The Calling by Kelley Armstrong
Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: HarperCollins US / Random House Canada
Release date: April 10, 2012
Series: Darkest Rising #2
Source: Random House Canada
Reviewed by: Tynga
On the heels of the wildly popular The Gathering comes the second in the "Darkness Rising" YA trilogy from NYT bestselling author Kelley Armstrong.
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.
Maya’s life was turned upside-down in The Gathering and things aren’t getting better in The Calling. Maya and her friends were shipped off their island to escape a forest fire, but the pilot isn’t heading to main land as he should. When the teens realizes the mayor was drugged they freak out and cause an helicopter crash. Something is wrong – really wrong- and so the teens flee the site and try to reach their parents, pursued by who knows who…
Finally some answers! The Gathering was all about questions, and The Calling finally brings some answers to the table. In the mist of a very traumatic event, the teens realizes someone is hunting them and they start to put one and one together. Daniel has always been able to rally people to his opinions, but what if there is more behind it? Sam gets weird vibes from some people, what is it about? And what of Corey’s migraines? Well, The Calling will give you the answers to almost all of those questions.
My favourite aspect of this second instalment was the fact that the teens took matters in their own ends. They are isolated in the forest, it’s freezing cold and they have to get back to civilization to get help. Easier said than done and Maya’s and Daniel’s leadership was the only thing keeping them together. Maya is having a very hard time mentally though. Rafe fell off the helicopter minutes before it crashed, so she has to deal with this loss on top of everything. I was really proud of her for holding on and Daniel was simply amazing supporting her along the way.
Happening over the course of 3-4 short days (which seemed like a small eternity for our heroes), the plot really flew by. It was all about survival and finding answers in the process so the pace was fast and furious. I was really engrossed in the story and the different ambushes our young protagonists faced seemed very plausible in the midst of everything happening.
Kelley Armstrong included some reference to the events happening in the first trilogy (Darkest Powers) which makes me think we might re-visit some of those characters in the third and final book. It was nice to have a link to this first series and maybe Chloe and friends can help Maya and hers shed light on their remaining interrogations.
By the end of the novel I was totally breathless and I’m really anxious for The Rising. The teens aren’t out of trouble yet – far from it- and I must know what happens next. Some of them were captured, will we see them again? And what’s up with Nicole? I need to know!
The Darkest Rising trilogy is a great fit for younger teens, but adults will enjoy it too. Fans of the Darkest Powers trilogy will love this spin-off and if you haven’t read the first series, worry not, there’s no need to read it first. I strongly suggest you give Kelley Armstrong’s young adult books a try!