Monday, March 21, 2011

Review: The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong



Book: The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong
Stand-Alone or Series: Series, Darkness Rising #1
Pages: 400
Genre: Young Adult / Urban Fantasy
Purchase A Copy: Amazon | Book Depository
Publication Date: April 12th, 2011
How Did I Get This Book: ARC Tour
Description: Strange things are happening in Maya's tiny Vancouver Island town. First, her friend Serena, the captain of the swim team, drowns mysteriously in the middle of a calm lake. Then, one year later, mountain lions are spotted rather frequently around Maya's home—and her reactions to them are somewhat . . . unexpected. Her best friend, Daniel, has also been experiencing unexplainable premonitions about certain people and situations. It doesn't help that the new bad boy in town, Rafe, has a dangerous secret, and he's interested in one special part of Maya's anatomy—her paw-print birthmark.

I had been eagerly anticipating The Gathering since I heard Armstrong was writing it. The Darkest Powers trilogy is one of my favorite series and I was so excited at the prospect of a spin-off series. However, unfortunately for me, this new addition was overshadowed by The Darkest Powers Trilogy. In a spin off sort of situation, it is hard not to compare books to the original and sadly, The Gathering did not live up to the original trilogy.




Lets begin with the good things, shall we? As always, Armstrong does a marvelous job with the characters. My personal favorite is Daniel. While we don’t know what kind of supernatural he is yet, he is a card-carrying member of the overprotective club. He doesn’t act irrationally though; he is usually in control of his emotions. I am also excited that a new type of supernatural has been added into the mix – a skin walker (ala Mercy Thompson). It’s a departure from the traditional werewolf book, which is always exciting. I also LOVE Armstrong’s writing style. Everything flows beautifully and the dialog is always so realistic. She has a remarkable talent when it comes to creating characters – they always seem to jump right off the page.
  
I did have a difficult time connecting to the heroine, though. Maya just didn't hold that spark for me; she didn't stand out on the sea of YA supernatural heroines. Again, I hate to do it, but I cannot help but compare her to her Darkest Powers counterpart, Chloe. I could read about Chloe for ages and Maya is just sort of bland in comparison. I am excited to see the series crossover, but when I saw Kelley at a book signing she said that wouldn’t happen for quite a while (book 3 at the earliest, if I remember correctly).

Another issue I had with this book was the pacing. The book really dragged for me - hardly anything happened for the entire book. There was a lot of plot setup for the following books. I think that my issues with the book pacing may be because I have read the Darkest Powers Trilogy. Because the story takes place in the same world as in the DP trilogy; the bad guys are the same. Therefore, the time that is spent in the book discussing what is really happening in Salmon Creek is a bit boring, because I already knew. Its no mystery for the old readers and that takes away some of the magic of the book. While the characters are busy speculating and pointing fingers, the readers who are familiar with the story are ten steps ahead of them. 


I really, really wanted to love this book. I adore practically everything Kelley writes and I am a huge fan of the Darkest Powers trilogy. That being said, The Gathering was a bit of a let down. I cannot help but compare it to The Summoning; and it simply does not live up to it. The Gathering is missing all of the excitement that normally comes in an Armstrong book - the majority of this book was built-up. I understand that you need to develop a world, but for readers of original series, this provides for a very tedious storyline.
Favorite Quote
"He looked at me, startled, and what I saw in his eyes was so raw that my breath caught and all I could do was sit there, staring at him, that weird floating feeling trickling through my veins."

3 comments:

Bibliotropic said...

I'm really looking forward to getting to read this one. I loved the other books in the series, and I'm hoping I enjoy this one just as much.

Amy @ www.bookgoonie.com said...

hmmm...love Kelley Armstrong. The Summoning I thought was ok kind of a 3 for me. The way it ended kind of upped the anti, but I just haven't picked up the rest of the series. Interesting....about The Gathering. Thanks for the review.

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