“The Gathering” Kelley Armstrong

Darkness Rising, Book 1″ Harper, 2011. Hardcover. 359 pp.

One of the reasons I don’t like books that come in a series is because by the time the next one is written, I’ve forgotten what happened in the first book. Such was the case with “The Gathering.” I read this sometime last year, but seeing as how I’d probably read about 200+ books after it, I didn’t remember the plot enough when part 2 “The Calling” was released this year. So, you know what happened, I had to read “The Gathering” again. Sigh.

Maya doesn’t know much about her background except that she was adopted when a baby and raised in a tiny town in the middle of a forest with other families who work for the St. Cloud’s, a research facility which owns the town. She grew to love animals, and seemed to have a special healing touch when it came to helping wounded ones. She has a small paw print on her hip, and things seem to get weird when she is called a witch by an old woman. Maya looks up the ancient Navajo word she was called, and finds out it means “shape shifter.”

She meets Rafe and his sister Annie, who also have the paw print, and finds out that Annie can shift into a cougar and that the same fate awaits her and Rafe. While trying to get her mind around this, a stranger appears in town trying to find out more about what’s going on in the research labs of the St. Cloud’s and asking strange questions about the teens in town. When that reporter is found dead, and a forest fire is deliberately set to clear everyone out of the town, the mystery thickens.

“The Gathering” leaves its readers wondering what will happen next as everyone is forced to abandon the burning forest and leave Annie behind, who has shifted but can’t be found. I’m hoping “The Calling” will have lots of answers.

A great read for grades 8-12.


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