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54 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Solid Beginning
I was a little put off when I saw some of the reviews for this newest YA entry by Kelley Armstrong. I've been a fan of the Otherworld series, and I thoroughly enjoyed her first YA trilogy, so I was very excited to see this new book come out. That said, I will admit there have been books in the Otherworld series that didn't quite grab me; I'm not one of those fans who...
Published on April 13, 2011 by C. Vandehey

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51 of 70 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Very Disappointing
Sounds good, doesn't it? And it's by Kelley Armstrong, so it must be really good, right? Sadly, no. I received an ARC of this book and was very excited to read it. I had to force myself to finish the book I was already reading before diving into The Gathering. As it turns out, I could have waited. This book was so disappointing. I am a huge fan of Kelley Armstrong's work,...
Published on April 12, 2011 by Kelly Houser


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54 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Solid Beginning, April 13, 2011
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I was a little put off when I saw some of the reviews for this newest YA entry by Kelley Armstrong. I've been a fan of the Otherworld series, and I thoroughly enjoyed her first YA trilogy, so I was very excited to see this new book come out. That said, I will admit there have been books in the Otherworld series that didn't quite grab me; I'm not one of those fans who loves everything a favorite author produces. With all that in mind, I bought The Gathering for my Kindle, and set to read with a little trepidation. But I was pleasantly surprised!

If you've read Ms. Armstrong's other books, particularly her YA series, you already know the basic premise: teenage girl, Maya, thinks she's just a normal teenager living in a really small town created by the local research center for its employees and their families, but it turns out she's not 'normal' at all. Sure, she can heal animals a little to well, and local cougars seem to have taken an odd liking to her, but Maya hasn't yet figured out that those things mean anything special. After her best friend, who happens to be captain of the school swim team, mysteriously drowns, there are hints that perhaps Serena's death wasn't the accident it seemed. Serena's ex-boyfriend Daniel is Maya's new best friend, but there doesn't seem to be anything romantic developing there - yet. Enter new kid in town, bad boy Rafe, and Maya's (of course) inexplicable attraction to him. Turns out Rafe knows a lot about Maya that he's not telling, at least at first.

This is pretty standard for most YA novels these days. And for those who have read the previous trilogy, we already know the research facility isn't what it seems, and that people who have "Dr." in front of their name are not to be trusted. What makes the book special is Armstrong's deft characterization and solid, familiar worldbuilding. Unlike other reviewers, I liked Maya immediately. I also liked that she wasn't perfect, and that she realized some of her own flaws toward the end of the book (after they were pointed out to her). Yes, the book is a slow build, but so was The Summoning, which also ended on a cliffhanger, seemingly just when the story was really taking off. I'm mystified at the disappointment and surprise people are expressing: this seems no different to me from the structure of previous books in the series - I went in expecting a slower paced first book with a cliffhanger ending. Personally, I am enjoying the introduction of a previously unknown supernatural race from Armstrong's universe. (At least, I don't remember this particular race being mentioned before.) Werewolves and necromancers are fun and all, but we've seen them before. Maya is something new!

For those who saw no hint of Daniel's supernatural ability, I'm surprised. The hints were subtle, but there. In one scene, his eyes glowed red. In others, he was faster and stronger than human. Again, this is no different from the hints dropped in the first YA trilogy about other teens and their supernatural abilities. I'm sure in the next book, we'll find out exactly what Daniel and Sam are (I have strong suspicions), as well as Hayley and the others. I found this book to be engaging, and the cliffhanger ending just as tantalizing and frustrating as I've come to expect from Ms. Armstrong. I enjoyed Maya and her animals a great deal, and find I am very curious about Sam, and Daniel. I enjoyed Rafe and his connection with Maya, although I'm expecting some more road bumps along that path, perhaps with best-friend Daniel stepping up to express an interest for more than friendship? I'm also curious if Maya's parents will prove to be villains, or unsuspecting bystanders. Someone in that small town has committed murder, and I'm willing to bet it's someone Maya already knows, and probably trusts.

Overall, I found The Gathering to be a solid Armstrong book, and a great beginning to a new trilogy. Can't wait for more!
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20 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not the greatest Kelley book..., April 18, 2011
***May contain spoilers***

I must preface by saying that I love Kelley Armstrong, she is one of my most favourite authors of all time. There isn't anything of hers that I have read before that I haven't enjoyed, from her "Darkest Powers" trilogy to her "Women of the Otherworld" series. But while I did enjoy this book I don't know if I enjoyed it quite as much as her others books, especially her "Darkest Powers" trilogy.

