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A Reader of Fictions: Review: The Calling

A Reader of Fictions

Book Reviews for Just About Every Kind of Book

Monday, April 8, 2013

Review: The Calling

The Calling
Darkness Rising, Book 2

Author: Kelley Armstrong
Pages: 326
Publisher: Harper
Source: YA Books Central for review

Description from Goodreads:
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.

Previous Book in Series:
1: The Gathering

First Sentence: "I don't know who was more anxious—Daniel or Kenjii—but they weren't making this emergency helicopter evacuation any easier."

While I wouldn't necessarily rank Kelley Armstrong as one of my favorite authors, she is one author whose books I do always look forward to reading. They're just so much fun from beginning to end, with action and romance and humor. They're like Cheez-Its or potato chips, super tasty snack food that you just have to have and cannot get enough of. The Calling has pretty much convinced me that I like the Darkness Rising series even better than the Darkest Powers trilogy which preceded it, due to the awesome characters and constant action.

It's been about two years since I read The Gathering, so I was really afraid I would remember enough to be parse what was going on, but Armstrong does a nice job refreshing everything, so, while there are some things I don't remember, I've got what I need to know. So, if it's been some time since you read book one, no worries!

The Calling starts with a bang, as the book picks up where The Gathering left off, with the kids (Maya, Daniel, Rafe, Sam, Nicole, Hayley, and Corey) having just been rescued from a forest fire along with the mayor. Things quickly go from bad to worse, as the mayor collapses and suspicion turns to the helicopter pilot who's rescuing them and flying them in the wrong direction. They manage to subdue the helicopter pilot, but that, unfortunately, means no one's flying the helicopter, though they do have enough skill between them to not totally crash it. Until the helicopter pilot wakes up and does it for them. That opening scene is insanely action-packed. Can you say hooked?

Anyway, they mostly survive, but now they have to Hatchet their way through the wilderness while trying to avoid the supposed rescuers out to capture them and do who knows what to them. Meanwhile, they're dealing with the reality of the fact that they all appear to have paranormal powers of some sort and wondering whether they can all really trust each other. I won't go into any details on that stuff, because you should enjoy the drama for yourself. I will say, though, that the romantic element is kept very minor in this book, which I thought was a nice respite from the whole love triangle thing.

Though The Calling was a complete and total blast to read, there were some elements of the plot that felt manufactured and overly convenient. Basically, they're running around and being chased at all turns, and they keep dropping off one at a time, sort of like And Then There Were None. Also, they were strangely mature about everything; every team member acknowledged that the survival of the group was worth the sacrifice of the one, and they were all eager to be sacrifices. This seemed a little ridiculous to me, especially given that some of them weren't even great friends. There's also a scene where Maya has this great idea to get into a truck with this creepy guy, bringing Sam with her. Yeah, she has a plan, but he's so obviously a freaking bad guy and the whole thing just made me headdesk.

Despite those drawbacks, The Calling is an awesome read, and I could hardly put it down. Even better, I love the way the ending set up The Rising, and I am very excited to read that one next.

Rating: 3.5/5

Favorite Quote: "I'd always thought of myself as an open-minded person. I had no patience with anyone who put down other kids because of their race, religion, or sexuality. But that's just one kind of open-mindedness. There's another kind, too, the kind that's willing to see people for who they really are and admit when you're wrong about them. That's the part I still had to work on."

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Blogger Jenni said...

hmmmm I haven't read any books in this series so I just read your first and last paragraph and checked the rating and I think I want to start this eventually. This doesn't seem like the kind of book I would pin you to like so that is saying something. Also the covers are really pretty. Like really pretty. So you agree? You think they're pretty? ahem. sorry but that just came out.

Anywho, I really liked her Darkest Powers series so I think I will have to start this one at some point.

April 8, 2013 at 9:52 AM  
Blogger Amy said...

This sounds like a great series. I have been wanting to read it for a while. I didn't read your full review since I do plan on reading these books someday lol. I did see the words love triangle though *groan*, but then saw the reference to And Then There Were None, so I am intrigued. And now I really want potato chips. Lol!!

April 8, 2013 at 10:04 AM  
Blogger Becky LeJeune said...

I'm SLOOOOWLY working my way through Armstrong's adult series and have the first two books in this particular trilogy waiting for when I finish. I'm not sure why it's taken me so long to read these in the first place. I started gathering them up and sending them to my sister ages ago and then began collecting a second set for myself but only dove into the Women of the Otherworld series with one of the latter installments. I actually love them (I enjoy certain characters more than others) and am really looking forward to the YA titles. I think real life is inhibiting my reading time!

