by Kelley Armstrong
Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal
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.- The Gathering on Goodreads
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.
First Sentence:Serena stood on the rock ledge twenty feet above the lake, singing in a voice known to bring tears to the eyes of everyone who heard it.
The helicopter wobbled once, then lifted off.
Tucked away on the secluded Vancouver Island, Maya and her friends live what they deem to be a normal life. But as secrets from the past begin to unravel under the looming presence of the St. Cloud Medical Research Facility, everyone begins to question life as they know it. Will the past be the undoing of Maya's normal life?
I'm a huge fan of The Darkest Powers series by Kelley Armstrong, and this book is the first in the spin-off series, Darkness Rising. I liked The Gathering well enough, but something was missing for me. Kelley's writing is as good as always. The plot twists never stopped coming. My majority of time spent reading this, I was biting my lip trying to work out what was really going on. This one will keep you on the edge of your seat.
Honestly, I think my problem with The Gathering is that even though the plot is well-developed and flows, it's not as quick paced as The Summoning. The entire time I was reading it, I kept waiting for the big OH! moment, but it never came. The ending is really sudden, and it ends on a brutal cliffhanger. Nothing, and I mean nothing, is resolved. I haven't started the second book of the series yet, but I can almost promise that I'll be saying the two should have been combined to make the story feel more complete.
The characters in The Gathering are likable. They don't fall prey to many of the YA stereotypes. Maya makes for an interesting main character, but I was constantly yelling at her to piece the puzzle together more quickly. There's a larger group of characters in this series rather than the handful in The Darkest Powers. It makes a very refreshing dynamic, and I looked forward to seeing several of the characters pop up as the book progressed.
All in all, if you were a fan of The Darkest Powers by Kelley Armstrong, give this book a chance. It's a different change of pace, but Armstrong's incredible writing will still draw you in. Just be patient. The action comes around at the last minute, and it's a wild ride.