I think that Derek and Simon (from the "Darkest Powers" trilogy) made more of an impact on me than this book's Daniel and Rafe did, however Maya totally made a bigger impact upon me than Chloe did (I found Chloe to be really dependent upon the boys in the first two books of the trilogy and somewhat of a quiet character). But Maya? Yeah, the girl had balls. She wasn't afraid to tell it like it was and she had so many great one liners throughout the book, there were so many times I found myself bursting out laughing at what came out of her mouth, for instance this little conversation:

Maya: "Have you met the tattoo artist? Is he hot?"
Mom: "He's a she."
Maya: "Is she hot? Cause I'm still young, you know. My sexual identity isn't fully formed." (pg. 37)

I think that what really frustrated me about this book was that because it is the first book in the trilogy I assumed that we would learn lots about Project Phoenix, like we did about Project Genesis in the first book of the "Darkest Powers" trilogy, "The Summoning", but we really don't. Whatsoever. I only have some sort of knowledge about what Project Phoenix entails (Spoiler alert: The resurrection of extinct magical races) from my own personal researching (reading lots of blog posts, tweets and whatnot) and I don't feel like it is my duty to do outside research to comprehend a book, the writer should provide us with everything we need to know to understand their story.

Also, I found the plot-line to be quite slow in some parts (I am used to the fast-paced-on-the-run-adventure of the "Darkest Power" trilogy I suppose) and I found that there was the whole teenagers-fall-for-one-another-as-soon-as-they-meet-one-another thing going on which was a bit of a bummer (I really liked how relationships didn't form in the "Darkest Powers" until the very last book, the characters really got to know one another before they formed any sort of relationship).

But like I said, Maya is a really great character and the epitome of snark and she really does make this story. While I do seem to have many complaints of this story I do think that it is a good story, not as great as the "Darkest Power" series, but better than many YA books that are currently out there.
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51 of 70 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Very Disappointing, April 12, 2011
By 
Sounds good, doesn't it? And it's by Kelley Armstrong, so it must be really good, right? Sadly, no. I received an ARC of this book and was very excited to read it. I had to force myself to finish the book I was already reading before diving into The Gathering. As it turns out, I could have waited. This book was so disappointing. I am a huge fan of Kelley Armstrong's work, so I was expecting a heck of a story. Such was not the case.

I try to find something good to say about every book I read, even when I am not bowled over by it. I am having significant trouble finding anything I liked about this book. I guess I did like Maya's supernatural ability, which is not one Armstrong has used before, that I can remember.

What didn't I like? For starters, the book was very slow moving. I was on page 100 still waiting for something to happen. I felt like there was too much build-up, too much detail, and not enough action. I was growing bored...very, very bored. By the time the action did pick up, I was so irritated with this book that it didn't much matter.

I did not like Maya. Not liking the protagonist in a book like this generally spells disaster for liking the book as a whole. I found Maya to be boring, uppity, snarky (not in a good way), and very bland compared to other Armstrong characters. Maya's friend Daniel was OK, but the description of the novel plays it off like he has a supernatural ability, which I did not pick up on at all in the book. The characters didn't stand out for me. They weren't special or endearing, or relate-able.

The plot was very thin. That is a huge part of why the novel moved so slowly. The novel lacked substance and was made up for in tons of detail.

Overall, I did not enjoy this book. I appreciate the ARC and the lovely people who sent it to me, but I just didn't like this book. Would I recommend it? No. I can name a slew of other Kelley Armstrong works I would recommend over and over again, but this isn't one of them.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "It was completely fifth garde and completely silly and I loved it...", May 16, 2011
By 
CRISTY "Mommy of twins" (Bluffton, SC, United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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I have to say that I'm shocked that this book hasn't had more consistent (positive) reviews. Instantly captivated by protagonist Maya and her tomboy tough narrative voice, I devoured THE GATHERING (Darkness Rising #1).

Not having read any of Kelley Armstrong's previous series, I picked up this newer release purely on the merit of the inside covers synopsis. I am very pleased to report success in finding a well written, original and beautifully fleshed out start, to what is sure to become a favorite series. In fact, at least in my opinion, the cover summery doesn't come close to doing the actual plot justice.

The characters are all very well depicted, showing many layers and growth throughout the story. Armstrong shows a keen talent for world and character building, slowly hinting and foreshadowing at revelations to come. As a reader I really appreciated the little "signs" given along the way, enabling you to discover with the characters what exactly is happening; without hitting you in the face with it.

