Review: The Gathering (Darkness Rising Book 1)

by Kelley Armstrong

Orbit, out now

Maya Delaney has a natural affinity with animals – which may run considerably deeper than she at first believes.

After spending part of the last few months assisting with the copy editing and proofreading of novels aimed at the Young Adult market, I have an increased respect for writers who tailor their work to this readership. There are so many pitfalls that can trap the unwary – from clichéd relationship problems to over- or under-estimating the readers’ intelligence – that those who succeed deserve more applause than perhaps they get at present. Kelley Armstrong pitches this just right.

Those who are familiar with Armstrong’s Women of the Otherworld series – which comes to an end, apparently, with the publication of 13 this week – will pick up clues as to what’s going on far quicker than those coming to it completely fresh. The minute that the words “cabal”, “Nash” or “Cortez” turn up, a whole backstory kicks in, and those who read the Darkness Gathering trilogy will also guess that things are not quite as tranquil as they appear in the Vancouver Island community of Salmon Creek. However, the story is gripping enough without that knowledge, and may well contribute to bringing people to the other books.

Inevitably, as the first part of a trilogy, there’s a lot of setting up, and not a lot of resolution in this novel, but readers won’t feel cheated by the cliffhanger ending: instead, I suspect, they’ll be picking up the sequel The Calling, out now, and eagerly waiting the resolution next year.

Verdict: A good back-door entry into the Otherworld universe, and an enjoyable YA tale.  7/10

Paul Simpson

Click here to order The Gathering: Darkness Rising Book 1 from Amazon.co.uk

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