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Darkness Rising #1

The Gathering

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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.

359 pages, Hardcover

First published April 12, 2011

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About the author

Kelley Armstrong

270 books30.4k followers
Kelley Armstrong has been telling stories since before she could write. Her earliest written efforts were disastrous. If asked for a story about girls and dolls, hers would invariably feature undead girls and evil dolls, much to her teachers' dismay. All efforts to make her produce "normal" stories failed.

Today, she continues to spin tales of ghosts and demons and werewolves, while safely locked away in her basement writing dungeon. She's the author of the NYT-bestselling "Women of the Otherworld" paranormal suspense series and "Darkest Powers" young adult urban fantasy trilogy, as well as the Nadia Stafford crime series. Armstrong lives in southwestern Ontario with her husband, kids and far too many pets.

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 3,477 reviews
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,962 reviews293k followers
March 30, 2012

I have a confession to make... here goes. So, anyone who knows me at all on goodreads will know that I have a few friends whose reviews I rely on without question. If they say a book is better than chocolate, orgasms and Melina Marchetta combined, even if I've never heard of it, I will believe them. Except... I didn't. I doubted, it's true, I doubted. I have had this book on my shelf since not long after it's release in April last year and I have been putting if off and putting it off. Everytime I reminded myself that I should probably read it soon I would then talk myself out of it.

Why? Because while my love for dystopias keeps me reading trash in search of that one book that will prove authors still know how to do it well, my love for young adult paranormal novels up and left shortly after the publication of the Twilight series. Okay, so it occasionally makes a rare re-appearance for books that are paranormal with other elements, like Angelfall for example. And yet, Ms Armstrong has somehow successfuly delivered it back to me in a shiny, completely addicted condition. I thought my inability to enjoy Unearthly - another book that all my friends' loved - was proof that I was doomed to dislike young adult paranormal books forever. How wrong I was.

This is a wonderfully enjoyable novel with refreshing Native Canadian mythology. There's also an array of characters that interested me beyond the main character (Maya) and the guy she's hot for (Rafe)... like Daniel - her overprotective best friend, Rafe's mentally-damaged sister - Annie, Sam - the quick-tempered girl who is more than you first expect... even Maya's parents are memorable with all the funny dialogue between the family, especially between Maya and her father. And I want to hug Kelley Armstrong so much for managing to create a sexy love interest without him being a broody, crazy control-freak. A love story where both the guy and the girl have personalities and aren't abusive? I must be dreaming!

This is just so much better written than the majority of young adult paranormal novels. I'm not suggesting that it will blow your mind or give you a new perspective on life, but this is how I felt about YA UF back when they used to be fun and not so repetitive, cliched and annoying. This is how I felt at the start of the Vampire Academy series: excited.
Profile Image for Tatiana.
1,400 reviews11.7k followers
February 28, 2012
As seen on The Readventurer

What a pleasant surprise this novel was! I did not expect to like The Gathering after being very underwhelmed by Kelley Armstrong's first YA trilogy - Darkest Powers.

While I think nothing changed in terms of the structure Armstrong chose for her trilogies (the whole story is simply separated into three parts instead of presenting three separate story arcs), this book was a much better experience for me. I attribute this to the following:

1) Setting - loved, loved that the book is set in Canada, in an isolated tiny medical research town (population: 200) located in a national park. A huge portion of the story takes place outdoors. It made me want to live in a cabin with bobcats and cougars roaming around too.

2) New type of supernatural beings - Maya is something Armstrong has never written before. I am quite curious about Maya's powers which are not very clear at the moment. I surely prefer them to Chloe's dead-raising skills.

3) No hiding in warehouses! Was very sick of them in all three Darkest Powers books.

4) Teen characters and romances - Kelley Armstrong is one of a very few YA authors who refuse to promote stalker/doormat relationships based on ANGST. The narrator of this novel - Maya - is a strong young woman and her relationship with her hot love interest is well-balanced, even when complicated.

The biggest flaw of The Gathering comes from the author's choice of the trilogy's plot structure. Again, like in Darkest Powers, there is almost no climax in the story, just some mildly exciting action sequence in the last 50 pages or so. Based on the reviews I have read, this flaw can really spoil the experience for some readers.

I, however, managed to enjoy the novel anyway. It left me with the same feeling Unearthly did. I know there are more questions raised than answered, I know it is a very incomplete story and the whole novel does nothing much besides setting up the stage for the future installments, but the process of reading the book was so enjoyable that I was able to overlook its shortcomings and now am looking forward to the sequel with anticipation.
Profile Image for Aj the Ravenous Reader.
1,030 reviews1,044 followers
May 20, 2016

I do not read a lot of paranormal fantasy novels because (forgive me for being too honest), I find most of them a bit corny and the romance often cheesy but this particular book combines several elements-the setting (a really small secluded forest town in Canada that specializes in medical research), the sprinkle of science fiction and mythology and the genuine teen feel to the novel including the realistic romance, dialogues and writing making this a very refreshing read.

The plot isn’t your complex, adventurous type but it was still engaging to read because of the mystery behind the characters, and the setting of the story itself. I learned quite a few things about wild animals especially cougars. ;) The main character, Maya, is also a very likable character, quite funny too. What I particularly liked most about the story is Maya’s relationship with her parents and her best friend, Daniel. Here’s a great example of the plausibility of a boy and a girl being best friends without having to fall in love with each other (although it might be too early to tell because it’s only the first book). But Rafe is <3.

I settled for three stars because besides the cliffhanger, the last twenty percent of the story seemed a bit jumbled up, as if the missing actions during the significant first portion of the novel were all crammed up in the last few pages of the book. Also, there are still so many questions unanswered although I’m sure that’s the author’s way of making the reader want to read the sequels. Overall, it was still a generally enjoyable read. :)

If you're looking for a really enthusiastic and more positive perspective of the novel, do check out Pang's review.
Profile Image for Erin *Proud Book Hoarder*.
2,429 reviews1,060 followers
January 28, 2018
"The cougar-a ragged-ear old top I clled Marv-just stared at her, like he couldn't believe anyone would be dumb to climb a tree to escape a cat.”

I love Kelley Armstrong’s Women of the Otherworld series, but this was my first time trying one of her young adult series. Her writing style worked fine for this genre, easy to focus on and a breeze to get through.

Not much happens until after 50% into the story, but it’s still easy to stay focused on the character-focused book. The small town setting is almost a character in itself, and there are different animals that throw out hints about the main character’s hidden abilities. Set in Canada, the tiny town is a called a medical community of sorts, which is just odd but totally works. Maya’s father is the park ranger so animals and the surrounding woods have much to do with the story. There’s a few scenes in the high school and friend gatherings that keep reminding me this is YA – which isn’t a bad thing since there’s something about school settings that still interests me with stories.