April 8, 2013 at 10:15 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Really? You didn't think I'd like it? I actually debated about a four, but I think it lacked some of the depth needed to get the four, but on enjoyability for sure. The covers are pretty, but boring, I would say.

You should totes read these. I like it better than Darkest Powers, though Giselle does not agree.

April 8, 2013 at 11:00 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Probably a good idea. The third book's review which I'll post soon is spoiler-free for the series, so that'll be better.

The love triangle really isn't that bad, and pretty much nothing happens with it in this one.

I always want potato chips.

April 8, 2013 at 11:23 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

I didn't like the first book in her adult series, but that was mostly because of the romance. I need to try another.

Did you read the Darkest Powers trilogy? You should read those before you start this trilogy, since they're connected.

April 8, 2013 at 11:34 AM  
Blogger Kimberly @ Caffeinated Reviewer said...

Great review Christina, I like her adult books and this series has been fun, I so agree the ending of this one has me excited for The Rising!

April 8, 2013 at 12:47 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Well, I have not heard much of Kelly Armstrong but this series sounds interesting.
LOVE the covers, too
GREAT review, as always
Your reader,

April 8, 2013 at 12:52 PM  
Blogger Becca @ Nawanda Files said...

I really dislike when plots tend to be a little too "manufactured," as you said, for plot's sake. But I'm glad to hear it's good enough that you're willing to finish the series and you still overall liked it. I haven't had the chance to delve into this series, and with my growing to-read list, I probably won't be able to.

April 8, 2013 at 1:40 PM  
Blogger Giselle said...

Yay I'm excited to get into this one soon! I'm glad she recaps because I forget everything after a few weeks lol. I'm terrible at remembering book details. I'm also not crying over the lack of romance shit in this. Such a travesty, eh? >.<

April 8, 2013 at 3:10 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Ahhhhhhh, I had NO idea you were a Kelley fan. At least I don't think I knew. I read both of these in galley form so it was a long time in between my reading too, but I picked right back up. I liked this one a lot, and am of course anxiously awaiting getting to read the third and final book - excited because I'm hoping she pulls Chloe and Co back in.

This is a really fair review, Christina. I can understand what you meant about a few plot points seeming too convenient. I think I still like the DP trilogy better, but that's mainly because of the awesome romance.

April 8, 2013 at 4:33 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

The Rising does a pretty good job of delivering on the ending. You should be excited!

April 8, 2013 at 4:57 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Really? How did you miss her? She's a big name in paranormal!

April 8, 2013 at 4:57 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Oh yeah, if I rated on enjoyment alone, this would definitely be a four, and I was tempted, but the plot was formulaic enough in the way they dealt with issues that I couldn't quite do it.

April 8, 2013 at 4:58 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Woo! I didn't know you hadn't read this one yet! You're always fangirling over Armstrong. lol. The romance being gone was a big plus. She does a pretty good job with the love triangle, but I never shipped her with either guy.

April 8, 2013 at 5:01 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Ha, I'm not exactly sure what that means about your impression of me, but I do enjoy her. As I said, not my favorite, but I do get excited when she has a new YA book out. Not into her adult ones yet, but I'm going to try again.

Yeah, Derek and Chloe I shipped really hard when I read DP, and I don't have those feelings for any couple here.

April 8, 2013 at 5:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And oh my goodness, blogger ate my comment. Okay, let's try again. I wasn't too keen on this but I did enjoy the setting. Vancouver Island is gorgeous.

April 8, 2013 at 10:01 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Awww, sorry. Blogger does shit like that sometimes. I loved Vancouver when I visited. I want to go back!

April 8, 2013 at 11:40 PM  
Blogger Becky LeJeune said...

Good to know! I haven't read any of her YA but I think I got the first two Darkest Powers titles for one of my sisters. I'll have to borrow them!

I didn't like the first of the adult books either, though the second book was much better. I actually started with some of the last books in the series and have been working my way backward. Since they each have different characters it seems most of them can be read in any order.

April 9, 2013 at 10:24 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Yeah, I mean, my issues with it were largely the characters, and I think she shifts heroines, so it's unfair of me to DNF the whole series because I thought Clay was an ass. I swear he basically raped her when they first get back together. I was not cool with that. I can't read things in just any order.

I would definitely recommend doing the YA books in order, because it does matter with those for sure.

April 9, 2013 at 10:31 AM  

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