Now there are a lot of interesting characters to be explored in THE GATHERING and Armstrong barely scrapes the surface in this first book. By the end there is still quite a bit we don't know, but this is only the first installment in a trilogy and I'm sure many questions will be answered as the series progresses. And being that this is a series, brace yourself for a pretty abrupt and painful cliffhanger that is sure to have you determined to check out the next book THE CALLING (Darkness Rising #2).

Lastly, I have to say I was impressed enough with THE GATHERING, that
I'm inclined to check out Armstrong's Darkest Powers trilogy while I wait for the next books release.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Renewed my faith in YA paranormal, October 3, 2011
I've felt myself avoiding more paranormal type books in YA, they tend to not feel so original anymore and common themes are getting old. There are still a lot of good ones though, it's just more hit and miss. This one was a hit! I loved it!
I loved Maya. I found her personality refreshing. She was pretty blunt and outspoken but she wasn't rude or obnoxious in any way. She was thoughtful and kind and had an awesome relationship with her parents. She almost seemed too perfect in the beginning, but later we saw more of her flaws. But those few flaws are what made her more real for me.
All the other characters were great as well, from her friend Daniel who could 'sense' things, to the cute Rafe who Maya might just like as more than a friend, to the other kids in the town (very teeny town) that had their own little roles, they were all terrific. Oh, and I loved that Maya had parents that worried about her and were there. Maya had some great banter with them and I really liked their part in the book.
The setting of the book definitely brought it up another notch for me. Vancouver Island is GORGEOUS and it actually played a large part in the book. Just the forest and wildlife around. While some might not think it's a big deal, the setting really plays a big part for me and this setting was idea, and fit the story perfect.
While I had somewhat of an idea of the paranormal aspect of the book I didn't really know much and found myself guessing through the whole book about what might be going on. It was kind of an awesome mystery. By the end we've got some answers, but plenty more left to be answered in the next books.
This is an awesome start to a series and I highly recommend you to pick it up!
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13 of 18 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Worst Kelley Yet., April 28, 2011
I have read practically everything Kelley Armstrong has ever written and loved the vast majority of it... The Gathering did NOT match up to her earlier works.

*** Some Spoilers *****

My favourite thing about a Kelley book is a fast, action packed plot. What happened here? We get pages and pages of Maya feeding her animals and bantering with her foster parents and bla bla bla boring! Plus Maya was a pretty self involved somewhat annoying character, she knew Rafe was a player and rolled her eyes at any of the girls who foolishly fell for his lines but then the minute he is shooting for her attention, she is completely swooning. What? Come on.

Plus the teenagers behaved in really unbelievable ways to me. I'm sorry, but teens at a party... are there to get wasted. Having these carefully understood rules like: Only one case of beers and when it's drunk that's it and no pot... it would never happen and if it did, then the teens would find a better place to party. I think Kelley Armstrong was creating her ideal party situation as a parent to a teenage girl. Sorry... never happen. Also, why do all the guys in this book have to be so damn goody-two-shoes? Even Rafe has to explain every little thing he has ever done to take care of his sister to the point where there would be NO grey area, just incase anyone was wondering if in fact he might be a badboy. NO sir. He is good all the way through.

Wearing a leather jacket and pretending to smoke does not a badboy make.

I didnt really get the whole, Maya got roofied thing. Why? Why would some chick roofie her? Most of the time roofies are used because the girl can't remember anything afterwards... Maya's remembered everything that happened and her actions did not speak to me of a girl who had her drink spiked. I felt that that scene was just a random add in to insert tension into a boring plot.

There is this one particular passage which made me goggle in confusion:

"There was a window in the guy's locker room that never closed right. Well, it didn't after grade eight, when Corey and Brendan broke in to set up a video camera in the girls' locker room. No videos were ever taken. Daniel had caught them and said if the camera wasn't gone by Monday morning, he'd give us photos from the last time they went skinny-dipping, when the lake had been really cold..." (p.273)

Wait, so what? Daniel took naked pics of his friends skinny-dipping? Now guys who go skinny dipping (wierd enough) are taking nakey pics of eachother? WHAT? I get that the author want's us to realise that Daniel is this perfect, girl-protecting popular dude, but this scene does not illustrate that... it's just wierd.

The final nail in the coffin for me, was the fact that I am REALLY over authors who find success in paranormal YA, then wind up thier popular series (in this case the Chloe Saunders trilogy) and then recycle the characters and relationship dyanmics in a new series! Seriously, I feel like they are just cashing in on the hugely popular YA market, thinking, Uh, yeah, teens love this love-triangle with the existing best friend and a the new badboy in town and the heroine who is not yet aware of her own hidden powers. YAWN! Seriously, I could name drop authors who use this premise but I just don't have enough space here. It is so boring and stale, trust me, even the teenies who are lapping this s**t up are going to get over it soon. Come up with something new!