Most of the action is reserved for the last 20%, so some may lose some patience. There is a cliffhanger, but thankfully it’s not a jagged killer of one. While not action filled, it stills stays interesting but not much actually happens – the book seems to be one long set-up until the ending where it sorts of abruptly cuts off during their next step.

Maya is unique with her abilities and I’m not sure exactly everything she can do – but she explores some of her heritage and Native American origins in this one. I have a feeling she’s going to discover much more in the second book about tribes and her missing people. I don’t know all she can do yet but it’s clearly something with animals.

There is romance but it’s not overly angsty. It’s tied strongly into the storyline, of course, but the main love interest is likable and different enough to keep that okay. Her side friend with the abusive fathers throws in more realism. I can’t complain about any of the characters – we have some stereotypes, but in real life the teenagers usually have stereotypes in their group anyway – we don’t develop cliques in high school without a reason…

I like Maya’s bond with her adoptive parents and how well they understand her – not something often used in YA fiction – but I’m confused on the end and who or what are her birth parents. Again, have a feeling that information is left to discover in the sequel.

A lot of questions are raised and answered, but still some questions dangle waiting for the sequel to come out and fill the reader in. Will be the second when I get the chance.

I haven’t read the Darkest Powers trilogy, so this is pretty new to me since I am not familiar with that tie-in series.
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,566 reviews56.6k followers
February 10, 2020
The Gathering (Darkness Rising #1), Kelley Armstrong

The Gathering is the first book in Armstrong's Darkness Rising trilogy. Darkness Rising is the second trilogy in the Darkest Powers series. Darkness Rising follows a new set of kids. The Darkness Rising trilogy follows a sixteen-year-old girl named Maya Delaney.

The setting for The Gathering is a small medical-research town called Salmon Creek on Vancouver Island. Salmon Creek was built by St. Cloud Corporation, the owners of the town and surrounding park. It was built for their employees. Maya, the main character, is the adopted daughter of the park ranger. The events actually start a year before with the death of Maya's friend, Serena. She and Maya were swimming in a lake. Serena, captain of Salmon Creek High swim team, drowned in the lake, and Maya is guilt-ridden for not being able to save her friend.

A year later, Maya is getting ready to celebrate her sweet 16. She wants to tattoo her birthmark—a paw-print shape on her hip. She doesn't want it altered in any way, though; she just wants to make it more noticeable. However, she doesn't get it because the tattoo artist's aunt insults her by calling her a witch in Navajo. Later, she invites Rafe, a new bad-boy at school, to her birthday party at Daniel's house. At the party, the teens have a competition on Maya's new rock wall: if she can beat all the guys, they have to add more footholds, but if she loses to even one guy, she has to kiss him.

After she defeats all the contestants, Rafe shows up. He challenges Maya individually, and beats her. He doesn't kiss her, though, promising to claim his prize without prying eyes. Maya and Rafe then start going out. One day, when Maya was going over to his house for dinner with him and his childish older sister, Annie, she is attacked by someone looking for Rafe. She sees Annie transform from a cougar into herself. ...

تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز دهم ماه فوریه سال 2014 میلادی

عنوان: دور همی: سری طلوع تاریکی یک؛ نویسنده: کلی آرمسترانگ؛

ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Literary Ames.
828 reviews396 followers
July 13, 2014
Well written but I think my sheer impatience with the set-up got to me.
References to Samuel Lyle (Darkest Powers trilogy) and the Nasts, Cortezes and St Clouds (Women of the Otherworld) were very welcome as I'm anxious to see characters from all the books connect but I'm seeing similarities with these other works too.

Maya reminds me of Elena (WotO) in personality and ability but the people around her made me think of Chloe's crowd. Daniel is Chloe's Maya's best friend and she wants to keep it that way so no kissy-wissy despite being attractive to every girl except her. Apparently. I'm not so sure. And Rafe is her Derek (though he may actually be Clay to her Elena), an outsider/outcast who's struggling to care for his brother sister, Annie.

I loved Maya's parents. They were good people and genuinely loved and cared for their adopted daughter. Parents are rarely seen or heard in YA these days or if they're around they're neglectful of their duties, clueless about their children and their actions. Maya has close relationships with them and I chuckled every time she (lovingly) teased her father mercilessly. Her directness was embarrassing!

My impatience came into play when everything is blatantly obvious to us readers but we're waiting for the characters to catch on or impart important information to these poor clueless kids. They don't realise that what they're joking around about is actually real and true because to them it's too far-fetched. I feel like I'm 100 steps ahead of them and my foot's itching to kick them to motivate them to catch up.

Intellectually I know this is just a slow build up, establishing Maya's world so we can understand how devastating it'll be for her and her friends when it all falls apart but just...HURRY UP! That cliffhanger, I knew it was coming but it still burns. If I had the next instalment I would be reading it right now instead of writing this so I enjoyed the book well enough.

However, I didn't particularly take to Rafe. Perhaps I was reading too much into the whole love triangle thing of the last trilogy but I was hoping Daniel would take Maya's dad's offer of the truck and marry Maya. He's far more likeable than Rafe and I got the impression he might be interested in dating Maya but as I said before, I might be reading too much into his actions.

On a sidenote: the tactile quality of my UK edition is very high. Smooth, soft cover, paper and page edges. Definitely not a cheap mass market paperback.


First 90 pages now available here:
Profile Image for Crystal Starr Light.
1,350 reviews819 followers
August 17, 2016
Bullet Review:

75 pages of plot ballooned out to 359 pages. Characters are complete morons, without a shred of common sense. All the plot twists I called A HUNDRED PAGES before the characters were told it (because investigating? Ain't nobody got time for that!). Instead, let's focus on the stupid teen DWAMA romantic plot tumor.

You cannot say that I'm bloating the rating just because I liked Armstrong's earlier books. Massive disappointment; if I didn't already own the rest of the trilogy, I would quit here.

Full Review:

Maya is totally not a normal teen in a totally not normal town - but even though those two are fairly obvious, no one even bats an eye. Maya heals animals super fast, talks with cougars like it's no big deal, and has visions of running through the forest - but that's what everyone has, right? Everyone can do that?

The town was built by the totally-not suspicious St. Clouds and has a set-up straight out of a Stephen King horror novel - but again, totes legit.

Maya's friend, Serena, died "drowning" the previous year in a lake that should be called a kiddie pool, but even though Serena was a top notch swimmer, no one bats an eye. Maya has a friend Daniel, who is totally not into her in the romantic way. Nope nope, that would be weird.

And the new "bad boy", Rafe, is totally hot and sexy in that Latino way, so that means it's totally okay to break your rule about dating local boys for a makeout session or seventeen - RIGHT??!

All the problems of this book go back to One Ultimate Problem: there is too little story spread out over 359 pages.

There is nothing inherently wrong with Maya's character (I love how she's Native with Native culture) or Daniel or Rafe or the setup of the town or the mysterious death of Serena. Actually, all this could be a setup to a great horror movie! (Okay, maybe not great, but scary, definitely.)

