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The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong

June 2, 2011

I think I’ve figured out why I enjoyed Kelley Armstrong’s The Gathering so much more than I expected. Especially considering its flaws: the travel guide feel to the start of the book; the amount of extremely self-aware teens populating Salmon Creek, British Columbia; and how nothing big really happened in this novel—there was action, yes, but the overall story arc seemed to me more like Part I of a book than Book I of a trilogy.

The last point is probably why I enjoyed it.

That, and Maya’s relationship with her parents was awesome. They all communicated, her parents trusted her, and Maya didn’t let down her parents’ trust.

But back to me liking The Gathering because of the lack of anything big happening. There are so many paranormals these days with BIG plots—saving a soul or a life or the world (and finding True Love while they’re at it). In this one, we don’t know what the stakes are yet. I certainly have my suspicions about what’s up with the St. Cloud Corporation, but for now, I enjoyed The Gathering as a book with likable characters, some paranormal elements, and a murder, without any of that rescue/redemption melodrama. Also, while there is a romantic interest, The Gathering is not a paranormal romance.

The key word, of course, is yet. We’ll see what happens in the next book. Maybe the story does turn out to be BIG, complete with True Love That Must Overcome All the Rules Against Such a Relationship, and I won’t like it as much. But this one, by itself, was refreshingly low-key both in plot and possible romance.

As for what actually happened in this book, ummmmm… We’re introduced to Maya, who lives in the very, very small and isolated town of Salmon Creek. Salmon Creek is home to the St. Cloud Corporation’s top secret medical research facility. The St. Cloud’s own practically everything in Salmon Creek and much of the forests that surrounds it. Maya’s adoptive family moved to Salmon Creek when she was five (she was adopted as a baby and knows nothing about her biological parents), when the St. Cloud’s hired her father as the warden for the forest parkland. Lately, Maya’s affinity for animals seems to be getting stronger. They’re drawn to her, injured animals are healing faster than she should, etc.

Because I don’t think there’s an overall self-contained story arc within The Gathering, I have a hard time saying it stands alone. It doesn’t end on a major cliffhanger or anything, but it’s obvious that there’s more to the story. I suspect other readers’ enjoyment of the book will depend on how much story they’re expecting to get and whether or not they find what they do get sufficient for a 359 page novel. It was enough for me, but it won’t be enough for everyone.

Book source: public library.

11 Comments leave one →
  1. June 2, 2011 11:44 am

    I usually like her work, and I love the cover to this, so … potential!

    • June 3, 2011 6:16 pm

      Oh, speaking of the cover… I didn’t mention it in my review, but does the girl look Native American to you? Because Maya, who was adopted as a baby, supposedly looks Navajo.

      Anyway, this is the first Kelley Armstrong book I’ve read. I tried the first book in her previous YA series, couldn’t get into it. Liked this one, though.

  2. June 2, 2011 12:10 pm

    I loved The Gathering as much, if not more, than I did her three previous YA novels: The Summoning, The Awakening, and The Reckoning.

    I have been a reader of Kelley Armstrong’s Otherworld series since they were only available as ebooks. At least, that’s where I discovered them.

    She slips in little nuggets that tie her adult books with the YA series. For example, she mentions the cabals and there are fire demons (Exustio?) mentioned in The Gathering. I love going, “OOh, OOh, I know what that is!”

    • June 3, 2011 6:20 pm

      Fire demons? Don’t remember that… But it’s cool that she includes easter eggs for her longtime readers, like Sarah Dessen.

  3. Keishon permalink
    June 3, 2011 5:51 am

    Can this book be read alone?

    • June 3, 2011 8:28 am

      Keishon, definitely. The little touches from her adult books are simply throwaway lines. They do not effect the storyline at all.

      You don’t even need to read her first three YA books, although I think it will be more enjoyable if you do. Not to mention, they are absolutely wonderful themselves.

    • June 3, 2011 6:19 pm

      Sort of. Like I said above, this is the first Armstrong book I’ve read and this is the first book in a new series. It doesn’t standalone in the completed story arc with all plot threads wrapped up sense, but you don’t have to have read Armstrong’s other books prior to reading this one.


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