This was definitely one of the books I’ve been most excited for! I love Kelley Armstrong. This is book two in the Darkness Rising Trilogy. He first trilogy for YA was the Darkest Powers trilogy. And so far, while both series deal with teens having some extraordinary abilities, they have been pretty much separate. Different characters, different location, different abilities, etc. I have a feeling though that book 3 in this series will be involving my favorite characters from the first trilogy. And that’s all I will say about the ending of this one; it hints at some major series mingling to come. And I am so ready for this!
This first book ended with all the teens escaping the forest fire, and being taken away by helicopter to possible safety. I remember writing in my blog post about it that the characters all felt they were being rescued, but I knew there was a possibility for disaster, and I was right! It turns out that a not-so-good, mayor-drugging person was driving the plane. Too bad for him though, that the kids he wants to kidnap are not really all aware of their abilities. Like Daniel has no idea how he manages to knock out the pilot so quickly. And before you know it, someone (actually, I’ll tell you: Rafe) is falling out of the plane at a very high altitude, and the plane is crashing.
The mayor, the pilot, and Rafe are all assumed dead. Though, not to spoil too much, but if you know anything about YA love triangles, one part of the triangle definitely can’t die in book 2. The rest of the kids have to survive some serious Canadian wilderness with no food or water. They also quickly learn to not wait for a rescue because one of their own is shot by potential rescuers and then taken…
Oh, and Maya’s dad (actual biological dad who she’s never met) is one of the people chasing after these kids. And Maya is the only one to start who really is aware of her growing power, which she knows will eventually shift her into a wildcat. Everyone else’s abilities are a bit of a shock for the characters, and their dangerous elements can either help the kids survive or hinder their ability to do so.
And the kids are almost caught so many times. Actually, two of them are. They’re constantly being shot at and yelled at. There’s traps, bargains, and some serious moments of underestimating what Maya and her friends can do. And each character has their own reason for doing things. Maya clearly can’t give up on Rafe. And Rafe can’t give up on finding his sister. Daniel falls deeper and deeper for Maya in this one and his friendship with her really reminds me of the friendship that grew to be a lot more in Kimberly Derting’s The Body Finder .
Though, this book did not have much on the romance side of things. It was more about survival. And I was okay with this, as long as the romantic stuff eventually gets resolved. I was too focused on the action. I loved the action. I loved the leadership roles Maya and Daniel took on. I loved really getting to know some of the other characters/teens. I loved how the stuff with Maya’s best fried’s death is so not over and new suspicions arise. I loved watching Maya transform! And Daniel’s abilities are so cool too! There are some serious mythology elements that will come to pass soon as well.
And everyone knows how I feel about plain crashing/surviving stories! I mean Libba Bray’s Beauty Queens was my number one book of 2011. And the forest in this book really acted as such an amazing place for these kids to really learn about each other and themselves.
My only qualm about it is that I really felt like Maya could have been a little bit smarter. Not all main characters need to be super intelligent. And I get that Maya has some other qualities about her that make her a strong leader, but really how many times can she just blindly trust what others tell her? Most YA heroines learn not do this by the first pages of book 1. We’re on our way to book 3, and I really don’t feel as though as Maya has learned too much at all about trust or love, for that matter. Why does she have to be so blind to Daniel? And okay, her ability to trust and her lack of knowledge about those who are in love with her, definitely give her a naïve yet incredibly kind and good-souled type personality, but still. I’m a little tired of the kindness.
Regardless, I loved this book to pieces. And read it super fast. I give it a 9/10. And at this point, will read anything with Kelley Armstrong’s name on it. She has won my appreciation completely. And meeting her at the RT Booklovers Convention was one of the coolest things I got to do!