The Gathering Darkness by Lisa Collicutt
When it comes to young adult fiction, there are certain clichés that are typically found. The love triangle, the instant love, the star crossed lovers, down to the brooding love interest and the Mary Sue main character with the personality of stale moldy toast or better yet of a cockroach. And YA paranormal romances are infamous for incorporating all of these things. Together they create an abomination-and these said abominations saturate the market. They thrived best during the paranormal boom but for a while dystopian novels were the hot new thing but now they are wearing out their welcome.
The Gathering Darkness used some of the clichés that were mentioned above but unlike many other novels, an attempt was made to turn the clichés and use them in a way that makes sense and even be good. Whether this was a success or an epic fail will be discussed later. The reason why The Gathering Darkness was given 3 stars rather than 4 or even 5 stars is largely in part by the way I felt about the characters. In my humble opinion, the main characters themselves were meh. I didn’t hate them like Bella Swan from Twilight or Lucinda Price from Fallen. On the other hand, I really didn’t love them either.
They just didn’t have enough of a presence to stand out and be memorable. I forgot the name of the main character Brooke, which is never a good thing. There were some cheesy aspects to it such as the “Day” and “Knight” along with the star crossed lovers to name a few.
Yet despite these things, there was a great deal of brilliance in The Gathering Darkness. There were creepy moments that were described beautifully and it never seemed forced or over the top. When it comes to paranormal romances, there isn’t any fight scenes. (Women can’t defend themselves-no- fighting is something that men do because why should they mess up their hair and *gasp* break a nail. Instead women are meant to be damsels in distress and their whole life must revolve around men and they must be demur and submissive and do whatever the big strong men tell them to do. Or the fight scenes themselves are nonexistent) But The Gathering Darkness does have action sequences which pleasantly surprised me.
A while back in the review I talked about how The Gathering Darkness used some clichés and whether this was a success or an epic fail. The answer to that question is yes. The backstory about the reincarnated love was explained clearly and it was to the point. There wasn’t an obnoxious info-dump that made you head spin or you have to wait until book 3 for it to be finally explained.
The villain was deliciously vile. She was cruel and powerful, but she commanded attention. Many of the pitfalls for YA fiction is that the villains are poorly developed and clichéd. Since I have a soft spot for villains, it brought back pleasant memories of a time when stories had villains you love to hate evil (not to mention the villain songs that were to die for). As I was reading, I couldn’t help but to imagine the old woman for Within Temptation’s Faster music video.
To be honest, The Gathering Darkness grabbed my attention and it was quite the page-turner. The suspense and the twists and turns were well delivered and wonderful. Despite the issues that I had with the main characters, overall, I’d say that I enjoyed reading The Gathering Darkness. I would be looking forward to reading more from Lisa Collicutt and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to read a good paranormal romance.