Reviewed by Tori
Favorite Quote: “Oh my God. What are you guys? Twelve?”
“No. Just really, really, immature.”
This is my first time reading Kelley Armstrong’s YA. Completely character driven, we watch and learn with our protagonist, Maya, about the small research town she lives in and the slow unraveling of it’s secrets.
Maya is a great heroine in that she is not your normal emo YA character. No poetic prose speaking of first love and it’s loss in here. Maya has a wonderful snarky sense of humor and a strong emotional base. The dialogue between her and her parents is hilarious.
“I like Daniel. He takes care of you.”
“Oh my God. Did you just really say that? He takes care of me?”
“I didn’t mean it like that…”
“Takes care of me? Did I go to sleep and wake up in the nineteenth century? Ack! I can’t go to school like this. Where is my corset? My bonnet?”
“You know, if you offer him a new truck for a dowry, he might go for it.”
She has enough imagination to understand the unbelievable without being a total push over and just accepting it. She’s intelligent, strong willed, and flawed. She’s not perfect and that makes her even more intriguing.
The secondary cast of characters are just as personable and viable as Maya. Ms. Armstrong allows Maya and her friends to be normal teenagers. They play, argue, go to school, sneak beer into parties, and have romantic interludes. Her best friend Daniel is a calming influence in her life, allowing for a welcomed male friend role without romantic overtones. Rafe, Maya’s love interest, is mysterious enough to fascinate us right along with Maya. The romance comes on a little faster and stronger then I’m used to in YA but it’s not ‘creepy’. There is no soul mate vibe; which seems to be what some YA’s think teenagers must be in order to like each other. Rafe’s mysteriousness is resolved pretty quickly yet adds to the overall main storyline. We learn, through Rafe, that Maya’s (and maybe the other kids) on that island for a reason and the reasons may not be amicable.
While overall I enjoyed The Gathering, I didn’t get the same sense of the action or adventure I normally get from Ms. Armstrong’s books. The Gathering spends the majority of it’s time laying the ground work for the main conflict and introducing us to the characters. We get clues and hints through the entire book but the ending cliffhanger doesn’t leave us with any definite conclusion or answers, just more questions.
Regardless of the abrupt ending, The Gathering looks to be the beginning of another wonderful YA series by Kelly Armstrong. It’s a comfortable read. Not overly emotional and tense, it gives just enough to keep you wondering and reading. I look forward to the second in this series, The Calling (Darkness Rising, #2), due to release April 2012.