The Gathering (Darkness Rising #1) by Kelly Armstrong
Hardcover, 359 pgs.
Published: April 12, 2011 by Harper
Reading Level: Young Adult
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.
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've felt myself avoiding more paranormal type books in YA, they tend to not feel so original anymore and common themes are getting old. There are still a lot of good ones though, it's just more hit and miss. This one was a hit! I loved it!
I loved Maya. I found her personality refreshing. She was pretty blunt and outspoken but she wasn't rude or obnoxious in any way. She was thoughtful and kind and had an awesome relationship with her parents. She almost seemed too perfect in the beginning, but later we saw more of her flaws. But those few flaws are what made her more real for me.
All the other characters were great as well, from her friend Daniel who could 'sense' things, to the cute Rafe who Maya might just like as more than a friend, to the other kids in the town (very teeny town) that had their own little roles, they were all terrific. Oh, and I loved that Maya had parents that worried about her and were there. Maya had some great banter with them and I really liked their part in the book.
The setting of the book definitely brought it up another notch for me. Vancouver Island is GORGEOUS and it actually played a large part in the book. Just the forest and wildlife around. While some might not think it's a big deal, the setting really plays a big part for me and this setting was idea, and fit the story perfect.
While I had somewhat of an idea of the paranormal aspect of the book I didn't really know much and found myself guessing through the whole book about what might be going on. It was kind of an awesome mystery. By the end we've got some answers, but plenty more left to be answered in the next books.
This is an awesome start to a series and I highly recommend you to pick it up!
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