Sunday, July 15, 2012

Review: The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong

The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong
My rating: 4 of 5 genies
Genre: YA, Urban Fantasy, Shapeshifters, Romance, Action
Published: April 12, 2011
Pages: 359
Publisher: Harper (HarperCollins), New York
Source: Library Loan
Format: Hardcover
Purchase At: or

Goodreads Summary

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.

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.

My Thoughts

This book makes me proud to be Canadian. Not only is it written by Canadian author, Ms. Kelley Armstrong, but the depiction of the actual country is unlike any I have seen to date. When people think of Canada, it is a given that certain stereotypes come to mind. Some being:

- The Toques. These frozen ice-people cannot go anywhere without them. Are we even sure that those babies aren't staple-glued on at the time of birth? Every Canadian owns one.

- The Beer! Canadians are supposedly so drunk that this sentence will be left unfinished, I am too drunk at present to write.

- HOCKEY. Give one of them, Canadians, a hockey stick and they will love you forever. We live and breathe hockey, hockey on the weekdays and weekends. Yes, baby, all the time!!

- Next: with "Eh"? being the most 'supposed' commonly used word, there really isn't much to add. Our conversations are stilted as we drizzle maple syrup on everything. Except hockey sticks; that would be blasphemous.

And to all those pre-assumptions, I answer with this:

Tell it, Joe!


What I'm getting at here is that The Gathering very much so featured a Canadian setting but without its many stereotypes. Maybe this is because the author has first-hand knowledge of the place, but it was a welcomed relief to read about Canada in the summer/fall not winter, and hockey wasn't mentioned not once! Yay for miracles. This book as I discovered, is the gift that keeps on giving. Not only is the setting very appropriate, but its characters are wonderful. By all means there should have been a love triangle in this book; any other author would have set it up as one. I mean, the childhood friend vs. the edgy new bad boy, who wouldn't pay money to read that? Not to say that some wouldn't love this I wouldn't, but Armstrong takes a very different route in that Daniel's role seems very much solidified. I cannot imagine him as anything other than Maya's rock, that is who he is throughout the book and never once does he abandon the position. He's there, and because Ms. Armstrong is so confident of him - as well as her other characters - the book feels complete.

That said, there were a ton of weird things going on in this book, and I loved it. I kept flipping the pages because they felt so light. The story wasn't told on one page, but on very many and I needed to read all of it! There are some books which cannot boast this much, but The Gathering is not one of them and it can.

Setting was brilliant and the plot such an adventure. Maya makes for the perfect protagonist. I like her sense of intuition and love that she doesn't sit around for chapters contemplating but acts whenever necessary; this is a very mature character, her attitude towards relationships as well as everything else is to be admired, Maya feels so much wiser than a 16 year old.

The only grievance, I think, would have to be with Raffe, and just because I felt that in this glittering package of fullness he was the least complete. I didn't know him. The desire to know him was there, but his character felt in many ways a cliché at times; the bad boy who keeps secrets stuffed away like some addiction, the past which still haunts him... I've been there before. He needed something extra, and near the end it seemed as though he would deliver, but somehow he failed to. This is why I need the second book, The Calling, I really need to see him grow.

The sequence of events are high-action and packed with flourishing detail, and this book is a great addition to the Shapeshiter/YA Paranormal genre. The pacing is fast and the mystery within its pages will keep you reading for hours on end.

A solid 4 genies. It was a solid read and I recommend it to fans of Kelley Armstrong as well as newcomers. This was my very first book of hers and it is certainly not going to be the last!

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Going by FTC guidelines, allow me to point out that all the novels reviewed on this blog were either bought by me, or given by an author or publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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