Kelley Armstrong does it again with her newest foray into the teen genre. Known for her Women of the Otherworld series for adult readers, she recently entered the growing teen marketplace with her Darkest Powers trilogy. The Gathering features the same mythos as featured in these past endeavors, but introduces a brand new set of teenage characters. Knowledge of her previous books is not a requirement since everything is explained in full which makes The Gathering a great place for new fans to being, as well as a fun romp in the Otherworld for those who are already familliar with Kelley’s action-packed world of urban fantasy.
Maya is a small-town teen, struggling to cope with the recent loss of her best friend. With less than two hundred people, no shopping mall, and no movie theater, there’s not much to distract a girl from her problems. Her other best friend, Daniel, is struggling with his own problems at home which leaves little time for the two to comiserate over the mysterious drowning of their friend and classmate.
In a school with only sixty-eight students, it’s hard to do anything without everyone else knowing about it (though the medical research facility that supplies the town with everything it needs seems to keep its secrets relatively quiet). When Rafael arrives at the school from parts unknown and begins flirting with every girl in her class, Maya is far from flattered when he finally turns his attention to her. When things get out of control at her birthday party, she realizes she has even more to worry about when it comes to the attentions of this new bad boy.
Unfortunately Rafael is not the only newcomer to worry about on Vancouver Island. Another mysterious stranger appears in the woods and begins asking questions about the nearby medical facility, which only stirs up more anxiety with the locals. Maya soon finds herself investigating the loss of her friend and what connections it could have to the St. Cloud Corporation’s mysterious research.
Hardly a chapter passes without pages filled with action and intrigue. There is enough teenaged romance to flutter the hearts of readers without overdoing it by becoming cliched or tedious. Supernatural phenomena is par for the course, but don’t expect any heavy glances from glittery vampires. These teens are practical and tough, making them likable characters for almost any reader.
If you’re in the market for a light and fun summer beach read, The Gathering is a perfect pick for both teens and adults. A bonus to being shelved in the teen section is the fact that its price is about ten dollars less than the average adult hardcover, which also makes it an attractive choice for readers who want to watch their pocket books while being thoroughly entertained.