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 anatom - her paw-print birthmark.
©2011 KLA Fricke Inc (P)2011 HarperCollins Publishers
Stories, even if they are a part of a series, have certain structural components that identify them as COMPLETE stories. It's OK to leave a few strings dangling that tie the book to the next, but this thing practically ends in the middle of a sentence. Nothing, not one single thread gets resolved. In retrospect, there isn't even a single character that gets fully developed.
I liked the read and the story right up to the end when I realized that I had been sold a book that was incomplete. You don't create a trilogy by taking a book and indiscriminately ripping it into three parts.
I enjoyed this book and liked getting to know the characters, but it's obviously the beginning of a series. We are given lots of mysteries (like, how did Maya's best friend really die? What's the mystery the medical testing facility is hiding? Why are the high schoolers being investigated? etc.) There's also lots of intriguing information given about the characters and a good build-up of romantic tension between Maya, her best friend, and the new bad boy, but there's absolutely no resolution to any of the questions posed in this book - only further mysteries and questions. I'm with the other reviewer. It's probably best to wait until the other books are out so you can get some answers.
First, context. I'm a fan of Kelley Armstrong's adult Otherworld books. I enjoyed Armstrong's first three books in the Darkest Powers series, although I found many of the characters irritating. They were almost caricatures in many cases. Just a little too goody two-shoes too, in many cases.
Now for the Gathering, which is the first book in the Darkness Rising trilogy. The narrator is great. I liked the characters in this book a great deal more than in Darkest Powers. They feel more realistic to me. This may be related to their age -- Darkest Powers are 9th grade students, or thereabouts, whereas Rising students are more like 11th grade. Certainly, the relationships are more sexually mature. Sure, all there's been is making out clothed lying down, but there's a lot less blushing and hand holding, and when the main couple make out, there's some real passion.
However, the plot moves very slowly, and the book ends on a cliffhanger with nothing resolved. I don't know when the next book is scheduled to come out. But my recommendation is to seriously consider waiting until you can read the entire trilogy.
On the other hand, I expect that with its slow start, this is one of those series that will be getting better as it goes on, and I'm looking forward to that happening.
The new characters that Armstrong introduces into the Darkest Powers world/series are far more grown up then the previous foursome. The group of teens in Armstrongs latest series delve into more makeout sessions and drinking parties that I am not sure the Chloe, Derek set from the first trilogy would have even contemplated. Unlike the previous group, which we (and Chloe) all met in the middle of a mental institution, this group of teens has known eachother for years, and allows us to experience their "normal" lives more then the previous bunch.
I was immediately drawn in to this novel with Maya Delany's strong voice and character. The setting of Salmon Creek is a richly drawn, and the feeling of the remote, small town was strong. The love-triangle in the book does not feel forced, as many do in young adult novels. In fact, the relationships that Maya has with all the townspeople (and animals in the forest) felt remarkably realistic.
Armstrong throws in hints about the Edison Group, the St. Cloud corporation and Lyle House/Samuel Lyle throughout the book - allowing the readers of the previous trilogy to know and understand the consequences of the medical research facility far before our main characters (who actually end the book still seemingly unaware).
While I was initially hesitant to begin this new trilogy, with new characters, after enjoying the first trilogy in this series so much; it did not take long for me to get sucked into the new storyline. I cannot wait to listen to The Calling, and am hoping that I will be able to withstand the wait that will come to hear the last of this series.
In my oppinion if the narrator does not rock the entire book is ruined. The narrator of this story Jennifer Ikeda, individualizes the characters very well and her voice is enjoyable to listen to. I have read many Kelley Armstrong ebooks and have enjoyed both her writing style and storylines. This is one of her young adult science fiction series and initially I had no interest in reading it but when it went on sale on Audible I thought I'd give it a shot. I'm glad I did. I just recently purchased the second audio book in the series and I think many people will like this series.
