Friday, May 20, 2011

My (revised) Take On: The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong

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.
Until now.
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.
So, yeah...
I already said what I thought while I was reading this book, and incase you missed that you can read it here. But in case you don't like chasing links or whatever, I'll just summarize my pre-review by saying this: I was less than pleased and slightly more than bored.
However!
Have you ever read a book that was better in retrospect? It just didn't seem that great while you were actively reading it, but once it was over and you had all the pieces in a row, it was better? Maybe not fully redeemed, but better. Well, this turned out to be one of those books.
I was underwhelmed while reading The Gathering, but as soon as I set it down and mulled it over for a bit1, I came to see that, not only was it not that bad, it was actually pretty good. Just, not while you're reading it.
It's hard to explain.
Like, while I was reading, the lack of action2--and not just fight scenes, but the lack of action taken by the characters--bugged me and made it seem too easy and like there just wasn't a story; but after finishing it, I realized that, hey, this was actually a good story that must have been somewhat hard to tell because the kids didn't know that the company which provided such a high standard of living for their families is evil to its blackened core.They have to figure out what we already know.
And, yes, the ease with which the characters seemed to gain and then dismiss important information was frustrating. They'd just realize something and then say, "Well, now doesn't seem like the right time to deal with this--I'm too hungry, and my friend stubbed his toe, and I need to feed the pine marten--so I'll just sit on this importante tidbit for a few days."
But by the end3, it had much improved. Something was happening!
So. I give The Gathering...
...3 zombies.
It took forever and a day to get going, and it ended right when it was getting good, but I like where the series seems to be headed so I'm looking forward to seeing what develops--especially in regards to certain characters' abilities...

i am
zombie girrrl
& this got
betterbetterbetter
but then
it ended

footnotes_________________________________________________________
1. "A bit" being about 30 minutes.
2. For the first 230 of 359 pages, hardback.
3. Which, let me warn you now, is one of the biggest cliff hangers I've ever read. Seriously, the scene just ended in the middle of the action and I was like, "Wait. That's the end? It had just gotten good!"

1 comment:

Sandy said...

I can't wait for Book 2, have you read the synopsis for that one? Looks like the kids get stranded in the middle of the woods and that to me just screams adventure. I enjoyed this first book, I read nonstop basically but like you said not a lot of action, it was a lot of Maya figuring out what the reader already knows but near the end it got awesome and then ended with a cliffhanger -stab stab-

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