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Content Review: The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong

Reading Level:  Young Adult
Publisher: Harper Teen
Series: Darkness Rising, Book 1
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Strange things are happening in Maya's tiny Vancouver Island town. First, her friend Serena, the captain of the swim team, drowns mysteriously in the middle of a calm lake. Then, one year later, mountain lions are spotted rather frequently around Maya's home—and her reactions to them are somewhat . . . unexpected. Her best friend, Daniel, has also been experiencing unexplainable premonitions about certain people and situations. 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.

  • Profanity:  Moderate
  • Sexual Content:  Mild
  • Violence:  Moderate
  • Other Notables: 
    • Mention of beer at a party, but that there's only a small amount allowed (by Daniel, one of the students) and that once it's gone, it's gone.  There's no bringing your own, or buying more.
    • Some kids smoke, there's a smoking area at school (the school is in Canada). 
    • Daniel's dad is a drunk.
    • Rafe mentions that he had a lot of firsts and lasts, including the first and last time he got drunk, and the first and last time he smoked pot.
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At first I have to say I thought the story was a little slow.  There was a lot of description, which sometimes loses me because I like to get into the meat of things.  Another thing that kind of bothered me in the beginning was that it seemed a little political, or at least a little agenda-based, and I tend to get irritated at that.  Especially when it seems like it is supposed to be subtle....but it isn't.

But that all faded away pretty quickly and soon I found myself lost in this fascinating story.  There are so many elements to this book, and so many possibilities.  I felt like I had a grasp on what might be going on in this secretive town, then something would happen that made me question what I thought.  With elements of science fiction, possible gene-altering, maybe paranormal, who knows?  Maybe all of those things combined.  It's funny, I would usually tag this book as a sufferer of series syndrome, but somehow, even though I still have as many questions after reading this, as I did when I started it, I was never bored.  I never felt like the story was full of fluff.  I enjoyed every minute of it.  Maybe it just goes to show that a good writer can leave us hanging on a cliff at the end, and we'll thank her for it! I had questions about whether you had to read the Darkest Powers books first, but this series is definitely it's own story, so even if you've never read any of Kelley's books, you can pick this one up no problem.  I hope that you'll try listening to it on audio, and maybe you'll fall in love with audiobooks like I have!

Subpages (1): The Gathering Content