Maya lives in a small medical-research town on Vancouver Island. How small? You can't find it on the map. It has less than two-hundred-people, and her school has only sixty-eight students - for every grade from kindergarten to twelve.
Now, strange things are happening in this claustrophobic town, and Maya's determined to get to the bottom of them. First, the captain of the swim team drowns mysteriously in the middle of a calm lake. A year later, mountain lions start appearing around Maya's home, and they won't go away. Her best friend, Daniel, starts getting negative vibes from certain people and things. It doesn't help that the new bad boy in town, Rafe, has a dangerous secret - and he's interested in one special part of Maya's anatomy: her paw-print birthmark.
If you're looking for an interesting adventure, than look no further. Here we have THE GATHERING by Kelley Armstrong! This book has everything a book lover will always love to read about: a great cast of characters, a small isolated community, supernatural elements, and a secretive scientific company that have secrets of their own, ones that you must decide whether to trust or to expose.
Honestly, I have to say that I was surprised how much I liked this book. Sometimes the YA paranormal genre offers nothing really new and uses the same cliche storylines . . . and to me it sounded like another shapeshifter story. However, since being a huge fan of Armstrong's previous YA series, Darkest Powers, I knew that she would write another great adventure since this book is a spin-off. And she did just that. Much to my surprise after the first couple of chapters, I quickly found myself immersed with the storyline and the mythology Armstrong crafted in this little gated community. And with the element of 'bad boy Rafe' entering the picture, let's just say the book can do no wrong.
What really captured me was the cast of characters. All of them - not just Maya - are completely engaging and it didn't matter if a couple were annoying little pests . . . they were nonetheless interesting and very multi-layered. Maya in particular was a great heroine. She's strong, smart, witty, and can definitely hold her own. Sure she has a lot of emotions and maybe not so lucky in her choices of men, but she's a great character that readers will like. Anyway like I said before, I was very surprised by the appeal of this book. This now brings me to the writing. I love Vancouver. I haven't had the pleasure of travelling over there, but one day I will have to! The imagery Armstrong weaved into her writing was a great pleasure to read about. Through the writing itself I could actually visualize the trees and the cliffs, the lake, the forests, and even the collections of small shops that made the town's 'downtown' area. The town seemed so real to me and Armstrong's writing made it all come alive.
THE GATHERING is a great book, really. Some readers may be tired of the paranormal aspect in novels but be sure to check out this one. From what I know, this book is the first of a trilogy, so even with a lot of questions unanswered in this installment, I'm still looking forward to the sequel!