The problem is, this book is basically the first two chapters or so of a real book. It's all setup, not even a teensie bit of a payout.

Do we find out how Serena died? Nope.

Do we find out how Mina died? Nope.

Do we find out how the fire was set? Nope. (Bonus: How were the kids SO SURE that the fire was set?)

Do we know anything about Maya's family? Nope.

Do we get confirmation about Rafe's assertions or do we just believe him because he's HAWT? Hot, duh!

And on. And on. And so forth.

It doesn't help that so much of the book feels like the same basic plot as Darkest Powers - girl finds out (from someone else who infodumps it to her, because GOD FORBID a woman know her own magical powers without being told by a male!) she's something special, super-evil medical corporation wants to use kid(s) for EVUL. Perhaps if we hadn't already read this plot in Darkest Powers, we could put up with Maya slamming her tongue down Rafe's throat for 200+ pages, but come on, Armstrong. We aren't idiots. Your characters aren't idiots. Open their eyes and let them see what's standing right in front of them.

Oh and some of the survival tactics run completely counter to everything I'd read before. Pepper spray? Actually, it is ILLEGAL to have in Canada, though it will allow bear and dog spray - neither of which are mentioned in the book. Most sites say not to run away if you meet a cougar. And probably the biggest one is about climbing a tree to escape a bear. Armstrong, I hate to be rude, but did you do research or just make some of this up for drama?

Common sense tells me I should avoid the sequel based on my dislike of this book; however, I am hopeful, with 359 pages of setup out of the way, perhaps we can get to the actual story. Plus I own all three books.

(On a side note...I used to snap up all of Armstrong's books when they came out. Glad I'm not doing that anymore.)
April 7, 2013
The last 1/4 of the book...I don't even know where to start.

I don't know about you, but I'm not too fond of writing essays, and I was pretty terrible at it in grade school. I tend to BS my way through them then, I just ramble and make random, dramatic statements and reactions and not much actual facts until the very last part of my paper, where I realize, OH SHIT, I only have 250 words left, and I need to make a point!!!!!! Then I cram in all the facts I can and hope that my essay/paper ends up somewhat coherent. This is what it feels like Ms. Armstrong did for the ending. She fleshed out the first 3/4 of the book because she didn't have an idea of where she wants to go, then the hastily-thrown-together-before-deadline ending makes no sense.

I'm sorry, is there an actual plot to this book? Ok, it's the first book in the series, and there needs to be introductions made, but I swear the first 2/3rds of the book was an introduction to Maya, her family, and her adopted past, her friend Serena's tragic accident, her mixed feelings and friendship with Daniel, and her burgeoning romance with the school poseu---I mean Rafe. Too much background. Way, way too much background, and not enough flesh or plot. I know more than I need to about how wonderful her parents are, the mean-spiritedness of bad-girl Sam, and the wonderful, pretty, scenic little town (and I mean little) owned by the St. Cloud corporation and all the hush-hush that goes on surrounding the lab. 75% through the book and I still had no idea what the plot is supposed to be.

We hear the word "skinwalker" like twice in the first half. One by a crazy lazy who pretty much spitefully shouts it at Maya while she's about to get a tattoo. I really have no idea what this series wants to be.
Profile Image for Limonessa.
300 reviews508 followers
February 7, 2012
My history with Kelley Armstrong is a long and solid one.
I've read all her books in the Underworld series and Elena and Clay are one of my (few) most beloved couples in UF.
I inhaled all the books where they are protagonists, they're definitely my favorite in the series.

When Armstrong started writing YA lit (The Darkest Powers series) I picked up The Summoning. I wasn't very impressed, so much so that I dropped the series.
This new series, Darkness Rising, is somewhat better than DP, but still hasn't left me very impressed so far.

The story is set in a tiny community somewhere on Vancouver Island, Canada. Salmon Creek is a small village whose residents work for a pharmaceutical company who does classified medical research. There's something definitely fishy going on in the community: from Serena's - Maya's best friend - death, to the appearance of an ever- increasing number of unknown cougars, to a series of weird events punctuating Maya's life.

There were some nice - and original - aspects to this story that I particularly appreciated.
The setting, for starters, is really nice. Descriptions of the community, the wilderness and the wildlife are really well done, atmospheric. There's always an animalistic taste to Armstrong's books when she deals with shapeshifters that I find extremely enticing.
Because after all, shapeshifters they are, in this book. Skin-walkers, to be precise, a race of supernaturals that I had yet to encounter in fantasy.

The mythology, tied to native Americans, is definitely a point which I found very interesting and that I would have wanted to - and that I hope will be - explored more in the next installments. What I didn't like was when said mythology got contaminated with a not-so-native regional Italian secret sect of hunters, the Benandanti, which had, in my opinion, very little to do with native Americans. There might be ignorance on my part on this subject but the sect is, incidentally, originally from the area where I live and I am pretty sure we have nothing in common with native American shapeshifters. Anyway.

The other problem I had is that some scenes between Maya and Rafe, especially the ones when they are in the woods, felt very much similar to some Elena and Clay's scenes .

So basically, while I enjoyed the book (cliffhanger aside) I had the distinct feeling that this - or part of this - was just a YA version of a story that's already been successfully told.
I wish Kelley Armstrong had just stuck to adult urban fantasy because, to me, it definitely feels like she's trying to milk the YA cash cow by exploiting some trite paranormal YA tropes.

For this review and more follow The Nocturnal Library.
Profile Image for Anne.
3,917 reviews69.3k followers
January 28, 2018
3.5 stars

I really liked Armstrong's Darkest Powers Trilogy: The Reckoning, the Summoning, the Awakening, so I was excited that this trilogy is set in that same world with a different set of kids.

The Things I loved:

1) I loved that, unlike every other YA out there, Maya had a great relationship with her parents. Yes, she was adopted, so there could be potentially creepy birth-parents lurking out there, but I'm a firm believer that the people who raise you are your real parents. At any rate, the dysfunctional parent thing is wearing a little thin, so this was a nice change.

2) Armstrong is a great storyteller. This book could have been really boring...and it wasn't. I scarfed it down in one day if that tells you anything. The opening chapter really grabbed me, mostly because I didn't see it coming. Nice.

3) Daniel. Loved him.

And that leads me to...

Things I Didn't Love

1) Rafe. Oh, I liked him, I just didn't like him that way. He was just so...blah. I'm really hoping that Armstrong pulls a switcheroo, and Maya ends up with Daniel. Not getting my hopes up though, since Armstrong seemed to be trying awful hard to make him seem like a misunderstood bad-boy with a heart of gold.

2) Not much happened in this story. Well, stuff happened, but I kept waiting for it to really get cranking, and...eh. It felt like I was waiting on these kids to figure out what I knew from the first page. Hurry up and get it already! I would almost recommend staying away from the previous books in this world because you have too much information to plod along with these guys if you do.

