Sunday, April 6, 2014

The Gathering Dark by Christine Johnson (Review)

Young Adult, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Publication.Date:February 12, 2013
Pages:512 (paperback)
Published By:  Simon Pulse
Website:Christine Johnson 

The Gathering Dark on Goodreads
My review copy:
Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Where to get:

A mysterious teen boy knows the secrets of Keira’s dangerous hallucinations in this gripping romantic fantasy from the author of Claire de Lune.

Keira’s hallucinating. First it’s a door hovering above the road; then it’s a tree in her living room. But with her parents fighting and her best friend not speaking to her, Keira can’t tell anyone about her breakdown.

Until she meets Walker. They have an electric connection, and somehow he can see the same shadowy images plaguing Keira.

But trusting Walker may be more dangerous than Keira could have ever imagined. The more she confides in him, the more intense—and frightening—her visions become. Because Walker is not what he appears to be. And neither are her visions.


Kiera nodded. "Sorry. I swear I'm not usually that girl. I kill my own spiders and everything."

Walker threw back his head and laughed. "I'll remember that. Maybe I'll have you kill my spiders. I'll deal with the gulls and you can handle that eight-legged things."
"Anyway, my parents - they thought they were protecting me. I know they really believed that it was the right thing to do. Sometimes, though . . ." He paused. His eyes met hers and his gaze prowled through her. "Sometimes it's hard to know which thing is the right one."
"Mad?" Kiera interrupted, leaping to stand so hat they'd be on equal footing. Not that it made much difference. He still towered over her. "Mad doesn't even begin to cover it."

He ran a hand over his face. "Okay. I get it. You're infused with the righteous furry of the endangered and disenfranchised."

For as wonderful as this synopsis makes this book sound, it unfortunately fell short to my expectations. Kiera is an only child in a household where the parents couldn't be more out of love if they tried. Unfortunately this affects Kiera in the sense that in their effort to avoid one another, they are also - unintentionally - avoiding Kiera as they're never home.

Kiera deals with this by constantly playing her baby grand piano, a gift from her Uncle Pike. Her dream is to one day apply to Julliard and make a career out of playing. To accomplish this, she avoids any and all distractions. She doesn't have, nor does she want, a boyfriend and her only friend is Susan. I admired Kiera's dedication and determination to make something out of herself through her love, and pure talent, of playing the piano.

Once she meets Walker at her favorite music store, Take Note, she begins to feel the temptation of straying for a boy. She avoids him for a while and their first "date" comes around as she lost a bet and refuses to renege on the deal. Of course, this date eventually leads to more and she finds herself to be attracted to Walker. But as our synopsis informs us, Walker is not all that he seems to be.

The plot started off good, and although the main aspects of the story didn't begin until page 200, I found those 200 pages to be the strongest. The middle of the novel dragged and I found myself wishing to just get on with the plot. Things are revealed slowly and I wanted things to hurry along. The middle of the novel should be the most interesting and attention grabbing, but I found it to be the slowest paced. I did find it to pick up again at the end, but by the time I got there, I wasn't feeling it. I do think the solution to their problem is rather cheesy: Their love saved them! Please note that they've only known each other for a few weeks. It isn't an instalove, but it's terribly close to one.

However, I did take a liking to Kiera. It was refreshing to see a female main character not immediately fall for the guy in the novel because she doesn't want to change her life goals. Even once everything goes to hell in a hand basket, she refuses to give up on her dream of Julliard

I'm conflicted, to be quite honest. I loved the beginning, wasn't fond of the middle, but liked the end. I know above I said by that point I wasn't feeling it, but the writing was well done and aside from the cheesy solution, I thought the wrap up was relatively interesting. Overall, Christine's writing is good and her characters believable, I was just not as invested in the plot as I had hoped.

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