The Gathering Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
Strange things are happening in Maya's tiny Vancouver Island town. First, her friend Serena, the captain of the swim team, drowns mysteriously in the middle of a calm lake. Then, one year later, mountain lions are spotted rather frequently around Maya's home and her reactions to them are somewhat . . . unexpected. Her best friend, Daniel, has also been experiencing unexplainable premonitions about certain people and situations.
It doesn't help that the new bad boy in town, Rafe, has a dangerous secret, and he's interested in one special part of Maya's anatom - her paw-print birthmark.
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|Listening Length||8 hours and 8 minutes|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com Release Date||April 12, 2011|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #53,127 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#103 in Horror Fiction for Teens
#114 in Paranormal Fantasy for Teens
#139 in Paranormal Mystery, Thriller & Suspense for Teens
Reviewed in the United States on November 18, 2021
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In general, though, Salmon Creek is pretty isolated. Which is perfect for a company town built solely for medical research, and just how the St. Cloud Corporation wants it.
Although miles from the nearest town, the residents do not want for much. Their needs are met by the company. Its citizens are happy - even the seventy younger members of the community. And in a world where the young are generally in a state of unrest, this is pretty extraordinary. But signing a contract with the St. Cloud Corporation is a contract for life - hardly anyone is allowed out of their agreement.
While there are few secrets between the residents, there are many secrets about what goes on behind the closed doors at St. Cloud. Corporate espionage is always a risk for medical research companies and residents know to be on high alert for outsiders who ask questions and a plan is in place on just how to deal with them.
But when a stranger arrives who starts asking questions about the local high school students - their background, who their friends are and what activities they participate in - Maya begins to have questions of her own, like how it was possible for her best friend Serena, captain of the swim team, to drown, especially when it looked like she was being pulled under?
There is something definitely something going on in Salmon Creek and Maya wants answers.
The Gathering is a charming and seductive story that will pull readers right in with its easy flow and will leave them begging for the next installment. Questions and suspicions are raised right from the prologue and will continue to grow as the story progresses, leaving readers with only a hint of what may come.
Author Kelley Armstrong has created what appears on its surface to be a straightforward story, with everything right out in the open for the reader to find, but in actuality is one that is far more intricate, with many elements woven in that might not be discovered on first glance. And as this is a series, many of these discoveries will have to await the future books for everything to come together and become clear.
The main character, Maya, is strong, smart and self-assured. She knows what she likes - her friends, the animals she cares for, the outdoors - and is less than forgiving of those that have done her wrong.
So when bad boy Rafe sets his sights on her, Maya is quickly suspicious. But when he shows her a side of himself that he hasn't revealed to anyone else, one that is honest, she breaks all of her rules about not falling for boys she goes to school with.
Maya's friends warned her about Rafe, and even she knows the risk she's taking by giving her heart to him, but she feels a connection with him that she hasn't felt with anyone else. His being new to Salmon Creek might be a part of it, but her pull toward him is much stronger than the novelty of a mysterious outsider.
But he's definitely been hiding something and what he reveals about himself and what he knows about her is more shocking than Maya would ever have guessed.
This new series by the author is fast-paced and riveting and is off to an exciting start. The Gathering gives readers insight into the characters and world as it develops the story that will carry into subsequent books in the series. A few perfectly placed elements are included that begin to link this series with the Darkest Power trilogy and which will eventually fully connect the two.
This is yet another fantastic series by author Kelley Armstrong and one that should not be missed. It can be enjoyed by readers of almost any age, as long as they don't mind being teased along through a book or two until all answers are revealed.
If you've read Ms. Armstrong's other books, particularly her YA series, you already know the basic premise: teenage girl, Maya, thinks she's just a normal teenager living in a really small town created by the local research center for its employees and their families, but it turns out she's not 'normal' at all. Sure, she can heal animals a little to well, and local cougars seem to have taken an odd liking to her, but Maya hasn't yet figured out that those things mean anything special. After her best friend, who happens to be captain of the school swim team, mysteriously drowns, there are hints that perhaps Serena's death wasn't the accident it seemed. Serena's ex-boyfriend Daniel is Maya's new best friend, but there doesn't seem to be anything romantic developing there - yet. Enter new kid in town, bad boy Rafe, and Maya's (of course) inexplicable attraction to him. Turns out Rafe knows a lot about Maya that he's not telling, at least at first.
This is pretty standard for most YA novels these days. And for those who have read the previous trilogy, we already know the research facility isn't what it seems, and that people who have "Dr." in front of their name are not to be trusted. What makes the book special is Armstrong's deft characterization and solid, familiar worldbuilding. Unlike other reviewers, I liked Maya immediately. I also liked that she wasn't perfect, and that she realized some of her own flaws toward the end of the book (after they were pointed out to her). Yes, the book is a slow build, but so was The Summoning, which also ended on a cliffhanger, seemingly just when the story was really taking off. I'm mystified at the disappointment and surprise people are expressing: this seems no different to me from the structure of previous books in the series - I went in expecting a slower paced first book with a cliffhanger ending. Personally, I am enjoying the introduction of a previously unknown supernatural race from Armstrong's universe. (At least, I don't remember this particular race being mentioned before.) Werewolves and necromancers are fun and all, but we've seen them before. Maya is something new!
For those who saw no hint of Daniel's supernatural ability, I'm surprised. The hints were subtle, but there. In one scene, his eyes glowed red. In others, he was faster and stronger than human. Again, this is no different from the hints dropped in the first YA trilogy about other teens and their supernatural abilities. I'm sure in the next book, we'll find out exactly what Daniel and Sam are (I have strong suspicions), as well as Hayley and the others. I found this book to be engaging, and the cliffhanger ending just as tantalizing and frustrating as I've come to expect from Ms. Armstrong. I enjoyed Maya and her animals a great deal, and find I am very curious about Sam, and Daniel. I enjoyed Rafe and his connection with Maya, although I'm expecting some more road bumps along that path, perhaps with best-friend Daniel stepping up to express an interest for more than friendship? I'm also curious if Maya's parents will prove to be villains, or unsuspecting bystanders. Someone in that small town has committed murder, and I'm willing to bet it's someone Maya already knows, and probably trusts.
Overall, I found The Gathering to be a solid Armstrong book, and a great beginning to a new trilogy. Can't wait for more!
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The plot is fairly slow and I'm not sure if it will appeal to readers new to Kelley's world. Personally, I love trying to make all the connections.
Sadly, the book doesn't really finish. It's designed as part one of a trilogy and it's obvious at the end that there's still much more to tell. I don't mind this so much if books are a bit older and I can sit and read them back to back but I imagine there will be a long wait til the next one.
Kelley recently announced her plans to put the Women of the Otherworld series to bed after book 13. Us fans are clutching at whatever we can get so it's positive that there's still the young adult books to look forward to.
As with all of Kelley's books before this, I read this in one sitting. Thank god I'd come off an early shift and was working later the next day! If I'd been early shift the next day as well, I would've been screwed, lol.
I love the new setting and I really like the new characters as well. I think a lot of the Darkest Powers fans were worried about the lack of Chloe, Derek and Simon but I think Maya, Rafe and Daniel are a nice team. I think the first characters you meet in a series always make an impression but I really enjoyed the friendship between Daniel and Maya. Plus I like Maya as a YA lead, she's a good role model.
If you like your supernatural YA and don't mind waiting to finish the story, this is a definite must read.