3) One of the least exciting cliffhangers (if that's what it was supposed to be) I've ever read. Don't get me wrong, I want to read the rest of the books, because I'm guessing that this is just a really slow set-up, but I was hoping for some kind of exciting climax at the end. Or something.

At the end of the day, though, Armstrong's writing still wins out. I'm hooked. I might as well go ahead and put the next book on my to-read list right now.
Profile Image for Beth Dawkins.
Author 9 books22 followers
February 11, 2011
Maya lives in a small research town. She is recovering after her best friend's questionable death. When she starts to look into it with Daniel, boyfriend of her dead friend. Instead of discovering answers all they find are more questions about themselves, and the town.

Sometimes I feel jealous of YA novels. The covers are so pretty and there are so many. I wonder if there were so many when I was in school. I don't remember, but I think the Urban Fantasy craze picked up before I graduated. So when I read a YA novel I always ask myself, 'am I jealous?' The answer for this one is yes.

It is fast paced, easy to read (but also a beta run right now so it could change.)and has a action packed story. This is also the first thing I have ever read by Kelly Armstrong, but I look forward to reading more from her in the near future. She does an amazing job with bringing the characters through with dialogue which made it special. I want to read the next one, now, but that won't be for a while since this one is not even out yet.

Then why a four, and not five stars? Two reasons, there are books we read for entertainment, and books we read for its depth. This is entertainment. The magical five star books are those that can weave both and bring us face to face with the characters. This is not one of those. The second reason is a lack of.. well more. Its a YA novel so the description is not grand because we don't want to bore our teens to death. I don't know if I fully believe that lack of description is a good thing. Then again I have always been a 'push the limits' girl.

Bottom line is that I do think this story has promise and I look forward to another one... It left me wanting more. Which, lucky me, the author has LOTS more to gobble up. I don't think it is for everyone but I would have liked it as a young teen (12?). Its also a book that a mother and daughter could share and discuss.

There is a fair amount of supernatural in the book. All of the main characters start to show some type of ability. This amounted to tense situations. It does have a fair amount of romance, but nothing, in my opinion, that is too racy for teens. It tries to work in a love triangle between Maya, Daniel and bad boy Rafe. Still the romance feels like background noise in comparison to the action and danger surrounding the teens.

All this is just a impression, I didn't go into details about the story because it is a beta, a lot could change. I did enjoy it! After a cliff hanger ending, I am ready for the second.
Profile Image for AH.
2,005 reviews370 followers
July 4, 2011

First thoughts when I found this book in the library: “Yes! Score!” Full disclosure: Kelley Armstrong is one of my favorite Canadian authors. I love her easy-going storytelling style. I was a bit hesitant to pick up this book because I did not enjoy her Darkest Powers series as much as her adult series.

I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I was captivated by the story and could not put the book down. The Gathering is the story of Maya Delaney, a 16 year old girl who lives in an extremely isolated community on Vancouver Island. Salmon Creek is home to about 200 residents who all work in mysterious research jobs for the St. Cloud Corporation. The residents have excellent health care, fantastic school, and good housing. That’s about all the information you get on the St. Cloud Corporation.

The setting was truly a win. Every time that I travel to British Columbia, it never ceases to amaze me just how isolated you can be only a few miles from a city or town. For some pictures of the area click here.

I really liked Maya’s character. She is strong and stands up for herself. She keeps her wits about her and doesn’t risk everything to get the boy. Definitely not a doormat! I love how the author slowly builds up Maya’s abilities. The reader learns about Maya’s powers at the same time as Maya. Maya’s affinity with animals was cute. Fitz the three legged bobcat, Marv the cougar, even her dog Kenji, all were attracted to Maya.

The other teenage characters were interesting as well. I can’t wait to see what becomes of Daniel. Rafe, the resident bad boy, seems to have a lot of surprises and secrets.

The inclusion of the cabals from Armstrong’s adult series was genius. As her YA readers get older, they will enjoy the connection of this series to Armstrong’s Men and Women of the Otherworld series.

My notes at the end of the book simply said: “ARGH! Don’t end the book here! I have so many questions! I want more! 2012 is too far away.”
Profile Image for oliviasbooks.
774 reviews514 followers
April 21, 2011
Since I loved the Darkest Powers trilogy so very much, the realization that was already bored and did not enjoy myself particularly hit me rather unexpectedly when I started flipping forward around page 190. Certainly my heavy cold with a nasty headache included in the package has to carry part of my inability to focus on the supposedly unnerving small-town-story, but I really do not care enough about the characters' fate to prove this theory under stabilized conditions later. So. After 194 pages I leave Salmon Creek behind without a trace of regret. Good bye, Cougar Girl.
Profile Image for Jennifer Rayment.
1,246 reviews52 followers
April 5, 2011
The Good Stuff

* I cannot believe I have never read one of Kelley's books before, she is an incredible storyteller. She is also a lovely women who sent me a signed copy of one of her books for my SB&H (Spina Bifida Association) raffle
* The story grabs your attention from the 1st chapter and doesn't let go until the very last page
* Maya's parents are AWESOME -- this is the first YA book I have read where the parents aren't self-involved, clueless douche bags - Thank you Kelley for this I will buy and read all your books
* Intriguing mysterious story with lots of twists and turns
* Wonderfully dry fun dialogue -- it was hard to pick just a few good quotes for this review
* Lots of Cougars and I don't mean old chicks like me, actual Cougars (and for you Americans otherwise known as Mountain Lions). I love animals what can I say
* Set in Canada -- I know, I know but I am a geeky Canadian when I recognize City/Province names I get excited
* Strong female lead and interesting secondary characters
* Love the relationship between Maya and her parents and Maya and her friends, especially Daniel

The Not so Good Stuff

* The story ended on a cliffhanger and I am reading this on March 6th and this book hasn't even been published yet -- how long do I have to wait for the next book -- I'm impatient : )

Favorite Quotes/Passages

"UM, yeah. She climbed a tree to escape a cat. She's suffering from a serious case of stupid."

"In Nanaimo? Must be a low-budget Canadian production."

"Is there any other kind?"

"Takes care of me? Did I go to sleep and wake up in the nineteenth century?" I looked down at my jeans and T-shirt. "Ack! I can't go to school like this. Where's my Corset? My bonnet?

Dad sighed as Mom walked in with her empty teacup.

"What did I miss?" she said

"Dad's trying to marry me off to Daniel." I looked at him. "You know, if you offer him a new truck for a dowry, he might go for it."

