Review: The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong

27 Jun

Series: Darkness Rising, Book #1

Published: April 12th 2011 by Harper (HarperCollins), New York

Details: Hardcover, 359 pages

My Rating: 3.5/5

My summary:

Spin-off series in the same world as The Darkest Powers. Not much happens as we follow Maya, Daniel and Rafe in their small town surroundings, and we are left with more questions than answers. Yet, because of a great setting and characters, it was still an enjoyable read.  Sequel to be published in April 2012.


A few chapters in:

Next on my reading list, due to my next to read poll (thanks as always to all who voted!!!) is the first book in the new series Darkness Rising by Kelley Armstrong.

This is a companion series to Kelley Armstrong The Darkest Powers, a trilogy I finished only weeks ago, see review here. I also believe this is the series that is partly to blame why the final installment The Reckoning ended in such a rush. You see, I have a feeling Armstrong already had her mind set on this new series, as she was finishing off the other one. Let’s just hope it paid off..

I’m now a few chapters in.

The world in The Gathering is set in the same world as The Darkest Powers, and both series share some secondary characters. The story and the main characters however are completely new.

Our heroine Maya, lives with her adoptive parents in a tiny medical-research community on Vancouver Island. Her adoptive father is a park-warden and so their house is surrounded by natural forest, something with really appeals to Maya who has natural tendency towards the wild, and the animals in particular.

The story starts off quite dramatically when Maya’s best friend mysteriously drowns in a quiet lake. A year later, Maya has still not come to terms with the strange accident. She hangs out with Daniel, the former boyfriend of her dead friend, and goes to school. Overall, life seems fairly ordinary. Apart from the fact that Maya is different, which is most likely connected to her odd paw-print birthmark. But different how, I still don’t know.

And this is as far as I’ve got. But so far, I’m liking it. It’s got the same easy flow as The Darkest Powers series, and it’s easy to get into the story. I have to admit though that I am bit wary as well, seeing as I’m afraid to end up with tons of questions (as in the previous series) and no resolution. Let’s see how it goes!

After finishing the book:

As you know from my prelude above, I was a bit wary when I started reading this new start of a series by Kelley Armstrong. Her last series The Darkest Powers was left with so many open threads that I had a strong feeling this series may end up the same way.

Yet, as I started reading this book, not even two chapters in, I was already forgetting about my initial doubts. I was instantly drawn into Armstrong’s world, with the vividly described setting of the tiny village Salmon Creek with its expansive forests and the well-rounded characters Maya, Rafe and Daniel.

Before I knew it, I had finished the book. And I’m now struggling to retell the plot. Because to be honest, not much happened. I’m going to agree on what so many other readers have commented, that this first installment does not have much of a story, but rather serves as the introduction to a new series. We get hints about what is to happen, but nothing is explained nor resolved.

Yet like I said, I enjoyed reading the book. Which is strange, because I’m usually irritated when the author fails to provide me with any answers, see The Need Series.

I think it has to do with Armstrong’s easy writing style and knack for creating relatable characters. Just like in The Darkest Powers Series, I found myself getting attached to the group of supernatural teenagers, as they all felt so multifaceted and real. I got sucked in because I wanted to know more about them, and learn what supernatural abilities they were hiding.

True to her form, Armstrong also included another love triangle, with the protagonist choosing between a bad boy and the nice friend. Judging from this book, it seems as if she’ll pick the bad boy, but who knows?

The ending was more of a “to be continued” than a proper ending, which I’m learning is another one of Armstrong’s trademarks. I mean, none of the books in The Darkest Powers series had a proper ending (including the last installment!).

Consequently, I’ll say that despite being an enjoyable read, I would recommend you to read this book after that the sequel has been published. Or you might even want to wait until the whole trilogy is out on the shelves. I’m thinking about doing the latter myself.

The sequel The Calling to be published in April 2012.

3 Responses to “Review: The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong”

  1. jenika December 14, 2011 at 12:29 am #

    Hi Tess!
    today I saw The Gathering in library and I took it (together with “The graveyard book” by Neil Gaiman)(one of my favorite writer) and I started reading it.
    After a few pages I thought it was too boring and I wanted to stop but I continued and luckily the story and characters became more interesting. So far it’s not bad. A few things were actually very interesting. I am now about half book, more comments to follow!

  2. jenika December 14, 2011 at 10:34 pm #

    Hi Tess
    I finished reading The Gathering.
    There is not to much story going on… the book was an interesting read but the characters didn’t really caught me…
    A few times I was thinking to stop reading (especially all the times they were speaking about racial background and so on) but I read it till the end.
    A few things made me curious: who is Maya’s long-lost twin? (A few times I thought it was Daniel… his father said he was not his son…) after I thought it might be Sam…
    another thing which made the book interesting was Rafe’s sister, Annie… I liked her even tough she didn’t appear many times…
    and I liked a lot when Maya discover the real identity of the female cougar who was protecting Rafe…
    I would give the book a 3/5.
    I might continue the series but it will not be top of my list.

    • tess December 16, 2011 at 2:18 pm #

      Hi Jenika,

      I completely agree. Not much was going on in this book, and I wouldn’t really recommend reading it until the rest of the series is out. I’m also curious about Maya’s twin, and Rafe’s sister was definitely an intruiging character, but yeah overall it didn’t make a superstrong impression. Not sure either if I will continue the series, maybe when all the books have been released. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! /Tess

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