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This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong
Series: Darkness Rising #1
Published by HarperCollins Publishers on April 12, 2011
Genres: Paranormal, Werewolves
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(Last Updated On: November 28, 2021)
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.
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.
Exactly a year ago, Maya’s best friend, Serena, died by a drowning in the pool. This is seen as odd, since Serena loved swimming so much. At the time, Serena was dating this guy named Daniel. Flash back to present time and Maya and Daniel are still curious over Serena’s death.
There was never a real reason as to why she died, besides the fact that Maya felt someone pull down on her foot. Daniel is one of the popular jocks at their little school in Vancouver Island. He’s a really good boxer, while Maya is a really good runner. She was actually captain of the track team.
Maya was adopted, though her parents both love nature and wildlife. Maya loves working with cougars and she also loves nursing any wounded animals back to wellness. She also has this special touch for healing animals, which is really interesting.
The only odd thing about Maya is the birthmark on her back: it’s shaped like a paw print. Maya always loved it though, and for her sixteenth birthday she really wanted to get a tattoo so that it was more permanent. When her mom brought her to the tattoo artist, a woman called her a witch.
Because of this, she never got her tattoo. Maya doesn’t even think much of it.
In her school, there’s a guy named Rafe. He’s pretty much seen as a player. He always gets close to girls and automatically pushes them away as soon as he finds that he doesn’t want them.
This is how it seems from the outside, but once Maya starts actually talking to Rafe, she finds that it’s much more than that. Rafe actually has some secrets of his own-secrets that actually involve Maya and her past.
Maya was a really interesting main character. I’ve never read a book where the main character was really interested in animals and wildlife, so I really liked her. I also liked how she always wanted to be near nature; she was very down-to-earth.
Her relationship with Daniel was great. They are amazing best friends and Daniel is always there for Maya when she needs him. It’s pretty clear that Daniel is still not over Serena’s death from a year ago, though he still tries to stay strong for everyone else.
Rafe was my favorite character because he was the most interesting. Yes, he was the bad boy of the story. He had the most mysterious past and it was great to find out what he’s really like. It was a relief to find that he’s not a player.
This book was great on the animal side of things. It included much about wildlife and cougars, which was enjoyable. I actually went into this book thinking that it was about werewolves, mostly because I only knew that it involved shapeshifters.
I was in the mood for a werewolf book at the time when I started this, so I guess I was a bit disappointed on that front when I found that the shapeshifter part didn’t actually refer to werewolves at all. I guess it kind of is cool, though it was just a let down for me because of what I thought. I guess I need to do more research before I read a book!
This book was also really slow moving. I really enjoyed it until I noticed that I was halfway through and nothing much had happened yet. I was expecting something to happen right on Maya’s sixteenth birthday, like she would suddenly become a shapeshifter like in most books.
I guess this is kind of unique, because she didn’t. But through the entire book, Maya didn’t shapeshift. I also have so many questions that weren’t answered. I still don’t know much about Maya’s past or her ability to see what happened to injured animals.
In the end, I guess this was an okay book. I probably would’ve liked it more if I knew what I was getting into. If you like slower-paced books with unique shapeshifting, I definitely suggest checking this one out.
Recommended for fans of:
“Oh my God. You’re a witch-hunter. I’m a witch. Hate to break it to you Daniel, but if you’re a witch-hunter? You’re doing it wrong.”
He gave me a sidelong smile. “Maybe it’s not that kind of hunting.”
“Then you’re definitely doing it wrong.”