"Apparently, I said the wrong thing," Dad told Mom

What I Learned

* That I so need to go to Vancouver
* That I need to go get the rest of Kelley's books

Who should/shouldn't read

* My neighbors daughter actually squealed when she found out I had got a copy of this. I even let her read it before me because I know she WILL go out and buy her own copy -- she has all of Kelley's books and they are all signed (Kelley lives near where we live)
* Anyone who likes paranormal YA stories -- or quite frankly anyone who likes a good story

5 Dewey's

I received this from Random House in exchange for an honest review -- hmmm, think I might have to beg them to put me on the list for all of Kelley's new release
Profile Image for Angela.
318 reviews55 followers
April 28, 2011
Slow and underdeveloped start to new trilogy, 2.5 stars

In Kelley Armstrong's THE GATHERING, Maya Delaney lives in a small medical research town on Vancouver Island. A year after her best friend's death, Maya and her friend Daniel still don't have answers about how Serena died. When other people start to show up dead in the woods and Maya begins to have strange moments of connection with animals, she decides to start looking for answers. All the while, things are heating up between Maya and bad boy Rafe who may have secrets of his own. Maya and her friends soon start to discover that things may not be as safe on the island as they once thought.

After really enjoying Kelley Armstrong's first YA trilogy (Darkest Powers), I was excited to delve into this new series. Similar to her prior books, Armstrong's easy writing style and engaging setting kept me reading. Likable characters such as Daniel, Rafe, Annie, and Maya's parents drew me into the story as did the gripping prologue that set up the mystery. Armstrong's descriptions and use of Canadian slang created a firm sense of place, and her respectful representation of Native people and the weaving of myth and culture into the plot also made the setting feel real.

Even with these strong points, this novel fell short for me because of its limited plot development and obvious similarities to her previous trilogy. While parts of the mythology were new, prior readers of her Darkest Powers series will know immediately what's happening to Maya and who the villains will be. Even such, readers learn very little in this book about the possible powers or identities of the different teens except for Maya and Rafe. The plot itself did not move forward much at all, and the book finished with a cliffhanger that didn't even feel like one. Though I can't stand cliffhangers, the one that's provided didn't even make me eager to read the next installment. The book overall feels like an extended prologue leading up to action we haven't seen yet. As the narrator, Maya was likable for her assertive personality and quick wit but it seemed hard to believe that she was so well-liked by most everyone despite being somewhat abrasive. I was also disappointed that the romance looks destined to fall into the requisite pattern of a love triangle.

I'm left feeling cautious about this new series and where it will go. In future books, I hope Armstrong provides a more substantial plot, some unexpected twists about the villains, and a greater sense of self-containment to each novel.
Profile Image for Cesar.
353 reviews236 followers
April 4, 2017

4 stars

So begins my journey of rereading the first two books in the Darkness Rising trilogy and start the last book, The Rising.

Can I just say that it's good to reread a book you like? Even if it's been a long time, there's still that lingering feeling of how much you liked it. It was the same for me after reading The Gathering.

For those of you who don't know, the Darkness Rising trilogy is a spin-off of the Darkest Power trilogy. We follow a new cast of characters as well as a new plot that is somewhat related to the other trilogy.

In this book, we follow Maya, a sixteen-year-old who is just living her life in the small town she lives in along with her family and friends. She's just living her day-to-day life, enjoying her life.

That is... until some strange things happening. And it all centers around the town, the mysterious new guy, Rafe; and Maya.

Kelley Armstrong has a way of enticing me into her books. She writes in a simple way but it's still entertaining. Simple and to the point. Which makes the pacing go by quick.

One reason why I like this series is how Armstrong manages to keep me interested in the plot by adding some good mystery to it. Like the previous trilogy, this one also has some mysteries and conspiracies that are waiting to be uncovered. They leave you guessing and wanting more in the next book.

Maya and the other characters were actually good. Dare I say, better than the ones in the Darkest Powers trilogy. Maya was bolder than Chloe and had more character to her. Even the side characters and Rafe, the romantic interest, stood out. I wouldn't say they're the best side characters, but good enough that I liked them.

And to top it all off, I liked how the setting was in a small town in Canada. There's just something charming about small towns. It's the simple things in life that are enjoyable, even small towns.

My only flaw would have to be the romance. It wasn't a bad one. But Maya's inner dialogue about Rafe was a bit too much. Other than that, it didn't get in the way.


I'm glad I decided to read both trilogies this year as my reading goal for 2017. This series has been sitting on my shelf for quite some time and I decided that I would finally finish the Darkness Rising trilogy. All that's left for me to do is reread the next book and finally, FINALLY read The Rising.

A great start to a series and one that I enjoyed even after all these years.

Thanks for reading my review!

Profile Image for Colleen Houck.
Author 37 books8,963 followers
January 4, 2016
I really liked this book for several reasons. First, I should say that I listened to the audiobook and the narrator was fantastic! The opening scene was scary and interesting. Loved the new take on shifters. The end was left open for a sequel which I will pick up as soon as I can. Daniel was my favorite character though Rafe was interesting too. Love the three legged Fitz!
Profile Image for Rachel.
497 reviews9 followers
April 18, 2015
I didn't find a whole lot to like about this book. Spoilers below...

1) It's categorized as YA but it reads like a upper middle grade book. Unfortunately allusions to sex and date rape mean the book ends up being a YA book that doesn't feel very sophisticated.

2) The plot moves at a snails pace. On top of that, the plot isn't that exciting.... This book is essentially a contemporary YA with only a small dash of the paranormal. And because it's a strange, poorly done hybrid of contemporary YA and pnr, the plot is confusing and at times, seems pretty pointless. There is a shape-shifting element to the book but it doesn't come until the last hundred pages. The book is 350 pages. Kinda makes you wonder what takes up the first 250 pages, right? Not much...

3) The drama seems contrived and frankly, not that dramatic. Maya and Haley don't get along in what seems like a classic case of the school's two queen bees rubbing each other wrong. Right? Turns out Maya has held a grudge against Hayley for five years because Hayley copied off her math homework in 8th Grade. Yup, that's seems like a good reason to maintain an undying hatred for someone. I'm super protective of my math homework, too... Sigh.

4) The characters are stereotypes. Maya, the MC, is Native American, loves animals and is only happy running in the woods. Surprise, Maya is a shape-shifter (just once I want an animal-hating, super preppy, girly white chick to find out she is a shape-shifter). Rafe is Hispanic/Native America, tied up in drugs, clearly a bad boy because he wears a leather jacket and talks to lots of girls, and is difficult for Maya to trust (I imagine she protects her math homework with extra ferocity whenever he is nearby). Daniel is the boy next door who can do wrong, it slightly vulnerable, and pathetically in love in Maya. Of course Maya is the only one who doesn't realize this. I can tell because they do math homework together and Maya doesn't seem worried.

5) The end is supposed to be exciting and its not. Though I have to say, this is the first book I've read in which an Elk (the animal, not the old-man philanthropists who walk in parades) is a point of concern for the main characters. Worst of all, because there is essentially no plot to this book (like seriously, no plot) there isn't any resolution. There is nothing to resolve. There are a few questions, I suppose, but none that I'm really that interested in finding out the answers to.
Profile Image for Pang.
416 reviews366 followers
October 5, 2014
OMG!!!! Kelley did it again!! I read this book so fast cuz it is sooooo good! :D ..Let me tell you guys!

