Review: The Gathering (Darkness Rising #1) by Kelley Armstrong

March 21, 2013 3.5 stars, Book Review, Young Adult 6 ★★★½

Pabkin’s One Liner: A slow but enjoyable simmer of a start.


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 starts this trilogy out rather slow. I think that is just Kelley Armstrong’s style. I have to admit I am a long time fan having read about 14 of her books. Her adult Women of the Otherworld series is one of my favorite urban fantasy series.

So she does take awhile to rev things up. I thought The Gathering was going to be different. It starts with an action packed opening scene where you are holding your breath to see how that turns out. But things promptly settle down with a short jump forward in time. From then on anything dealing with Maya and any special traits she has are mostly hinted at. It remains this way almost completely to the end of the book.

Maya has a snarky, without being mean, personality. Dialogue like below had me chuckling and totally loving her.

“something’s wrong with her.” “Um, yeah. She climbed a tree to escape a cat. She’s suffering from a serious case of stupid.” Page 14

“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.” Page 37

“Or,” I said, turning to Rafe, “if you want to skip the whole awkward meet-the-family social event, you could just submit your life story, including your views on politics, religion, and every social issue imaginable, along with anything else you think they might need to conduct a thorough background check.” Mom sighed. “I really don’t know why we even bother trying to be subtle around you.” Page 202

What I really enjoyed was the portrayal of the awesome relationship she has with her adoptive parents. The love and interaction there is so endearing. Then you have her best friend Daniel who seems like the perfect dream boat who does so much for Maya, that you can’t help but adore him. I could sense there is tension there and once Rafe comes into the picture I saw the setup for a possible love triangle. I am disappointed if that is indeed the case since there was already a love triangle in her first young adult trilogy Darkest Powers. I guess I will have to wait and see.

My biggest pet peeve is that I am a big believer that even if a book is part of a trilogy or a series that it should still be able to stand on its own two feet. I like there to be a major goal or obstacle that must be overcome and for something considerable to be achieved. With The Gathering it was very much just the setup for the next two books. I’ve already started book two so obviously I still enjoyed The Gathering.

Tabitha the Pabkins

The Gathering

Find: Amazon | BD |Goodreads
Follow: Website | Twitter


• This book was personally purchased. All opinions expressed are my own. Please note that this post also contains affiliate links. To view our full Blog Policy, click here.

Stalk me!

Tabitha (Pabkins)

When I'm in the zone I can flip book pages faster than the eye can see - screaming "More Input!" I'm a book, yarn, & art supply hoarding goblin who loves to draw, make toys and craft all sorts of creepy cute things. My current habit is to listen to audio books while I'm arting it up!
Stalk me!

Latest posts by Tabitha (Pabkins) (see all)

6 Responses to “Review: The Gathering (Darkness Rising #1) by Kelley Armstrong”

  1. DannyBookworm

    I really loved this one. But.. I haven’t read anything from her before.. I agree with you that even though the book is part of the series the book should have an ending.. somehow. Not the case here and not the case in the next book!
    Anyway, it’s a great series:)

    • Tabitha the Pabkins

      I enjoyed it I’m just waiting on book 3 now. But I have to say at this point that I enjoyed the Darkest Power trilogy better so far. But I do LIKE Maya’s character more than I liked Chloe. I think Maya is a much stronger character.

  2. kimbacaffeinate

    Great review Pabs, I enjoyed this one and book two..did book three publish yet? *oops* The tale is slow to build but book two moves at a much faster pace. Glad you liked it 🙂

    • Tabitha the Pabkins

      I’m a definite Kelley Armstrong fan. I think this means I’ve read almost every book she’s written. Excluding those novella books – I’ve read most but not all. Though I like them …I almost wish they wouldn’t release them like one at a time but just put them in a volume you know?