The Gathering (Darkness Rising Series #1)

The Gathering (Darkness Rising Series #1) - I didn't think I was going to like this book. In fact, I didn't think I was even going to finish it. Now, I'm a fan of Kelley Armstrong's Darkest Powers trilogy, i really liked those. So, I was a bit bewildered when I started this book and the intro and set up were just bad. Never fear, though, it does get better and it would that it's worth slogging through the first few bad chapters. What makes the first few chapters sketchy is just the set up is some bad writing. I mean, it may be my natural dislike for first person, but in the first few chapters, Maya came off as one of those typical perfect YA characters. Oh, you're a track star? how surprising. You love animals. Wow, you should get an award. It was like that for a few chapters, but all with the weird overtones of her best friend's death as well. So, I was confused...However, it does get better. Around when Maya goes to town to get a tattoo and the tattooists grandmother basically calls her a witch. That's when the fun begins. Maya actually isn't a bad YA heroine. She just kind of comes across as one in the first few chapters... No, but when she's faced with the issue of the 'player' at school, Rafe, chasing after her, I like how she handles herself. I actually ended up just really liking her in general, she handles every situation that's thrown at her with some measure of grace and when the 'big plot point' gets thrown at her she takes it and runs with it. I wasn't as impressed with Rafe... Is he really the romantic interest of the book? Because I wasn't feeling him... He annoyed me from the first half and just bothered me from the second. He had some great moments, especially when he was taking care of his sister, but then he had moments where he just didn't do it for me. Sometimes I think YA authors are trying to push the 'sexy bad boy' thing way too hard. This came across as trying a little bit too hard in Rafe's case... Daniel though, Daniel was great. Daniel and Maya's relationship was perfect (which means if he somehow turns into potential love triangle OTHER love interest, I will be seriously upset). I loved how he and Maya had a friendship that was just that, it was just friendship. I really hope it stays like that because it was great. I think it was the premise of the story that did it for me. I really liked the fact that Maya was a Native (or part Native?) and her attachment to animals and nature. I really liked that it's about Shifters into animals that aren't werewolves. That's great. Also the whole suspicious drug testing/genetic engineering plot was great when it was introduced even though it was left totally hanging. 3.5 stars is a little more of an accurate rating for me... Overall a rocky start in the beginning but turned out to be a really enjoyable read all together.