The Gathering and The Calling by Kelley Armstrong

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Of course I always choose to read books who turn out to be part of a trilogy… *sigh* Doesn’t it seem like they aren’t allowing any YA fiction to be stand alone novels anymore?? But I digress…

I read many of Armstrong’s Women of the Other World books as a teenager. I remember LOVING them. I also read her Darkest Powers trilogy. They were good–cute and fast reads. Turns out, the first two of the Darkness Rising trilogy are the same way. Except better.

The Gathering introduces us to our protagonist Maya. She lives in a small medical research town on Vancouver Island and has a strange affinity for animals. It seems as though they’ll obey her and heal quickly in her presence. She also has a paw print-shaped birthmark on her hip. But, whatever, we all have strange things about us, right?

After her best friend’s drowning death, weird things start happening in Salmon Creek. Maya’s guy pal Daniel has an uncanny ability to know when others are trustworthy, and some of the other students are showing signs of interesting abilities as well. Rafe, new guy at school, knows more than he’s letting on and seems to share some significant connection with Maya. Not to mention, cougars keep following her around…

The Calling follows Maya and her friends on a death-defying adventure across Vancouver Island. A forest fire has decimated the area and Maya and her friends have been kidnapped. It seems as though those scientists they’ve grown up with all their lives aren’t as trustworthy as they once appeared to be…

I really can’t go into too much detail of the second book without giving away the first, but they were both really good. I could see taking them to the beach for a light, fast-paced read. Don’t expect them to change your life, but I did find them much more engrossing than the Darkness Rising trilogy. Maya’s relationship with her parents reminded me a lot of my own. Daniel is a great best friend and Rafe… I haven’t decided how I feel about him yet.

I like what Armstrong did with the Indian lore and the cat connection was refreshing. At first I felt like she’d cheated a little by using the same story template as her DR trilogy–but once I realized the two stories were vaguely connected it made more sense. I’ll definitely be looking out for book three.

Read it in the bathtub.

4 paw prints of 5

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About Chelsea McDonald

As an avid reader since I was big enough to hold a book, I continue to enjoy losing myself in the thrall of a good story on a daily basis. Since many of my cohorts do not share the same passion, Cracking Spines will be the perfect outlet to express my adulation or frustration concerning the books that cross my path. In this way, my loyal followers will be able to enjoy the stories that are worthwhile and avoid the duds altogether. I also have a Shelfari account at http://www.shelfari.com/chelseamcdonald15 View all posts by Chelsea McDonald

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