Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Book Review: The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong

Title: The Gathering
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Reading Level: Young Adult
Publisher: Harper
Hardcover, 359 pages
Date Published: April 12, 2011
Description (Taken from Goodreads):
Sixteen-year-old Maya is just an ordinary teen in an ordinary town. Sure, she doesn't know much about her background - the only thing she really has to cling to is an odd paw-print birthmark on her hip - but she never really put much thought into who her parents were or how she ended up with her adopted parents in this tiny medical-research community on Vancouver Island.

Until now.

Strange things have been happening in this claustrophobic town - from the mountain lions that have been approaching Maya to her best friend's hidden talent for "feeling" out people and situations, to the 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.
The Gathering is the first Kelley Armstrong book that I’ve ever read. Shocker, right? Well I need to change that now because this book is fantastic. It starts off with a bang and even though it’s not filled with constant action, everything about it is engaging. Maya is my kind of girl too, which made me never want to put the book down. She’s strong and capable of handling tough situations – trust me, plenty arise. She has a good relationship with her parents and even cracks sex jokes around her dad. It’s very hard to dislike Maya because she leaves it all on the table. With her, what you see is what you get and I appreciate that honesty.

Maya’s best friend Daniel is a very lust-worthy package too. Not only is he tall, muscly, and gorgeous, but he’s sweet. He and Maya have a very playful banter throughout the book and one of the strongest friendships I’ve ever read.

The new guy Rafe, on the other hand, is much more mysterious. It’s hard to get a read on him, which is exactly the point. Sometimes I really, really liked him, but other times I wanted to punch him in the face. He’s got that sexy bad boy thing going for him, but it also works against. Bad boys can only be sexy for so long before they become a lost cause, right?

The mystery in The Gathering builds up nicely, allowing the reader glimpses into what may be going on, but never saying it outright. Unfortunately, I had the big parts figured out right from the beginning. Kelley Armstrong’s pacing and slow reveals kept me glued to the page though. I could not put the book down because I had to be certain what was going to happen. And I had plenty of surprises too. I loved the way certain things unfolded and how certain things were revealed, so if my extreme vagueness is bothering, sorry, but I’m not giving anything away. You’ll have to pick up the book to find out what happens.

The Gathering is a fast-paced, entertaining, and wildly descriptive start to what is sure to be an addicting trilogy. I’m more than a little eager for the next installment, since Armstrong left us with some answers, but even more questions. Be warned though, the ending is very cliffhanger-ish. Not, ‘oh my, what is going to happen next’ cliffhanger, but more, ‘how in the world could it just end like that! I need more! Please tell me what happens!’ cliffhanger-ish. Obviously, I’ll be reading the next one.

Opening line: Serena stood on the rock ledge twenty feet above the lake, singing in a voice known to bring tears to the eyes of everyone who heard it. ~ pg. 1

Favorite lines/passages:
“This is so cool,” I said loudly as Dad walked away.
“Have you met the tattoo artist? Is he hot?”
“He’s a she,” Mom said.
“Is she hot? Cause I’m still young, you know. My sexual identity isn’t fully formed.” ~ pg. 37
*This review is my honest opinion and I received no monetary compensation from it.

Find Kelley Armstrong online:

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Alyssa@Teens Read and Write said...

I liked Maya too. She's fun! You should check out the Darkest Powers series. It's even better than this one!

Teens Read and Write

~The Book Pixie said...

Yes those kind of cliffhangers can be both great and awful at the same time, I've discovered. Really wanna read this one and her Darkest Powers books. Thanks for the review and so glad you liked it! :D


Candace said...

I borrowed this one from Angela and your review has me more anxious to read it. Hopefully I can read it soon cause Maya sounds AWESOME! Characters can really make a story awesome and this sounds like one that the characters are definitely a strong point.
Yay that you loved it!

Brodie said...

Ahhh, I am so bumping this up on my to-read list!! I haven't read any of Kelley's books before either and I was too sure if I could read this without having read the Darkest Powers series. Cause isn't this a spin off? But since you seemed okay with it, I guess it'll be fine. The cliffhanger part kinda scares me, but your enthusiasm and the awesome quote has me sold. Fantastic review!

Jinny ( said...

Definitely have to grab myself a copy of this. I saw it at Wal-Mart and thought about it, but after hearing so many good reviews about it, I think I have to give this a try! :)

Lori said...

I love Kelley Armstrong so much! While you are waiting on the next book you should read the Darkest Powers trilogy! The are action packed and addicting!

Bere said...

Ahhhh, fantastic review, Nikki! I'm so glad to hear you enjoyed this one. I loved it. I loved Maya and Daniel too. I also loved Kelley's Darkest Powers trilogy which you definitely need to read. Like soon! I just bought a couple of Kelley's adult books which I can't wait to start reading. She's become one of my favorites. =]

Nikki (Wicked Awesome Books) said...

Alyssa - I'm looking up the Darkest Powers series right now!

Book Pixie - Sometimes cliffhangers are great because they make you desperate for the next one, but this one just kind of made me a feel cheated. Like I spent all that time reading only to be left like 0_o. I NEED to see where everything goes though, so I'll be reading the next one (and the one after that, I'm sure).

Candace - Maya did make the story that much stronger and I have a feeling you'll like her. It's a fairly quick read, so maybe you can sneak it in during the read-a-thon?

Brodie - As far as I know this is a completely different series. If it's part of the same world, you definitely do NOT need to read the Darkest Powers series first because I was fine reading this one. Hope you get a chance to read it too.

Jinny - Honestly, I'm not a fan of the cover, but all the good reviews persuaded me to move past the cover. I know I shouldn't judge a book by its cover to begin with, but I gravitate towards book covers I like, no matter how hard I try to be open to everything. You should head back to Wally World though and grab The Gathering. It's well worth it.

Lori - Everyone keeps telling me to read the Darkest Powers trilogy, so I guess I'm going to have to pick it up now!

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