Title: The Calling (Darkness Rising #2)
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
Publisher: Atom (5th April 2012)
Maya Delaney’s paw-print birthmark is the sign of what she truly is – a skin walker. Experiencing intense connections with the animals that roam the woods outside her home, Maya knows she will soon be able to Shift and become one of them. And she believes there may be others in her small town with surprising talents, including local bad boy Rafe, with whom she shares a powerful secret.
Now Maya and her friends have been forced to flee their homes during a forest fire they suspect was set deliberately. Stranded in the wilderness of Vancouver Island, only their extraordinary abilities can help them get back home. But can Maya really trust her friends? And can she learn how to control her dangerous gift, before it controls her?
Rating: ***** (5 stars)
The Calling is the second book in the Darkness Rising Trilogy by Kelley Armstrong. The Darkness Rising Trilogy is set in the same world as both Armstrong’s Women of the Otherworld (an adult series) and The Darkest Powers Trilogy. There is the suggestion that both The Darkest Powers Trilogy and the Darkness Rising Trilogy may become interlinked in later books on Kelley Armstrong’s website.
This was a rollercoaster of a book.
The Calling starts not long after the events at the end of The Gathering, and keeps going from there. It is non-stop from chapter three to end. The first two chapters of the book set the story, and re-introduce us to the characters. I needed this re-introduction to be honest, as it has been around a year since I last read The Gathering – I just jumped straight into the book.
It was nice to be reunited with Maya. She is just as strong a character as I remembered. She is also very practical, and boy did she need that skill in this book. I also liked her easy camaraderie with her friends, especially with her best friend Daniel and with Corey. It was nice to read the interaction between them, as there was no hint of anything but friendship. It was a nice change from all the love-triangles that seem to have crept into paranormal books post-Twilight. The girls – Sam, Nicole and Hayley – were also brilliantly written and on the whole very brave. I liked the way Armstrong handled a particular revelation about Sam – it was acknowledged, but treated as normal.
The plot of this book was full of twists and bluffs and counter-bluffs. It wasn’t all fast paced action, but there was definitely a tension which pulled me along to the end of the book. Armstrong was very careful to make sure that as a reader we only know what Maya knows, and this worked brilliantly and added to the tension – who was friend, and who was foe? This is a tour-de-force of a second book, but you can definitely tell that it’s the middle of a trilogy as the ending leaves you (or at least me) desperate to pick up the next book.
One of the things I really enjoy about the Darkness Rising trilogy is that Armstrong uses supernaturals that aren’t really ‘mainstream’ like necromancers, werewolves and vampires. So if you’re looking for something a little different in the Urban Fantasy genre then this is definitely one series to consider. You should also consider it if you like strong female characters, with believable and likable secondary characters.