Kelley Armstrong is a big deal in the book world. Her Women of the Otherworld series are international success. Her first YA trilogy – Darkest Powers – became another international success, selling over 70,000 copies in the UK alone. With all her books, she has sold over 650,000 copies of her novels in the UK alone (which averages to around 600 copies being sold A MONTH!) and when she toured the UK for the first time last year, fans travelled as far as Germany to meet her (thank you to whoever wrote the Press Release at Atom Books HQ for all that info!).
So, yeah. She's a big deal in the world of fantasy books. And I have never read her before. I have heard of her but have never read her. PLEASE DON'T HURT ME!
So, when the lovely people at Atom Books HQ sent me The Gathering, the first book in her new YA trilogy – Darkness Rising – I got quite excited.
So, The Gathering. The main character, Maya, has always had a close bond with nature for as long as she can remember. And living in the tiny town of Salmon Creek, with a population of around 200 people, it's no wonder. But things are happening in this medical-research town. Last year, Maya's friend and captain of the swim team mysteriously drowned in calm lake. And now, cougars (aka mountain lions) are appearing round Maya's house and aren't leaving. Maya's best friend, Daniel, has started to get “bad vibes” about certain people. This includes the new bad boy, Rafe, who seems suddenly interested in Maya. Why? Does it have something to do with Maya's paw-shaped birthmark?
I quite liked this book. I fell into the book's pace and slowly discovering the mystery behind Maya's past and, like most dystopian novels at the moment, revealing that not all is well in Salmon Creek. You being to, like Maya and Daniel, slowly distrust and question people's reactions. Why did so-and-so react that way in that situation? Is that person's loyalty true? Did he really do that to Maya and, if he didn't, who did? It slowly engulfs you so, by the time you get to the end of the book and it ends the way it did, you want book two in the trilogy.
But there were faults with the book. The Gathering suffers from “First Book In A Trilogy” syndrome where it asked more questions than answered so you might get annoyed and frustrated at how the book ends. Another problem I had was some of the character's reactions. For example, Maya told a character that she might have seen a memory of an animal she was taking care of and this character believed her without questioning it. That won't happen in real life. You would question the person to be sure your friend wasn't drunk or slowly going insane.
But I liked it. I like The Gathering. Apart from one or two tiny things, I quite liked the journey, though I do wish I had book 2 of this trilogy to read, just so I get answers! And it will make me more aware of Kelley's others book. Maybe I should go and read her first YA trilogy (Tiny FYI: Darkest Powers and Darkness Rising are set in the same world, but the characters and situations never cross over. Although, I can't be certain about the shadowy evil institution hints. So, you can read one of the trilogies without neededing to read the other.) or risk reading one of her Women of the Otherworld books (or audiobooks.) Suggestions of a good place to start if I can find time to read/listen to them?
And now, the music part of the book review... (only one song this time round. A few came and went, but I kept hitting play on this one so... yeah... ENJOY!)