The Gathering by K. Armstrong
Armstrong, Kelley. The Gathering. Toronto: Doubleday Canada, 2011. Print.
Rural Ontario-based writer Kelley Armstrong is the author of over 15 novels, mostly fantasy, including the #1 New York Times and Globe and Mail bestselling Darkest Powers young adult urban fantasy trilogy. The Gathering is the first in her new Darkness Rising trilogy, a sequel series to Darkest Powers, and is interrelated but with a new set of characters.
Sixteen-year-old Maya Delaney lives in Salmon Creek, a small Vancouver Island town of less than two-hundred people which exists solely to serve the needs of a medical research facility owned by the St. Cloud Corporation. In fact, the St. Cloud Corporation owns the entire town including homes, the school and other world-class facilities that have been built for its resident employees and their families. Maya has an affinity for animals and healing and enjoys spending time in the wildlife rehabilitation centre her father runs as the town’s park ranger. Adopted from birth from parents of an unknown First Nations background, Maya has a generally happy life and loving and responsible parents but is haunted by the bizarre drowning death of her best friend Serena, the captain of the swim team, a year previous.
Maya’s life and those of the town’s close-knit residents, changes drastically after a reporter arrives and begins to ask questions about the St. Cloud Corporation and life in Salmon Creek. Maya is led to believe that this reporter may have information on Serena’s mysterious death. Other strange occurrences such as: mountain lions gathering around her home, the appearance of the town’s new ‘bad boy’ Rafe Martinez, and being called a ‘witch’ during a visit to a Nanaimo tattoo shop, cause Maya to question who she is and where she comes from.
The Gathering is a quick, easy read and a good start to what looks like will be another intriguing trilogy. The characters are believable and of note is the involvement of Maya’s likeable parents in her life which is so often missing from other books in this genre. A Native Canadian protagonist and a unique Canadian setting also make for interesting reading as does the move beyond vampires and werewolves. Do not expect a neat and tidy ending; this trilogy is structured as one story rather than three separate stand-alone volumes and leaves you wanting more. Readers will have to wait, however, until April 2012 when the second book in the series, currently titled The Calling, is set to release.
Recommended: 3 stars out of 4
Reviewer: Debbie Feisst
Debbie is a Public Services Librarian at the H.T. Coutts Education Library at the University of Alberta. When not renovating, she enjoys travel, fitness and young adult fiction.