The Gathering: 02/16/12
The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong is the first of the Darkness Rising series. It brings together so many of my interests that it's hard for me to write a review that doesn't just dissolve into a pure fandom ranting. If rural Canada, secret labs, Native American creation myths and shape changing aren't your thing, then The Gathering won't be your cup of tea. If they are, then you will probably love the book.
Maya Delaney lives with her adoptive parents on Vancouver island (not to be confused with Vancouver city) in British Columbia, Canada. Her father is a ranger and he like everyone else works for the lab that owns the town. Think Eureka but set in Canada.
Maya is still reeling from the death of her best friend, Serena, a girl who was on the high school swim team and new the lake better than anyone. Despite that, she somehow drowned over the summer. Serena and she had planned to head into town for Maya's birthday to get her paw print shaped birthmark made more permanent through tattooing. When Maya and her mother make the trip, Maya's life is turned upside down and that's where the book for me when from pretty damn good to fricking amazing.
Before I explain why, let me step back and discuss the cover. It's a photograph of a girl in 3/4 profile. She has dark hair, dark eyes, red lips and blue to turquoise skin. Even before opening the book the cover made me think of Turquoise Woman who is an aspect of Changing Woman in the Navajo creation myths. Carrie Schechter, the photographer of the cover, acknowledges the desire to convey Maya's Native American heritage, but doesn't specifically mention the Diné connection.
The tattoo parlor, though, does. While there, Maya who suspects she's Native American, but doesn't know specifically from which people, is recognized as Diné. But there must be something wrong with her as the Diné don't give up their children. The birthmark, though, seals everything for the old woman and she exclaims Yee n'aldooshi. And that's when I feel head over heels in squee for The Gathering.
I'm including a long list of other reviews that go more into the YA aspects of the book. As there are so many reviews on that piece of the book, I decided to stick with the pieces that made me jump up and down with excitement instead.
I am eagerly awaiting the second book, The Calling which comes out April 2012.
Recommended by A Page Turner 4 U
Comment #1: Thursday, February, 16 2012 at 22:52:05
I really enjoyed this one, too even though it was a little slow, the setting really reeled me in. Unfortunately the Australian cover isn't as appealing as this one, though!
Comment #2: Friday, February 16, 2012 at 17:45:25
I didn't find the book slow but maybe I was just too tied up in familiarity to notice.