The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong

9:00 AM

Title: The Gathering (Darkness Rising #1)
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Release Date: April 5, 2011 (hardcover)
Publisher: Doubleday Canada
Pages: 368
Source: ARC provided by publisher through Bookurious

Overall: 5 Stars

Maya lives in a small medical-research town on Vancouver Island. How small? You can’t find it on the map. It has less than two-hundred people, and her school has only sixty-eight students—for every grade from kindergarten to twelve.

Now, strange things are happening in this claustrophobic town, and Maya's determined to get to the bottom of them. First, the captain of the swim team drowns mysteriously in the middle of a calm lake. A year later, mountain lions start appearing around Maya's home, and they won’t go away. Her best friend, Daniel, starts getting negative vibes from certain people and things. 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.

My Thoughts:
After absolutely loving Kelley Armstrong's Darkest Powers trilogy, I might have set some very high expectations for The Gathering.. but oh my goodness, I shouldn't have had any doubts because the novel surpassed them all! I devoured the novel, captivated by the beautiful, lush forest setting described and utterly fascinated by a story that hooked me right from the prologue. The Gathering also gets bonus points just for being set on Vancouver Island, British Columbia because it's so cool to see a novel set in Canada!

The town of Salmon Creek is not your ordinary one. Owned by the St. Cloud Corporation and completely surrounded by forest, it was built for their employees who worked in the medical research facility. With less than 200 inhabitants, it's a town where everyone knows everyone. But strange, dark events are occurring that have never happened before and Maya is determined to learn the truth. Her best friend Serena drowned the year before but Maya's still not convinced it was an accident like it was ruled... and now her childhood friend Daniel is starting to feel weird vibes from people. And then there's bad boy Rafe, a recent newcomer to town who may just provide some surprising answers to Maya's own mysterious past. Maya's only sure of one thing: Salmon Creek is a town with secrets.   

Maya is a fantastic heroine. She's strong, bold, confidant... and not afraid to take charge of the situation! It was heartbreaking to see Maya still struggling over the loss of her best friend, but we see how she's determined to move forward with her life. Her love of nature is infectious, and the compassion and joy she feels in helping rescued wild animals from the forest is so very apparent. Her Native heritage and the fact that she's never known her birth parents definitely add another touch of intrigue to the mix as we wish to learn more about her past just as much as she does. 

And regarding the boys, there isn't a love triangle but I can definitely see it possibly happening somewhere down the line which makes my kind of nervous... but only because I don't think I'll be able to choose between Rafe and Daniel! Both boys have their qualities that make them swoon-worthy so I think it's ultimately going to come down to a case of bad-boy vs. best friend.

True to fashion for Kelley's YA novels, the ending of The Gathering will leave you dearly wishing the next novel was already out in stores! I turned the final pages of the novel with trepidation just knowing that I was almost finished the novel and would only have a long wait in store for the second book! I can't wait to learn what's going to happen next to Maya, Rafe, Daniel and everyone else! 

And you know what? I have every confidence that the Darkness Rising trilogy is one that's only going to get spectacularly better and better as it progresses. Don't think of The Gathering as a first novel in a trilogy... think of it as the beginning chapter in a new adventure that will sweep readers off their feet!

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  1. I really hate cliffhanger type endings, but I know I'm going to pick this one up sooner rather than later. I've been so interested ever since I first heard about the premise and the setting. Yay for Canadian books!

  2. I'm starting The Gathering next so I'm happy to see that you gave it such a high rating.

  3. Thanks for the awesome review! I'm so glad you liked it!!
    I can't wait to get my paws on it myself!

  4. I can't wait to read this one! New follower!

    -Amanda P

  5. I just finished The Gathering. OMG! Loved it! Maya has become one of my favourite heroines. And usually I go for the best friend but I just can't choose between Daniel and Rafe! That ending was just wow. Waiting is going to be soo hard!

  6. i loved the book it was so... good cant wait for the next and hope it comes soon bcz i can wait. the story was good but she really left the end really loose and so u don't know whats going to happen next. i read a little from the next book like the overview and they got in a helicopter crash and im just so... excited now even more. !!cant wait!!!

  7. This sounds awesome! Definitely one that will land on my to-be read list!!