I couldn't find a good short quote for this review title either :(.
I was actually pleasantly surprised with this book. I had never read anything by Armstrong, and the whole "shape-shifter" thing seems kind of overplayed right now with all of the werewolves everywhere, but I think this was a nice change of pace. Especially since the "skin walkers" don't turn into wolves - they turn into big cats!
As much as I hate when characters close to the protagonist die in books and in movies, I think it really worked well here. While it seemed like something that could be passed off as a freak accident, the mystery that comes out of Serena's death is really interesting. Especially since it's barely touched on in this novel. I feel like Maya has a lot of digging to do in the next two books.
And speaking of Maya, I thought she was very real and very relateable. Some of her actions and reactions might have been a little off from what I would have expected, but at the same time she's not exactly a normal teenage girl. There are so many internal conflicts going on with her that you can't really expect her to be an average high schooler. Plus, the town she lives in is totally weird. Sure, the residents pass it off as not being so bad, but a medical research town in the literal middle of nowhere just lends itself to being a little... strange. I wonder what secrets they're hiding that they have to be so far removed from society?
Though the setting was mostly in Canada, I kind of wish Armstrong had done a little more world building and some more explanation of things. Like, what is a witch-hunter? Why did the "reporter" want Daniel to research them? What is Daniel's role in all of this? What about Maya, why did her birth parents really give her away? Are there more "skin walkers" around than what we know?
While the pacing wasn't too bad, I felt like the book ends kind of abruptly. It definitely made me want to pick up the next book, The Calling, ASAP! Overall, for having kind of an overplayed plot and for some minor things that bothered me, I would give The Gathering a 3/5. I would recommend it to fans of supernatural YA, or for someone looking for something similar to the werewolf stories but maybe a little different.