The Calling by Kelley Armstrong
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
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.
I've been a huge Kelley Armstrong fan ever since I first discovered Bitten in 2008. And I've been very pleased with her transition into YA since then. While I always have the lingering feeling that I would have enjoyed her YA more while I was a younger teen, this is at no fault of the author. Her YA books are always well-written and consistent, if slightly subdued.
The Calling is a strong sequel and perhaps an altogether stronger book than it's predecessor. One thing that truly impressed me is that I'm not recognizing her characters from other series. With time, certain authors become bland because while their characters change in appearance and background, they essentially remain the same in personality. This is not a problem with Kelley Armstrong. Her characters are truly different. I don't automatically recognize the romantic interest as a poorly veiled repeat from a previous novel. The romantic interest isn't always the handsome guy, the nice guy, the misunderstood guy, or even the dangerous guy. Every character is a stranger at first. And it's always a pleasure to make their acquaintance.
My only complaint with this novel is that its setting is limited in scope. Her Women of the Otherworld series (originally, at least) is very much rooted in Jeremy's house. But we also get a nice sense of Elena's world away from the Pack. We feel the contrast between civilization with all its technology- and the Pack with its natural wilds. In the Darkest Powers series, the portrayal of the Lyle House is creepily excellent.
The Darkness Rising series has a lot of movement and nature to comprise its setting, but very little depth and sense of direction. I understand that this is partially due to the nature of the kids' escape. But I felt the setting was handled much better in Darkest Powers where kids were also on the run.
The Calling is another success for Armstrong. I'd recommend (re)reading The Summoning before reading The Calling as I found that I often needed to refresh my memory.
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