The Rising by Kelley Armstrong
Series: Darkness Rising #3
Published by ATOM
Source: Purchased myself
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Also in this series: The Gathering
Things are getting desperate for Maya and her friends. Hunted by the powerful St. Clouds and now a rival Cabal as well, they're quickly running out of places to hide. And with the whole world thinking they died in a helicopter crash, it's not like they can just go to the authorities for help.
All they have is the name and number of someone who might be able to give them a few answers. Answers to why they're so valuable, and why their supernatural powers are getting more and more out of control.
But Maya is unprepared for the truths that await her. And now, like it or not, she'll have to face down some demons from her past if she ever hopes to move on with her life. Because Maya can't keep running forever.
Thoughts: I’d been looking forward to The Rising for 4 years; I kid you not. Back in 2009, when I met Kelley at one of her rare UK signings, she said she’d be bringing together the characters from the Darkest Powers series with those from her new trilogy. As the “Biggest. Fan. EVA.” of Darkest Powers, this was pretty much the best news I could have heard.
So, not meeting Chloe, Derek and the rest of the gang until the last 100 pages? That was a complete let down. I wanted to see how Maya and the gang interacted, but what we saw was minimal (I think there were about 30 pages of real dialogue) else only referenced to (“Chloe and I talked about X, and decided Y”). Those few interactions were brilliant, but there was nowhere near enough. Fail.
As for the rest of the book? Well, it felt a bit unfocussed. Unlike The Gathering – which introduced the characters and revealed that “All Is Not Well.” – and The Calling – which was the action-packed, we’re-on-the-run book – this final book had no real focus. I guess I could say The Rising was the “Let’s all be reasonable adults and be boring” book… so yeah, not much fun. This all culminated into a series ending which I found rather unsatisfying. It was logically the best way to wrap up the books, but at the same time it managed to undermine almost everything that the kids had fought for. So, logical? Yes. Satisfying? Nope.
Same went for the love triangle in this novel. First off, I felt like the triangle aspect pretty much came out of nowhere. Second, unlike the Derek/Chloe/Simon resolution, I had no die-hard favourites in the race. I would have been happy if she’d pulled a Lilith St.Crow and left us without a resolution.
On the plus side: it’s still Kelley Armstrong. The Rising is tightly written, and fits a mammoth amount of character development and plot into its 400 pages. Not to mention it has Chloe, Derek, Simon and Tori in it – which alone is enough to give the book a read!
Bottom line: Even when Kelley Armstrong is disappointing, she’s still rather brilliant. I finished The Rising in a day and was – on the whole – happy with how she decided to end her YA series.
The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong
Series: Darkness Rising #1
Published by ATOM
Genres: Paranormal YA, Young Adult
Source: Purchased myself
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Also in this series: The Rising
Sixteen-year-old Maya is just an ordinary teen in an ordinary town. Sure, she doesn't know much about her background - the only thing she really has to cling to is an odd paw-print birthmark on her hip - but she never really put much thought into who her parents were or how she ended up with her adopted parents in this tiny medical-research community on Vancouver Island.
Strange things have been happening in this claustrophobic town - from the mountain lions that have been approaching Maya to her best friend's hidden talent for "feeling" out people and situations, to the sexy new bad boy who makes Maya feel . . . . different. Combine that with a few unexplained deaths and a mystery involving Maya's biological parents and it's easy to suspect that this town might have more than its share of skeletons in its closet.
Thoughts: I’ll admit it, I almost didn’t want to read this book. I was such a huge fan of the Darkest Powers series and was pretty terrified that this newest trilogy wouldn’t live up to my expectations. And while it is certainly not as fierce as The Awakening or The Reckoning, I’d say it is most certainly the first book in a fantastic new Kelley Armstrong series.
Let’s start off with our new heroine, Maya. For starters, she’s a lot more experienced than Chloe – she’s confident in all sorts of social situations, with guys, and holds no prisoners even when speaking to her parents. Even though Chloe could certainly stand up for herself, Maya let’s no one think she can’t handle herself. This is a girl who can – literally – scare off a cougar… she’s awesome. And just because she’s tough, it doesn’t make her mean. Yeah, she has quite a few defense mechanisms in place to stop from getting emotionally hurt, but she isn’t bitchy in the least.
I also adored Maya’s relationship with her adoptive parents. Armstrong avoids all the parental YA tropes! If you want to read a realistic, loving relationship between two parents and their daughter, then read The Gathering. In fact, Armstrong gets an A+ for all characters in this novel. Love interest Rafe was fabulous. Slightly twisted by circumstance, but fundamentally a good guy. Reminded me of Derek despite being nothing at all like Derek. In fact, this entire book reminded me of its predecessor trilogy despite being very, very different…
Then there’s the plot. Although the book left me going “what! that’s it! I need MORE!”, it is by no means lacking in substance. While those of us who have read the Darkest Powers trilogy might see a couple of clues that first-time Armstrong fans will not, by the end of the book, I’m certain you’ll be just as mystified as everyone else. After I finished The Gathering, I filled my Books Moleskine with over a dozen questions I wanted answered asap. I wasn’t sure what side I should be on, I didn’t know who the bad guys were, and I sure didn’t know whether or not Maya was making the right decision. All the same thoughts/feelings I had after reading The Summoning!
Ok, so I tried and failed to review this book without mentioning the first trilogy… but read that as the compliment it is meant to be!
Bottom line? Kelley Armstrong can do no wrong. Read this. Now.