RAAAAAAAR!

Okay, rant over. Super suuuuuuuper disappointed with this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Armstrong continues to knock YA out of the park, April 27, 2013
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After re-reading the Darkest Powers series while my 11.5 yr daughter read it for the first time, I felt grateful to Armstrong for taking a youth audience seriously -- not holding back with the horror, pain, and confusion of changes during teen growth and exploration. Her metaphor of supernatural coming of age is strong.

When my daughter picked up The Gathering immediately afterward, I didn't jump into the simultaneous reading right away (I was reading something else). Then she came to me and said "This book is more grown up mom. There's making out, and the girl had her drink drugged." Needless to say, I grabbed my own copy immediately so I could see what was up.

Again, Armstrong takes teen issues head on, portraying realistic social interactions, both good and bad, responsible and irresponsible. The main character has a good head on her shoulders, and departing from stereotypical YA formula, she has a good relationship with her parents. Who are both alive. And pretty awesome. She is open in talking (even joking) with them about dating and sex, and it's clear she's educated comprehensively about sex.

The teens in this book do normal teen things -- make out, sometimes without all clothes on. There are illusions to making out and having sex in back seats of cars. Some of them drink beer, some of them don't. They all make wise and unwise choices, can be kind and unkind to each other, can be both responsible and irresponsible. My daughter and I had lots of great open conversations about how she'll have similar choices in the future, what our values are, what's safe and not safe. We talked about the actual risk of having a drink drugged, why that would happen, and how to potentially prevent it.

So much YA lit avoids these complications, instead glossing over actual teen sexual and drinking behavior. Armstrong portrays it in the book as the realistic situation it is. So refreshing.

Characters are well-developed with flaws and strengths. Relationships are also well-developed and stay in line with character growth. It's definitely a first book - many mysteries are left open-ended, leaving you wanting more. Both my daughter and I enjoyed the book immensely. Would I recommend it for any 11yo? Depends on the kid, and you know your kid better than anyone else. You might want to give it a read yourself first, if your kid is 13 or under.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Gathering Review, October 2, 2011
I'm a huge fan of Kelley Armstrong's The Darkest Powers series, but I have to say that I loved The Gathering even more! I especially loved the fact that it was set in Canada (being Canadian and all!), which is something that I don't see very often in the YA books that I read, so that was just the cherry on top of this awesome read!

Maya was a really awesome character, someone who I could see myself being friends with, which was really nice. She was quite a feisty girl, definitely had some spunk, and I really liked that about her. She was brave, most definitely not afraid to speak her mind and stand up for herself, which is an attribute that I really value in a character! I thought that she was so mature and I was really impressed with how she dealt with some hard situations and was able to keep herself composed. Overall, I thought Maya was such a strong and intelligent girl and she pretty much embodied everything that I love in a main character!

I also really liked the character Rafe! I have such a weakness for the bad boy character, even more so when the bad boy is such a sweetheart underneath their persona, and Rafe was just that type of bad boy. At the beginning of the book, he seemed like such a player, quite cocky and full of himself, but as we got to know him better, we really saw a different side of him, a much softer, more vulnerable side of him and I really liked that!

The plot of this book was quite interesting and different! It had a little bit of mystery, a touch of romance, and some supernatural elements to it! I loved the way that Kelley Armstrong blended it all together to create this great and unique story! I really loved that the plot kept me guessing what was going to happen next, that I wasn't able to predict everthing. This book definitely kept me reading and I finished it quite fast! It was such an easy read and Kelley Armstrong's writing is awesome and just flows so well!

I would really recommend checking out The Gathering if you are a fan of Kelley Armstrong's The Darkest Powers series, or if you are just a fan of YA paranormal romance novels in general, as I am! This book had great, easy to connect with characters, an awesome, intriguing plot and lovely writing! I'm really looking forward to reading the sequel to this great book, especially after the huge cliffhanger that we were left with! I think that Kelley Armstrong has yet another great series on her hands!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fans Will Be Impatiently Waiting Book Two!, June 27, 2011
By 
Sixteen-year-old Maya Delaney lives in the tiny, secluded town of Salmon Creek near Vancouver, Canada. Life is relatively peaceful in the wilderness park where her father is the warden. He is employed by a research company called St. Cloud, which bought up the 1,000 acres of land surrounding the research facility, and built Salmon Creek for the employees and their families. Everyone knows each other; when only 200 people live in a small place, it can't be helped. So the entire town mourned when Maya's friend, Serena, died inexplicably.