We all DP Fans miss Chloe, but I'm sure you will love Maya ;D
Chloe is smart innocent which we love. Conversely, Maya is smart confident girl! She make the first move. She's ROCK! And that make she soooooo cuteeee with Rafe. I can't stop smiling.

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Talk about Rafe.. He is new mysterious boy from another town. I love how jerk he is cuz he made me LOL. He is sweet bad boy! and a little pitiful which made I felt a bit sad for him. So, for sure I'm Rooting Him! My poor Rafe! <333

Ahhh... I didn't forget Daniel! Maya's Best friend. He is protective boy. And his life is pitiful, as well. Please!! someone carry his father out off the cliff! Seriously! :( Poor Daniel!

Maya and Rafe have very pretty Chemistry together!!! They made me shy and a bit sad in some parts! But, that's all they are frigging cute. I said it again! O.O .. I miss Derek & Chloe * sigh * Both couples are different! We cheered Derek & Chloe over years! x We got Hook!!! ' Why you don't know you have feeling for each other ??? ' But, not for Maya.. haha.. I can just say that She is ROCK! ' No spoiler ' :P

I can't wait for book 3 which Chloe and Maya * seem * meet together!

Derek x Chloe 4Ever <3 Rafe x Maya All the Way! WAHAHAAAA..

Oh..... I forgot to warn you guys! There are many CUTE Cougars in this book! * Swoon for those Amber eyes *

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Profile Image for ~Tina~.
1,092 reviews159 followers
May 5, 2011
Interesting plot, intriguing characters but I'm still having issues when it comes to the writing. It's okay, but it tends to get pretty repetitive. I don't know how many times we were reminded that the town is tiny and isolated. I get it, really I do.
Other then that though, I enjoyed this one. I got a kick out of the setting, which was in Canada (yay us) and I loved how this one revolved around animals and Maya's story behind it. I also really liked Daniel, I'm not sure if he's playing the big brother/best friend role or something more just yet, but I guess time will tell, and while I'm still not sure about Rafe I like him and I'm curious.
I really liked Armstrong's Darkest Powers trilogy so the Darkness Rising series looks to be a promising start and I'm looking forward to seeing where she'll take this.
Profile Image for Moony (Captain Mischief) MeowPoff.
1,493 reviews128 followers
June 28, 2022
This was very interesting and lead me to read it in one sitting! Sometimes it was slow and the main character, Maya was a little annoying and really needs some kick in the butt. But i really like Daniel and Rafael. But i think it was super interesting with the shift (Annie especially) and the animals around there (Fitz and Marv) , they got names and was given their own personality and more time in the story wich i really enjoyed. Look forward to the next book!
Profile Image for Brigid ✩.
581 reviews1,821 followers
July 12, 2011

But I got it back again. So, yaaaaay.

Uh yeah, I guess I should explain that. Well, so Seth is one out of the few people who actually read my reviews. And he's always like, "Briiigiiid where's your next revieeeeew?" And I'm always like, "UP YOUR BUTT." So, yeah. This review was in Seth's butt for a while.

Now, the actual review. It feels like I read this ages and ages ago. It was like a week ago, actually. But in Brigid-time, that is quite a long time. I don't know why I've been postponing it for so long (besides the fact that it was stuck in Seth's butt). I really liked it, I guess I just don't have a ton to say. Or maybe I do and I don't know it yet. Let's see!

So, I loved Kelley Armstrong's Darkest Powers trilogy––and if you haven't read them, read those before this one. Darkness Rising is a spin-off of Darkest Powers. As of yet, the two stories aren't directly related, but they share a few of the same characters and there are several references to Darkest Powers in The Gathering. (For example, Liz is briefly in this one, also Dr. Davidoff and the St. Clouds are mentioned, etc. ...)

Now, when I first started reading The Summoning (Darkest Powers #1), I wasn't crazy about it. In fact, I actually disliked it in the beginning. But about halfway through, I got hooked. And then I loved the second and third books. I'm hoping that something similar will happen with Darkness Rising. If I hadn't read Darkest Powers, I would be more skeptical of this series. But now I have faith in Kelley Armstrong to develop an exciting plot and a good romance––and The Gathering is quite a strong beginning; it gives me hope that this series will turn out amazing.

I'm always nervous about spin-offs, because at times it's really just the same story told all over again, but with different characters. This isn't the case with The Gathering. It's a very new and different story from Darkest Powers––with some connections, of course, but it is quite unique as well.

The Gathering takes place in one of them creepy small towns where everyone knows everything about everyone else. Maya, our main character, is an adopted child who knows nothing about her past. The only sign she has is a mysterious birth mark in the shape of a paw print. Hmmmm.

Weird things start happening, as they always do in these situations. Such as, mountain lions start killing people and following Maya around in the forest. And of course, there's a new boy in town––Rafe, whom the town frowns upon and labels a "bad boy", and with whom Maya feels an inexplicable connection. And then there's Daniel, Maya's best friend, who can sense when things are "off" ... or something like that. So, best friend vs. new bad boy! The clichéd love triangle! But oh well, I hope it doesn't get too corny. And at least the characters are compelling enough that I can dismiss the clichéd aspect for now.

Maya is a very likable main character. She is determined and headstrong and kickass. And she has cool powers, which I won't talk about because I don't want to spoil it. But, it's quite cool.

As for the romance, I'm on Team Rafe for now. Daniel is cool and all, just a bit ... dull. I don't even understand why everyone thinks Rafe is a "bad boy" because he doesn't seem all that badass. I guess people just make assumptions because he has a mysterious background and he's Hispanic? Eh, people are racist. Anyway, he's a nice kid. I'm not sure Armstrong can pull off a better romance than the Derek/Chloe one, but we'll seeeee.

There wasn't a whole lot of plot in this book, just a lot of background and buildup of suspense. But I assume all the information was necessary and that a more exciting plot will come out of it. After all, that was the case with Darkest Powers.

Also, the ending was a bit anti-climatic ... *Chucks book across the room* But, oh well. I can't wait to read the next book! *Thumbs up*
Profile Image for Giselle.
1,057 reviews906 followers
March 23, 2016
Maya, an orphan teenager lives happily in the tiny town of Falls, British Columbia. She’s wonderfully happy, but not until tragedy strikes near her heart and she starts to uncover the secrets that her tiny town has kept hidden from the teenagers.

I’m always wary when a cover of a book says “New York Times Best-Selling Author” splashed on the front. I didn’t have to be hesitant at all when reading The Gathering at all. I simply enjoyed the journey that Kelley Armstrong took me. And that is right over to the west coast of Canada.

