Saturday, June 25, 2011

Show Me Five Review
The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong

Saturday, June 25, 2011
Show Me Five is a review format created by That's a Novel Idea as a weekly Saturday meme.  The number indicates how many answers you will provide.

1 Book:

The Gathering by Kelly Armstrong

2 Words:

Fabulously unique

3 Setting/characters:

The Gathering is set on Vancouver Island and is a very important part of the plot influencing not only Armstrong's characterization, but the over all conflict.
The thousand acre park
The main action takes place in the fictional town of Salmon Creek,   surrounded by a thousand acre state park. The town, most of the homes, and the private school were all built by The St Cloud Corporation, a top secret  research facility for the company's employees. Everyone who lives in Salmon Creek works for the St. Cloud Corporation with only a few exceptions.  
Maya's Home
This includes the main character, Maya whose father is the park warden and whose mother is an environmental architect, Kenjii, Maya's German Shepard, and Fitz, a three legged cougar.


Maya is an fantastic character and the narrator of the story. Her parents adopted her after she was left at a hospital when she was an infant. While she knows she is Native American she does not know what tribe she is from. She has a way with animals and helps her father with the animals they rescue from the park. Her best friend Serena drowned a year ago right in front of her and she is still dealing with that loss. She is smart, sensible, grounded, and strong enough to beat most of the guys she knows rock climbing.  She has a wonderful relationship with both her parents, and with Daniel, who was Serena's boyfriend and now her best bud.

Rafael---Rafe---Martinez is new to Salmon Creek. He lives with his older sister in a cabin they inherited from a distant relative and has been allowed to go to school in  Salmon Creek's so he wouldn't have to spend hours on a bus every day to attend another school in a distant town. While his name suggests he is Latino, his high cheek bones and amber eyes look Native. He is tall, lean with black hair down to his shoulder. He is a player with sexy eyes and crooked smile. 

4 Likes and or Dislikes

I love how original the plot of The Gathering was. It is by far one of the best paranormal books I have read this year. The mystery surrounding Serena's death, the medical facility, and Rafe had me turning pages fast and furiously, and while Armstrong only begins to unfold some of the secrets in this first book I am completely hooked.

Armstrong's characterization is amazing. I adored Maya. Her voice is clear and strong, and she is one of the most sensible female protagonists I have ever come across. As she deals with the death of her best friend, and some strange changes she is experiences, she never becomes angsty or self indulged.  I also am smitten with Daniel, who is Maya's best buddy. He is protective and caring. His home life sucks, but it never affects his positive attitude. I also loved Maya's parents. It was so refreshing to have both parents involved positively in their teen's life.  Finally, although I was not immediately taken with bad boy Rafe because his motives remain hidden during the first half of the book, as  the story unfolds and we learn more about him he did grow on me.

This is the first book I have read by Kelly Armstrong and I found her writing lush and vivid. I enjoyed reading about the unique setting, and felt the pacing of the book was excellent. The prologue drew me in immediately, and while there are a lot  of questions left unanswered at the end, it only makes me want to read the next book in the series.

Finally,  I felt that Armstrong did a fantastic job building the plot and her characters around the setting making this a perfect example of how a writer can use all the elements of fiction to craft a story that builds tension and creates atmosphere. 

5 Stars or Less 

Definitely a five star read for me. I felt the unusual nature of the paranormal aspect was quite inventive, and thought everything about the book was extremely well done.  

Design by Use Your Imagination Designs All images from the Keeper Of Time kit by Studio Gypsy