A Review: The Gathering (Book One of the Darkness Rising Series)

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A Review:

The Gathering (Book One of the Darkness Rising Series)

04.30.2012

By Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez / @ZaraAlexis

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Category: Young Adult (YA) Fiction

Author:Kelley Armstrong

Format: Hardcover, 359 pages

Publisher: Doubleday Canada

ISBN: 978-0-385-66851-4

Pub Date: February 7, 2012 (Trade Paperback)

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The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong is the first of the Darkness Rising series, a supernatural young adult (YA) trilogy about 16-year-old Maya who lives in a small medical-research town called Salmon Creek on Vancouver Island.

The small populated and isolated town not only has less than 200 people, but also a slew of secrets that slowly unravel as the novel progresses.

Since I prefer reading literary fiction, I tend not to read a large amount of YA fiction in comparison. And of those that I have read in the past, most have been a tad disappointing in their narrative and character development, which would most often, more than not, be filled with cliché and superficial and self-indulgent characters who made it difficult for me to empathize with.

Reading YA fiction!

But with The Gathering, this is not the case. The Gathering is one of the best YA fiction reads I’ve read in a long time, which explains why Kelley Armstrong is one of the number one bestselling authors according to the New York Times!

Kelley Armstrong, author of THE GATHERING.

The main character, Maya, a 16-year-old popular and athletic teenager is not only likeable by her peers, but will be most likely be “liked” by the readers of this book. I did. She has a strong relationship with her parents without losing herself in identity or rebellion; she’s fiercely loyal to her friends without being dependent; she has a natural agility that gives her grace and strength, and a wit that is refreshing, entertaining, and endearing without being abrasive. Above all, she’s a natural animal lover, comfortable in their midst and gifted in sensing their needs.

Cougar

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Hers friends, too, as secondary characters are likeable:

Daniel, also a popular teen in the school, is loyal, strong, and protective, gifted in sensing negativity and danger in others.

Rafe as in Rafael, the new boy, is sensual and attractive with an outward rebellious streak, but an inner sensitivity that leaves most girls in the book swooning.

The characters in themselves and their entangled relationships are interesting enough on their own for the book to be a success, but surprisingly, it’s the book’s plot-centred speed, tension, and mystery that will draw readers in to continually turn its pages.

I finished the book in a few days (and only because I stopped to pick up something else that needed to be finished). If I had read it straight through, it probably would have taken me only a day to read—it’s that enjoyable!

Though you are left to guess the true nature of characters in the story, you are bound by unanswered questions that will certainly make you yearn for further explanation. But, that’s not because it’s not well written. It’s because Armstrong gives you just enough information to nibble on until the very end, where you are left wishing you could open, The Calling, the next book in this exotic paranormal YA series and then The Rising, the finale in the trilogy.

THE CALLING, Book Two of the Darkness Rising series by Kelley Armstrong.

(I know. I just visited the library and found not much to my surprise a list of 54 patrons in line ahead of me to reserve the book. Oy! Looks like I’ll be spending some money again on The Book Depository.)

The Gathering is a light read, but not insignificant. It explores Native spirituality and folklore, paranormal mysticism, and lightly touches upon issues affecting teenage character development such as date rape, peer pressure, exclusivity, even assumptions about gender.

And at most, it’s a paranormal, entertaining read. And transformative, exploring the boundaries of folklore and fantasy. I pawed the book with affection and look forward to reading book two of the Darkness Rising series. If you’re an avid YA fiction fan of paranormal power, I doubt you’ll disagree with me.

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Zara’s Rating

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I read this book as part of my participation in the 2012 Random Reader Challenge for YA Fiction from March to April.

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Sunday Summary: 04.29.2012

Sunday Summary

By Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez

I haven’t yet had the pleasure of posting a summary on my blog and a lot of exciting things have happened!

Here’s a look back at April 2012:

1. Spring into Books Giveaway (March 20-31) for The Virgin Cure by Ami McKay was successfully awarded to Lilian Cheng in Honolulu, Hawaii.

2. Bloggiesta ¡Olé! Blog Marathon Event (March 30-April 1) was a great opportunity for me to redesign The Bibliotaphe’s Closet, learn some technical tips and tricks to help improve readership and design of my blog, and also connect with other bloggers around the world who participated in the Bloggiesta Marathon. To see my posts and completed challenges for the Bloggiesta, you can visit here.

¡Olé!

I committed to participating in the 100+ Books Challenge on April 2, which is double what I aimed for last year. We’ll see if I can first complete my 50 Books Pledge.

I decided to host my own snippet of the All Things Asian Event (April 2-16) by featuring information about my home country, the Philippines. To see my posts relating to the All Things Asian Event, please visit here.

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The Gone Reading Giveaway for the “Books to Check Out” book journal began on April 17 and ends tomorrow on April 30, so there’s still time to enter if you haven’t yet put your name in the hat!

"Books to Check Out" Book Journal

The Dewey 24-Hour Read-a-Thon was an intensive time from April 21-22 to read, read, read—and complete some mini challenges. I was able to complete one book and 11 challenges in total. To see my posts for my Doing the Dewey version, please visit here.

Me "dewing" the Dewey! With my own personal cheerleader!

I implemented another Friday Feature—Bookish Fun Fridays:

Bookish Fun. 04.20.2012

Bookish Fun. 04.28.2012

And I joined Team Erudite!

Online Chats:

From time to time, I’ll be lucky enough to win a few books on the commitment that I will ready and participate in a scheduled chat. This month, I participated in three:

Losing Clementine by Ashley Ream on April 10

Web of Angels by Lilian Nattel on April 18

The Trail of the Spellmans by Lisa Lutz on April 25

Reviews:

Karma by Cathy Ostlere

The Girl Who Could Silence the Wind by Meg Medina

The Bellwether Revivals by Benjamin Wood

Why Men Lie by Linden MacIntyre

WHY MEN LIE by Linden MacIntyre

The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler

THE FUTURE OF US by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler

Alone in the Classroom by Elizabeth Hay

The Rest Is Silence by Scott Fotheringham

REST IS SILENCE by Scott Fotheringham

The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong

New Books:

Will be featured on my Tote Bag Tuesday post.

Fun Posts:

It’s Maki’s Birthday!

Maki, the birthday pup with M. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez.

Harry Potter Has Infiltrated Our House!

M. compromised with a Chinese art brush as a wand in lieu of a promise to go shopping at Diagon Alley.

What to Expect in May (So Far):

Asian Heritage Month: featuring different Asian countries aside from the Philippines.

Mother’s Day Post

Children Feature: in celebration of Mother’s Day, I’ll be posting reviews on Children’s books.

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