There is always something more with the secrets that are hidden around the super powers that some of the teens have. And you can’t help but wonder what they are! I certainly tried. There’s an air of mystery and intrigue and a tad bit of romance for Maya and as you read you find yourself lost in her world. (I forgot to eat because I was too preoccupied with this book! I have the pasta stain to prove it!) I love Daniel. He’s just too good and I’m a sucker for the good boys. Rafe on the other hand didn’t make me feel as happy and warm. He hides a lot of things from Maya which I dislike. But as always the girl falls for the bad one. I disliked how Maya denies him in the beginning, then turns right around and falls for him anyway. Knowing full well he’s a player. Talk about hypocritical!

Kelley Armstrong you got yourself a fan for life! And I love that you’re also Canadian.
Profile Image for  Tina (Fantastic Book Review).
402 reviews593 followers
April 11, 2011
The Queen of the Otherworld is back with this exciting new series as Maya tries to uncover the mysteries surrounding her heritage along with the death of a friend. Armstrong introduces us to a new cast of characters and a small town setting on the edge of nowhere, where a medical research facility sets the stage for tons of mystery.

I have to say that I am really fond of the characters in this book. Maya is that girl next door, who you can't help but love. I love her personality and her interactions with her dad, no matter how small, were some of my favorite moments in this book. Rafe, the new resident bad boy made this read all the more tantalizing with his charm and heated scenes with Maya. I also enjoyed getting to know these two as they searched for answers involving the medical facility.

The myths and stories behind the Native's beliefs on supernatural beings were quite intriguing. It's different and seeing Maya's love for animals and nature was a real treat. Some familiar names are mentioned from The Darkest Powers Trilogy, which only increased my anticipation to solve how everyone's tied together. THE GATHERING is a fantastic start to a series that I have a feeling is going to be just as great as The Darkest Powers Trilogy.
Profile Image for Mlpmom (Book Reviewer).
3,001 reviews368 followers
September 16, 2016
3.5 Stars!

I really liked Armstrong's first foray into the YA genre with her Darkest Powers series so when I saw that she had a new one, I knew it was something I really wanted to try and was keeping my fingers crossed that I would like it every bit as much as I did the first series.

This was a fun entertaining read and while it was sometimes formulated and predictable it was still entertaining enough that I wanted to keep turning the pages. There is something to be said about characters and a storyline that are interesting and engaging enough that even if you think you know what is going to happen next, you still want to read on and discover if you are right.

I loved the new take on tribal lore, witches, and shifters and am excited to start book two to see where it will take Maya and her friends next.
Profile Image for Lucy.
102 reviews1,794 followers
May 2, 2011
The thing I loved most about The Gathering was the atmosphere. It was a beautiful, slightly creepy setting to step into. It would have been the perfect story to read on a rainy, dark day. The setting was so vivid I never questioned the images I carried in my head. It was rich without being overwhelming -- and we all know what I mean about overwhelming. There are some authors who would give us a pine tree by pine tree play by play of a haunted woods and think that was the interesting part. I think a lot of budding (and published) writers would do well to read The Gathering and see just how much fun Armstrong had with it. I'd love to know if Armstrong had this creepy little town in the middle of nowhere in mind first or if the supernatural creature was her first thought. I'd love for the paranormal to have evolved from the idea of Salmon Creek and not vice versa.

Before going to bed two days ago I decided to read the opening chapter of a couple of my to-be-read books and decide what I wanted to read first. I cracked The Gathering open, not entirely sure when I had bought it or even where, and began reading. I didn't put it down for two hours.

The opening chapter is a bit of cliche and yet I was hooked. I'm sure when/if you read it you'll think of some half remembered horror movie. I can almost swear there's a season one or two episode of Supernatural that opens very similarly. The main character and her friend are at the lake. Her friend is splashing around, showing off, because she's an experienced swimmer and member of the team. The main character, Maya, is content to sun herself, but strips down after some prompting. While she and her friend are talking the friend vanishes. Maya jumps in and tries to save her friend. She swears she feels something pulling her down, but since her swimming is no great shakes and she's traumatized she spends a lot of time trying to decide if that actually happens. Her friend's body is only found when they drag the lake later.

The story moves a little slowly and with so many interesting things it still devolves into new-boy-in-town-takes-interest-in-girl, which was a little disappointing. I also sense I'm going to be on the wrong side of this love triangle because I'm definitely not Team Rafe. I liked Daniel. He was strong and resilient and cared about Maya. Rafe lied... a lot, but he's a super sexy bad boy so who cares? Me. Sadly, me. I have a feeling these books are going to be very Team Rafe so I guess for the first time I'll understand how Jacob and Gale fans felt. Make room for me on the losers bench, guys. (Yeah, I'm also mildly ashamed to be drawn into another love triangle, pick up a team sign.)

I thought there were a lot of plot elements that would have been better spent evolving over Maya's romance with Rafe. I was interested in her relationship with the forest and the wounded animals she rescues. I was interested in the way she jumped off a two story roof and landed on her feet. I didn't really care that she was running away from Rafe or even that she'd been drugged.

Maya gets roofied at a party. She half-suspects, half-does-not-suspect Rafe. This isn't of any major importance to most of the plot, just in their relationship, but I'm going to bring it up because I think she behaved reasonably for a YA heroine afterward. She made sure she wasn't alone with him until she was more than just guessing he wasn't responsible. She was slightly traumatized by the experience. I didn't like that ultimately another girl did it to her and that the girl accused her of faking it. Yeah, another female character steps in and asks her wtf she just said, but I just wasn't thrilled with the whole thing. It didn't really bring anything to the core story, just add drama to the romantic shenanigans. I guess I'm tired of this mean girl/heroine rivalry where the mean girl is mostly mean for no reason.

Anyway, this book reads like 1/3 of a book, not one part of a trilogy. What's the difference you say? Well, it was like reading part one of a story and approaching the climax just to have it end. Despite really liking the book I think other readers might be better served to wait until all three are out. I was left very frustrated. I definitely wanted more, but instead of anticipating the next year I'm sort of annoyed by it. If I see the second book out and I can refrain from buying it then I'm going to skip until the third is on the shelf.

So slightly cliched, revisiting a lot of the current paranormal YA troupes, and a bit frustrating... but I still enjoyed it more than three stars. Maybe I'll reread and downgrade it later.

Cover art: I thought it was gorgeous until I realized the girl on the cover was supposed to be Native American. Harper, blue-tinting it did not hide the fact that you used a white chick. I don't think anyone's going to raise a riot over the cover being white washed since they blue tinted... oh the irony and shame.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Shera (Book Whispers).
585 reviews285 followers
May 21, 2011
Genre: Paranormal YA (Urban Fantasy)

The Darkest Powers trilogy is one of my favorite paranormal YA series, everything about it is just supper-duper fantastic!! After the first few pages of The Gathering, it was clear that it was no Darkest Powers—by the end I was an embittered fan. After a few weeks it hit me, this was not a continuation of my beloved Darkest Powers, this is a “new world” being introduced. Once the bitterness faded it struck me how striking Armstrong's The Gathering really is.

