We all know the history of the genetic experiments from the first series, but I’m just not quite sure what this means for this series. It’ll be interesting seeing who is friend and who is foe later on.

It was interesting meeting all the new characters. There’s a whole new ensemble of characters, and yet I couldn’t help but draw comparisons between these characters and the ones from Kelley’s previous series. Maya, Rafe, Daniel, Sam, Nicole, Corey and even Hayley seem like they could have important roles in the progress of future storylines. We’ve learnt from The Darkest Powers that Kelley Armstrong favours strong friendships and connections. All the characters, mainly the teenagers too, tend to rely on one another a lot over the course of each book. The characters we’ve been introduced to are likable, if not typical and I truly am looking forward to how the connections form as the series continues.
I liked Maya. She has the potential to be a good female lead. She seems strong and appears to have confidence in herself; she knows who she is as a person and is even growing already which I liked. I thought it was a good thing to see her come to the realisation that she had judged people harshly, and perhaps unfairly. I can see her trying to rectify that in the future. I loved her wit and sarcastic take on some things. She always seemed to have something funny to say and it was wonderful to see the family dynamic she has with her parents. They actually do have a good relationship, which is rare to see in YA novels nowadays.

As for the boys, well I guess I’m a bit tossed up with them......
Daniel is a good guy; he’s honourable and kind, but there’s nothing about him that really stands out. He’s Maya’s best friend, and even though I think it’s horrible the life he lives with his father, I just don’t emphasise with him like I expected I would. I feel sorry for him, sure, but my heart isn’t drawn to him like it usually is in these situations. That’s not to say I don’t like him, because I do, I just think I need to see more of him before he really means something to me.
And Rafe.....Rafe, Rafe, Rafe. He’d defiantly my pick outta the two “love interests”. I’m honestly not quite sure why people dislike him the way they do; he’s really not that much of a bad person. I can’t even say he’s a bad boy, because he really isn’t. He’s actually a sweetie underneath it all and I liked how he let Maya in. He is sexy; I admit I like that dark, native look and feel about him. It’s obvious from even this book that family means a lot to Rafe. He’s lost his mother, but there’s no denying that he loves his sister. He cares about her and wants to take care of her; protecting her the only way he knows how. There’s something so appealing about a guy who cares about his family. I hated every time someone accused him of doing something wrong. God! Why must people jump to conclusions? Like when someone spiked Maya’s drink and they automatically assumed it was him—not cool. So not cool!

I really liked the relationship between Rafe and Maya; it was sweet and they really went well together. I thought it was great how Rafe let down his barriers around her. I loved the part where they were passing note like 5th graders and when they were together in the forest. I’m looking forward to seeing how that deepens.
As for the “love triangle”, am I think only one who didn’t really see it in this book? I’d be lying if I didn’t say I couldn’t see the little hints here and there about Daniels feelings towards Maya, especially when Daniel talked about his past relationship with Selena, but I didn’t see an outright love-triangle. People have mentioned that the love triangle will play a bit role in the story, but for me it just wasn’t there. There are no feelings proclaimed in this book or moves least not yet. I guess this is only the first book and lots of things will probably change over time, especially seeing as in The Darkest Powers Trilogy the relationships didn’t begin to form until the 2nd book.

The ending of the book was intriguing, if not a little abrupt. Things are certainly heating up in this small little town (pun totally intended), what with the murder, secrets and fires being started. I wonder what people want with the medical research plant and which kids are actually “different”. We know Maya, Rafe, Annie and Daniel, who most likely is, but what about the others. I have my suspicions about Sam and her anger issues; I certainly want to find out more. They’ve all spent years being treated by the St. Cloud Corporation and surely there has to be a sinister reason for that.
Looking forward to reading the next book....

Rating: **** stars
Recommend: Yes
Did I Buy, Borrow or is it an ARC: Bought
Recommend Buy or Borrow: Buy
Ebook or Actual Book: Actual Book
Cover: This the the cover we got here in Australia, but I actually think I like it more. I didn't at first, but now I do.
Read sequel/continue with series: Yes

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