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.
The lasting impression I had from The Gathering was that the ending was weak, making me very glad I didn't read it upon release and had the second book on hand to continue the story. In fact, book one and two could have been combined as The Gathering was all about introductions and nothing else. Don't get me wrong, I liked both the setting and getting to know Maya. She is a great character in that she's outdoorsy, not so fussed about boys and has a male best friend. Who is just that. A friend. She's also not hung up on being adopted, the family that raised her are her family, end of story. Plus, as a long time fan, I liked all the hints about the Otherworld, and the prospect about learning more about the St Cloud cabal, but nothing about The Gathering wowed me. However, the day I don't like Armstrong's writing will be a sad one, but plot-wise, she's following the normal formula of her previous books.
Moving onto The Calling, and here are when my review gets vague in order to avoid spoilers. The plot finally begins to move forward, even if again, it's following the same sort of story line from The Darkest Powers series. More action, dark secrets being revealed, as are true personalities, this is the type of story that I have come to expect from Armstrong and was missing in The Gathering.
The final book in the trilogy, The Rising, was probably my favourite out of the three. Lots of action again with the characters having to make hard choices, and the addition of some cameos from previous Armstrong novels. I was kept pretty happy, although I'm not sure about the final resolution. It's hard to convey my disappointment without being spoilery. Lets just say that while I wasn't surprised, I would have preferred something a little more open ended.
If you're a fan of The Otherworld series, but haven't tried any of Armstrong's YA books, then I would thoroughly recommend reading them some time soon. I'd still recommend them even if you've never heard of Kelley Armstrong before! The Darkness Rising is a solid paranormal series with some great characters and no vampires in sight...not that I dislike vampires, but I like when authors introduce me to different types of supernatural creatures...and that's as spoilery as I'm going to get.