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    Review of THE GATHERING by Kelley Armstrong

    Harper, April 2011

    Something strange is happening in the tiny town of Salmon Creek on Vancouver Island, home to a super-secure scientific research facility. A nosy reporter is hanging around, interviewing teengers about odd subjects. Emboldened cougars are having violent confrontations with humans. And forest fires are burning too close for comfort, so that a change in the wind could threaten the whole town and force evacuation.

    Sixteen-year-old Maya is trying to make sense of it all--the mysterious drowning death of her best friend a year earlier, the odd way some of her friends act, and the dangerous new kid in town, Rafe, with a fey older sister. Rafe makes her feel like no boy ever has, but he can't be trusted. When an elderly woman--a complete stranger--calls her a witch, Maya writes it off as dementia--until she starts having odd dreams and getting inside the heads of animals. Finally, there is the mystery of her real parents. Why did her birth mother give her up?

    There's just a lot going on in this book. I love the main character, who tells the story in first person. She is both strong and wise, yet still authentic as a sixteen-year-old. I was intrigued by all the mysteries, but ultimately disappointed when the ending failed to deliver the promise of the set-up. When a young girl dies mysteriously in the prologue, I expect to know how and why she died by the end of the book. Instead, more and more mysteries are piled on top of that one, and the book ends abruptly with nothing resolved--a downer, unsatisfactory ending that is supposed to make me eager to read the next book in the "Darkness Rising" series, but that's not going to happen.

    See more reviews of fantasy by Kelley Armstrong.

    Three Stars

    Reviewed 6/05/11

    Buy The Gathering (Darkness Rising, Book 1) from Amazon

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