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At First Sight: Maya lives in a tiny town in Vancouver called Salmon Creek, where everything belongs to the St. Clouds, the corporation that founded the town to house it's employees as they work on medical research in complete privacy.
Maya has lived there since she was 5, when her father became warden of the forest that surrounds the town. And if it takes a good hour drive to get to another town, and there isn't much in the way of entertainment, Maya is quite happy there.
That was until her best friend Serena, captain of the swim team, mysteriously drowned before Maya's own eyes. A year later, Maya is still confused about what happened that day and thinking that maybe it's time she got some answers.
Throw in her best friend Daniel, who is the leader of her group of friends and has a protective streak a mile wide, and Rafe, the new guy in town who acts like a player and it's suddenly interested in Maya, and you pretty much got the makings of this book.
Second Glance: Okay, so The Gathering is the first book in the Darkness Rising Trilogy, which is set in the same world as the Darkest Powers trilogy and even though word is both series will intersect at some point, The Gathering is quite far removed from Darkest Powers so far.
Maya has a very distinct voice -and very different from Chloe's, the narrator of DP - and is a generally likable person, as is Daniel, and they are both wholesome and 'normal'. Things shake up when Rafe starts to fixate his ever wavering attention on Maya, and when it turns out he has a secret that might affect Maya as well, and I was really quite entertained with the first part of the book, but once Rafe's secret comes out... I felt like the story just ground to a halt and started going in circles.
Up to that point, it had been fun if a bit slice of life-y, but from that point on I felt like nothing happened. Now, I had some information about the book because of my fangirl behavior where Kelley Armstrong YA books are concerned, so I think it's safe to say that I knew stuff the characters didn't but I'm not sure The Gathering is very interestingting or even that understandable without that ouside information.
I know what the St. Clouds really are, I know what the town is really about, but it's never explained and it's never really established how fishy everything is, I know it from the info I carry over from Darkest Powers, but I'm not sure it's understood otherwise.
Bottom Line: Standing alone, I don't see The Gathering making much sense. As a fan of Darkest Powers I think this wasn't a great kick off for Darkness Rising. Will I read the next book? Yeah. Do I think this book was awesome? Nope.