How can one explain the captain of the swim team drowning in a lake? Maya was there and she doesn't understand. One minute Serena was laughing and teasing, the next it's like she was yanked under the surface. Maya tried to help, but she isn't the best swimmer in the world. Her good friend, Daniel, arrived and pulled her to shore, but it was too late for Serena.

There are a lot of other unexplainable things in Maya's world, like her birth parents. Maya looks Native American, but beyond that, she knows nothing of her origins. She also has a strange connection with the wild animals and a curious ability to heal them. Surely none of it has anything to do with the paw print-shaped birthmark on her hip.

Things start heating up when the handsome new student Rafe shows an interest in Maya. She pushes him away at first, suspicious of his tactics. But when he reveals a vulnerable side, she can't help but fall for him. However, not everything is as it seems with Rafe. Soon after, a pushy reporter arrives, asking everyone prying questions, and the townsfolk suspect she's spying on the research facility. That's about the time when lots of surprising secrets start surfacing, both old and new, and Maya has to face the shocking truth of who she really is.

Bestselling author Kelley Armstrong delivers a new mesmerizing trilogy with THE GATHERING. The first thing that caught my attention is Maya's strong connection to the wilderness and its animals. Armstrong herself must have a great respect for nature for it to shine so brightly through her writing. A likable character, Maya is easygoing, friendly, and very solid and secure. Her special friendship with Daniel is heartwarming and reassuring, as is her mutually respectful relationship with her parents. Maya isn't perfect, though; she has a difficult time forgiving others, especially herself.

Armstrong cleverly takes her fantasy/thriller in a unique direction by delving into some Native American legends, inviting mystery from the Native cultures. THE GATHERING is an intriguing and captivating journey, sweetened with friendships and romance, and spiced with danger and excitement. Fans will be impatiently awaiting Book Two, THE CALLING, expected in April 2012.

--- Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just as good as the first series!, May 23, 2011
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"Some spoilers"

This book starts out with a bang with Maya's best friend and Daniel's girlfriend, Serena, drowning in a lake. Serena is the captain of the swim team so they find this a little strange but let it go. Maya and Daniel have been friends since she moved there. He has always been really protective of her and even more since Serena died. When Daniel's dad is drunk he stays the night at her house. I think that he that he likes her and just doesn't want to start anything because he is afraid it will upset her because of Serena, but i really wish he would. Anyways, she has this rule were she only dates summers boys so she won't mess up any friendships she has in town. This rule is because they live in a private town own by the St. Cloud group and only 200 people live there and all the parents work for the St. Cloud company.

All this changes when Rafe moves to town and he starts going after every girl in town. He goes after Maya at the beginning but she won't give him the time of day so he moves on. He starts going after her again but Daniel and their other friends keep Rafe away for a while. It all changes when Maya meets Rafe's sister who is mentally handicap. Maya starts being nicer to Rafe and invites him to her birthday party that Daniel is throwing for her.
At the party, Daniel and his friends build a rock wall out back for Maya's present. Cory, one of their friends, makes a deal that everyone has to race Maya to the top and whoever beats her gets a kiss from Maya. All the guys line up to race her but only Daniel comes close to beating her, which he would have if he didn't "slip on the rope climbing over the edge. Rafe shows up and says he wants a turn against her too. The race and Maya is killing him till she stops half way and lets him catch up and they make a second bet that whoever wins gets 30 minutes with the other. They start racing again and Rafe beats her by an inch, but Rafe says he's not going to cash in on the kiss till later.

Later happens on the roof of Daniel's house after they talk for a while. Maya starts feeling weird and dizzy and jumps off the roof. She lands on her feet without getting her. Rafe jumps after her and Sam comes running towards them yelling Daniel's name because Maya looks like she's going to faint. They find out someone drugged her drink and Daniel tries to beat up Rafe but he won't fight back.

It all goes downhill from there. Maya finds out from Rafe that they are "skin-walkers" and can change into cougars. Also, forest fires are coming toward their town threatening to destroy the town.

I loved this book just as much at the first series and I can't wait for the next one to come out. I would definitely suggest this to a friend which I already have, they just need to read the first series first. You really could read this one without reading the first but there are names that pop up from the first series in this one. I really hope Maya ends up with Daniel not Rafe! Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
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The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong
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