Maya is one of the best female leads in YA I have read in a very long while. She's bright , sensible, and has one heck of a sense of humor that had me chuckling constantly. It's still evident that she's an adolescent, and she takes responsibility for her flaws and short comings. What was wonderful is that she was not a damsel in distress, Maya could take care of herself—she also knew when she would need to call in the cavalry. The two boys in Maya's life, Daniel and Rafe, both understood and respected her. Even appreciating that she could stand on her own two feet. Daniel is the childhood best friend that has been there since day one and Rafe is the hot new bad boy in town. Both have surprising inner depths and I was just lapping up any details on the two. There are only vague hints at this point of a love triangle, which doesn't worry me as Armstrong has never written a bad love triangle that I've read.

The bulk of the story takes place in a tiny town—population 200 or so—in the middle of a forest with no paved roads leading to it. The place is kept running by a drug research facility. To tempt the scientists into living out in the middle of no where the children are given the best education and health care. Which out shines any thing you'd find in a privileged big city. The story really grows as you get to know the people and the feel of real rural town life. Everyone has a story, no matter if they're the good or bad types.

Armstrong has unmistakably made a new twist on Skinwalkers, weaving Native American myth in to a tale that will win readers over to this new trilogy. Old fans will love the hints to the universe of her other series. Armstrong uses this slower pace to really develop her characters and make her readers more involved. There's a mysterious drowning, shifting, hints at strange new magical beings, genetic mutation crisis's, mysterious fathers, and the required bite-you-nails cliffhanger. Nothing is off limit in this new series, so hold on paranormal fans!!

Sexual Content: There's some heavy make out scenes, sexual humor, some talk about how far Maya's “gone”, and a date-rape drug slipped in.

Rating – 4/5 Great! Really enjoyed it.

Originally posted at Book Whispers.
Profile Image for Jacob Proffitt.
2,937 reviews1,548 followers
October 25, 2015
I enjoyed this a lot. It's a slow build, but I was enjoying Maya, so I didn't mind. Indeed, it was cruising along at a solid four stars until I got annoyed. I'll get to that in a sec.

First, though, I have to say how much I enjoyed Maya. She's strong and determined and very much in her element in a small town in the backwoods. She has good friends and family who love her and a pretty good attitude towards being adopted. She has found her place and knows how much she loves the outdoors and working with the wildlife on the preserve overseen by her father. I particularly liked her friendship with Daniel and how they supported each other unquestioningly.

Those friendships were a big part of what makes this outstanding. In such a constricted circle of acquaintance, it was good to see both the flaws and the strengths as people both found their place and chafed at everybody else knowing where and how each person fit in (or didn't). That kind of long-term familiarity can be constraining, but it can also be comforting and we see both aspects in the story.

So a good setup, strong main character, interesting cast, and a story that built up with a backdrop of normal teen anxiety in a way that felt completely natural and naturally engaging.

Okay, so the thing that drove this down a whole star for me was how after Maya found out her true heritage (yeah, like that's a spoiler), Armstrong stepped in multiple times to ensure she didn't talk to anybody but her original source of information. She has a strong relationship with her parents and an outstanding relationship with Daniel and I just found it extremely out of character that Maya wouldn't find the time/place to discuss what she had learned with people she clearly loves and trusts. Worse, she actually starts the conversation twice with Daniel only to have "circumstances" (i.e. the author) interrupt. It was cheap and frustrating and so very amateur that it surprised me coming from Armstrong (who isn't usually so clumsy).

Anyway, it was solid good fun and an interesting setup. In the end, I felt it was just (or mostly just) setup, however, and can't quite bring myself higher than the three stars. Still good read, though, and I look forward to the next.
Profile Image for Erica.
721 reviews199 followers
June 18, 2019
The Gathering is an enjoyable read - I loved the setting, the magic, and the First Nations rep. I hate myself for thinking this, but the Pacific Northwest setting reminded me of Forks, WA, of Twilight fame (even though The Gathering is set in Vancouver Island, Canada... close enough, right?).

I picked up this book because I was under the impression it's about shapeshifters. And it is, kind of. The fantasy/magic element of this book features skinwalkers, which are allegedly sourced from Native American (I think Armstrong cited Navajo) mythology. I was here to read about skinwalkers, but it's interesting to me that Armstrong chose to write about Navajo mythology. Maya is supposedly Navajo, which her adopted mom somehow decided (I can't remember - did Maya "look" Navajo or something? That's problematic), but the story is set in Canada, and Maya's mom is Haida, a First Nations tribe... it's just strange that a Canadian author would feature some First Nations rep but then use Navajo mythology. I think at some point she does say skinwalker mythology is decidedly Native American, but surely a First Nations tribe has a similar mythology. But whatever.

So that was a tangent. Anyway, we have skinwalkers in this world but we don't actually get to see much skinwalking, which was profoundly disappointing to me since I picked up the book in the first place to read about some animal transformation. I get that Armstrong wants us to keep reading the rest of the series, but I wanted more shapeshifting, and I think it would be more effective to get readers hooked on the series by showing it to us instead of just teasing it.

The characters and plot are standard YA magic/paranormal issue. Other than the setting and the skinwalkers, there isn't much about this book to make it stand out. I'm giving it 3 stars, which is my default rating, because it's fine - I enjoyed the reading experience, which is all I really want from YA lit. And I do think it might impress young readers who are being introduced to the YA fantasy genre.

Overall, I wouldn't go out of my way to recommend this book, but it's a fun, quick read, and I'll be checking out the second book in the series.
Profile Image for Alyssa.
632 reviews595 followers
November 1, 2015
I really love Kelley Armstrong’s novels, especially the Darkest Powers trilogy, because they have a young adult plot with substance. By this I mean they actually have a solid mystery and background and originality behind what would otherwise be a typical young adult book. I pretty much only picked this up because of my faith in Kelley Armstrong’s writing.

Unfortunately, this “substance” doesn’t kick in until what is pretty much the end of the novel. There was a little too much focus on romance and not enough focus on other things that would have made it more entertaining. I did not like how Maya reacts when she finds out what she is, it’s like somebody just told her, “You are wearing a blue shirt today.” She accepts it and doesn’t even really question it.

I did, however, like the way it was written. The details are descriptive enough where you can imagine Maya’s world and the way she feels. Something I absolutely loved-and wish we had seen more of-is Maya’s interaction with her parents. I loved their family dynamic and how close you could tell they are.

I appreciated that Maya was a strong heroine, she could take care of herself and even saved the males in this novel on account. She didn’t just sit there and wait for someone to rescue her. I enjoyed reading about her interaction with animals as well.

If you like Kelley Armstrong, I’d give this one a shot!
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