Originally posted at Paperback Wonderland.
I make no secret that I loved Kelley Armstrong's Darkest Powers Trilogy, Chloe was an engaging protagonist and Derek was awesome, the plot was creepy, and addictive, and fun. So when The Gathering (Darkness Rising #1) was published I couldn't get it fast enough.
While set in the same universe (most of Armstrong's books are) it lacked... something. While the first series was able to avoid annoying YA clichés, the second one seemed to rely on them too much. The Mary-Sue protagonist with her perfect best friend in love with her (obvious to everyone but her), then the love triangle with an underdeveloped character of a bad boy joining the plot so they could fall madly in... something. Then a transplant of the plot of the previous trilogy, so there would be little to keep the reader guessing. It didn't look good.The second of the series, The Calling, was an outright disappointment. There was a lot of running around, stupid decisions, revelations the reader had already guessed before even picking up the first book of the series, and an ending which left the characters exactly where they were at the beginning. Mediocre. Which is something I'd never thought to associate with Kelley Armstrong.
But believe me when I tell you that The Rising made up for all of it. Yes, even for the mediocre filler of a second book. Because The Rising ties up all the Darkest Powers and the Darkness Rising plots, and it has everything I could have wished for: a new protagonist which should have been there since the beginning, considering he brought with him all the race issues that should have been addressed throughout the series (I get that she lived in some idyllic compound, but if you're going to have a WOC protagonist, it's disappointing to have all the issues associated be brushed aside), real character development - I have to say Armstrong writes friendships beautifully! - that made the reader really care about what happened to the characters, tensions, action, romance and a satisfying resolution. Kelley Armstrong at her best!