THE GATHERING – Kelley Armstrong

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An ordinary town…
full of deadly secrets

Strange things have been happening in sixteen-year-old Maya’s small Vancouver Island community – from the mountain lions that have been constantly approaching her to her best friend’s hidden talent for “feeling” out people and situations. There’s also a 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. – Goodreads description


This is my type of YA supernatural thriller. Armstrong did an excellent job of setting the scene, placing the reader in the story and developing the characters before jumping into anything else. I feel that this is important if the characters in the story don’t know about whatever supernatural phenomena the author is going to throw at them. Knowing them pre-weirdness helps the transition feel smooth and helps the reader step into the narrator’s head. 

Of course, this alone isn’t enough. The character also has to be well-written – which Maya is. So are her friends and family. You get to know her, feel her connection to the forest and animals she loves. You also get a sense of a strong home life and parental presence, something else that is often conveniently skipped over in YA novels. Her relationship with her childhood friend Daniel is sweet and I love that she resists the urge to turn it into a love triangle (at least so far) and just lets them be friends. 

I have to admit that one of the things I loved most about this book, however, was the setting. For those of you who don’t know, I grew up in the part of the world where this is set. I lived probably an hour’s drive from this fictional town, and I have probably spent some time in her forest. So it’s possible that’s part of why the setting worked so well for me – because I know it well. But I don’t think that’s all it is. I think it just is that well-written.

The story itself is full of suspense, but also unravels itself slowly enough to allow for details and relationships, as mentioned above. There’s plenty of hair-raising action, though – encounters with dangerous wild animals, mysterious strangers poking around, odd messages leading to clues, major revelations about Maya’s past – and, of course, some teen love drama. There is only one supernatural element (not telling what in the interest of avoiding spoilers) that’s overtly addressed, which I also liked. She didn’t try to throw every type of popular teen supernatural fad at this book, she picked one, and she dealt with it carefully. 

The book ends on a cliffhanger, and I can’t wait to get my hands on the next book! This is definitely an easy read, but entertaining, and a great start to a trilogy. I’ll be reading the other two books (The Calling and The Rising) just as soon as I can get my eager little hands on them! This is the first of Armstrong’s books I’ve read, but based on this I think I’ll be exploring some of her other series.


Book Title: The Gathering
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Series: Darkness Rising Trilogy #1
Edition: Paperback
Published By: Harper
Released: April 10, 2012
Genre: Fiction, Young Adult, Supernatural
Pages: 359
Date Read: January 5, 2014
Rating: 8/10

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