Review : The Gathering

The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong
Pages : 359
Genre : YA, Urban Fantasy
Series : Darkness Rising (Book 1)
My Rating :

What it’s about :

Maya grew up in Salmon Creek, a small Canadian town of less than 200 inhabitants, built by a top-secret medical research facility for its employees. Despite the rules and the size of her town, Maya never felt bored or out of place : she loves spending her days outside, in the forest, and helping her father take care of the animals they rescue.

Then things start to happen : a journalist investigates Maya and her friends’ life. Cougars are being more present around her house. Bodies are found. And Maya is about to discover that she is far from knowing everything there is to know about her town, or herself.

My Thoughts :

I had way more fun reading this book than I normally would have, I think, because it doesn’t follow the typical formula I’ve seen around a lot in YA novels – a formula I tend to avoid more and more. When I turned the last page, I would easily had given it a 5 starts rating and pleaded for the next book. A few days later, my enthusiasm has cooled down a bit, and I am able to see The Gathering for what it is for me : a strong, entertaining YA novel that I would select as a favorite of mine in the urban fantasy genre.

Some of the things that I loved in this book, and that felt really different from the typical formula I was talking about :

  1. There is no love triangle. Or maybe there is. It’s not clear. Maya does fall in love (kinda) with Rafe, but her best friend is also a guy. It didn’t seem the author planned on making Maya and Daniel (her best friend) an item, but if it went there in the next novel, it would be believable. For now though, there’s only one guy in her heart, and believe me, that’s enough!
  2. Her parents are involved in her life. They are present in the book, they take care of her like parents should. And she still gets to live her own life and do her own things.
  3. It’s not love at first sight. It may be attraction at first sight between Rafe and Maya, but love takes a little more time.
  4. Maya doesn’t rely on others constantly. She takes action and she’s confident in her abilities. She’s also able to ask for help when she needs it, but I love that she wasn’t just an observer or a victim of the things happening around her.

It’s clear that I was immensely entertained by Armstrong’s story. Add all this to a terrific outdoors setting and I just loved this book! While reading it, all I wanted to do was to go out in the nature but, alas, all around me there’s only the city.

For me, all of these aspects made The Gathering one of the most realistic books despite its fantasy aspect. It’s also one of the best books of the genre I have read in 2011. Of course, if you love the romance with love at first sight and love triangles, you might find this book to be missing a little something. But if you want friendships and nature and adventure with a strong main character, this might be the book you are looking for.

Series Reading Order :

  1. The Gathering
  2. The Calling (coming 2012)
  3. The Rising (coming 2013)

The Darkness Rising series evolves in the same universe as the author’s previous series, The Darkest Powers. Though it is not required to have read this previous trilogy to enjoy or understand The Gathering, they are fun books I recommend if you appreciate Armstrong’s writing :

The Darkest Powers – Series Reading Order

  1. The Summoning
  2. The Awakening
  3. The Reckoning

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7 responses to “Review : The Gathering”

  1. Juju at Tales of Whimsy... says :

    Oh wow. This sounds really really good. I love that you had to let the love and book settle in to get your true feeling for it. Great review.

  2. Kailana says :

    I am looking forward to reading this, but I haven’t read it yet.

  3. Jennifer says :

    I love books that break the prescribed molds of the genre to which they subscribe. And this book sounds really great! The characters sound well developed and the love story sounds deep, complex, and believable. This sounds like a breath of fresh air in a genre that needed some change.

  4. Ceri says :

    Love Kelley Armstrong. This sounds like another winner from her. 😀

  5. asphyxiatedonreality says :

    Frankly, I think that the other kelly armstrong series, the Dark Powers one is wary better than this. It’s beginning to be a little draggy, and we’re only on the first book if this new series. Not one of my favorites.

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