September 7, 2012

Werewolves and Skinwalkers, Oh My!


Following last night's Creature Feature on werewolves and skin-walkers (briefly mentioned), it's time for Kelley Armstrong's The Calling the second in The Darkness Rising series!

I also haven't read the first one yet. Whoops!

SPOILERS AHEAD FOR ANYONE NOT HAVING READ THE GATHERING
Goodreads says:
  Maya Delaney's paw-print birthmark is the mark of what she truly is -a skin-walker. She can run faster, climb higher, and see better than nearly everyone else. Experiencing intense connections with the animals that roam the woods outside her home, Maya knows it's only a matter of time before she's able to Shift and become one of them. And she believes there may be others in her small town with surprising talents.
Now Maya and her friends have been forced to flee from their homes during a forest fire they suspect was deliberately set. Then they're kidnapped, and after a chilling helicopter crash, they find themselves in the Vancouver Island wilderness with nothing but their extraordinary abilities to help them get back home.
In THE CALLING, the sizzling second book in the Darkness Rising trilogy, New York Times bestselling author Kelley Armstrong pumps up the romance, danger, and suspense that left readers of THE GATHERING clamoring for more.
 
So, The Calling is the second in the Darkness Rising series by Kelley Armstrong. I've only ever read one of her books (plus the short story in Enthralled: Paranormal Diversions) so I can't aptly judge Armstrong's writing style. But anyways, I went into this thinking it was the beginning of the series and read the first pages a bit confused. Shortly after, Armstrong did give the necessary background info to rehash old readers, but they were especially useful to myself. 
 
What was told: 
  • Maya and the group of six kids she gets stranded with have begun getting chased by the St. Cloud's and the Edison group (hey! I remember them from her other series The Summoning!)
  •  BECAUSE of a girl who had died in The Gathering
  • And then some dude named Rafe helped her understand who she is (a skinwalker)
  • BUT NOW, he's gone missing (and some say that to kill off Rafe would've been madness... or at least, not something that would happen because he's the main love interest duh)
  • Edison group wants them dead. (They need to get their priorities together, trying to make kids into weapons...)
  • They crash land the helicopter there on somewhere in Canada and....
  • apparently everyone in their old town believes them to be dead  
The Gathering started swiftly as the helicopter crash lands and the kids swim to safety. Of course, they're stranded in Canada and have no supplies on hand. You'd think they would die of the freezing cold water there? You're wrong!  What follows is a good portion of the beginning as the kids try, and succeeding, in staying alive. The middle doesn't do much (not that I can remember) except action being thrown in as the kids fight members of Edison in deserted cabins. 
 
I swear, you guys, how does no one find the Edison group super sketch?!
 

The ending was anticlimactic in comparison to the middle where they were fighting and it didn't do so well for me. But that could be because if you're gonna put action, I like to start it off in the beginning and build it up to the end.
 
The characters;  Maya is a stubborn, a bit idiotic, but loveable main character. I thought she felt idiotic due to her wanting to find and/or avenge Rafe (he fell off the helicopter in the beginning...) and it's fine, but at one point, you wanted to slap her. But otherwise, she did the best she could in trying to keep the others safe and get the hell out of the place they fell in and she stood her ground.  
 
The supporting people (mainly Daniel and Nicole because I couldn't stand the rest for a bit) are much more fleshed out than the other six. I think that when Armstrong wanted a group of extraordinary people, she should've stuck with 3-4 main people and not around 5-6 because then you're trying to find ways where they compliment the group without shoving them into there. As well, they had good powers, different than what you normally see in paranormal YA. I'll need to find the first one and read it in order to have a better grasping of the characters. 

The ending installment due in 2013 is set to have two main characters from The Summoning series, so who knows how it'll end. Maybe we can finally destroy Edison because I've never met a group of sketchier adults in YA ever. Ever. That's gotta mean something.

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