Daniel her BFF. I think he will have an interesting story of his own.
Maya, because Jennifer made her a real personality. Someone you'd like to hang with. Even though she had flaws, when she realized it she tried to make herself better.
No, it wasn't a tearjerker nor exceptionally comedic. More of a mystery, suspense, what the heck is going on in this town kind of vibe.
I look forward to listening to more of this series.
I enjoyed the narrator. Male and female characters sounded believable and I always knew which character was speaking. (In truth, she probably deserves 5 stars --- but I just finished listening to a story in which the narrator that was so crazy good that everything is paling in comparison at the moment.)
The storyline/ premise was interesting and I want to keep on with the story. Here's the thing though..... BIG WARNING.... if you do not enjoy cliff hanger endings then do NOT get this book. (Or wait until the entire series is out?) I do have the next book in the series and will be listening to it directly after finishing this review. (And with my luck, it will end suddenly, too.)
The characters are endearing enough that I want to continue with the series; however, the story ends abruptly enough that it is somewhat annoying. I don't always mind a cliffhanger ending, but I prefer books in a series to have a full story in that book and then have a larger series arc. This is not the case with this book. It VERY much reads like part I / too be continued.
* Also, I am HUGELY grateful that I didn't read the snippet about the book before listening to this story as it tells far too much. (Like when a movie is ruined because all the best parts are shown in the trailer.)
Having said all that.... It is a decent story (the part of it told in this book anyway) and I like the characters enough to continue with the series to see what happens next & to learn if more of my hunches turn out correctly. (:
To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.
This could have been a 5 star book easily if just one of the plot lines had been resolved. I was left frustrated. What happened to Annie? Was that Maya's twin brother, if so how did he know she was out there trying to escape from the fire? Who set the fire and why? What was going on in the medical lab? Who killed Mina and why? Who/What is the Cabal? Why all the interest in the children? Is Sam a killer? Did she off Serena? Did she kill her parents? How does Rafe know so much about Maya's history? Geezzz I could go on and on. I really liked the book, it is a good beginning to a series. But please solve something at least. Now on to download the next book.
Jennifer Ikeda is a great narrator. If you want to hear more of her work check out "A Discovery of Witches," she did an excellent job with that one also.
The story is much more intricate than most books in this genre. Its well thought out and I really enjoyed listening. It isn't going to stretch and expand your mind but it is incredibly fun.
I was really enjoying this story in the beginning and throughout the book. . .until the last few chapters. The characters are interesting and there are a lot of mysteries that are explored, BUT, as another reviewer mentioned, you get absolutely NO resolution to anything in the end. The end is very much a cliffhanger, but in an annoying way. This was very obviously done to entice readers into reading the next book in the series. And honestly, I do like the characters and the storyline enough that I probably will read the next one. However, I just really wish this book had not ended so abruptly.
My recommendation of this book depends on how the next book in the series turns out. . .I like the story and the characters and I think this author is developing a unique take on a rather played out idea. Although this book is marketed to teens-- and there are some scenarios in the book that are very much reminiscent of high school-- much of the story is intelligently written and I enjoyed listening to it as an adult. However, I cannot recommend this as a stand alone read because it just leaves too many things hanging. If the next book in the series proves to be more satisfying, then I would recommend this one with a caveat that the ending is not what you anticipate. . . we shall see. . .
I enjoyed the narration and thought Jennifer did an excellent job portraying all of the teenage characters. I could easily imagine her voice coming from the main character Maya-- much better than some books when the narrator does not sound at all how you would think the characters should sound.
This is a great story and held my attention right up until the end. Then it ended in the middle of the story. I read a lot of series and I was glad that The Gathering is intended to be the first book of a series. The other series that I have read come to a conclusion at the end of each book but still leave something to entice the reader to go to the next in the series. This one just stopped at a point that felt like it was the middle of the story. Very little was really resolved but a lot of questions were left. I wish the next in the series was released.
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