Warning: Mild Cliffhanger
Strange things are happening in Maya’s tiny Vancouver Island town. First, her friend Serena, the captain of the swim team, drowns mysteriously in the middle of a calm lake. Then, one year later, mountain lions are spotted rather frequently around Maya’s home—and her reactions to them are somewhat . . . unexpected. Her best friend, Daniel, has also been experiencing unexplainable premonitions about certain people and situations.
It doesn’t help that the new bad boy in town, Rafe, has a dangerous secret, and he’s interested in one special part of Maya’s anatomy—her paw-print birthmark.
“I want you to have big dreams, big goals. I want you to strive to achieve them. But I don’t want to see you beating yourself up every time you make a mistake.”
This was a weird one for me. This is technically a sequel trilogy to the Darkest Powers trilogy, which is in the same world as Women of the Otherworld. I have actually read all of those two series previously. I will say I actually have no idea where this trilogy is going to end up or even really what is exactly happening in it yet. (That is pretty crazy for me, especially with having read so much of this world previously).
On the one hand, I have read everything else so far. I know the parts that are a mystery to a newcomer, the parts where they would be locked into the mystery. Yet, I am insanely curious to where this is going, because I don’t actually know. I have strong guesses, but no clear outcome yet. There are actually parts in this series that are new, parts to the world we had yet to see previous to this book which is pretty amazing. Yet, I just can’t figure out what was happening in the other two series and reconcile it with what is happening here.
On the other hand, if I read this from the perspective of someone who has never read anything before, wow. This book is probably so full of mystery it hurts. There are so many new things to figure out and understand. Seriously, unraveling the mystery of what is going on must me fascinating on the outside looking in.
The world-building is also interesting ond the new vs. old line. If you have read the world before, you understand parts of what are going on. You know things aren’t what they look like on the surface. If you’re reading this for the first time, you’re learning everything for the first time, and it probably looks to you to be very light. Just a random town, with some random people, and then some weird things are going on. While I harp on authors only adding the one Native American thing they know, I actually really think it is an interesting addition to this world she has built.
Otherwise, Maya isn’t a bad character, I actually like her a decent amount. She has her flaws, but what teenager isn’t a raging bitchnugget occasionally. Her relationship with Daniel, her dead best friend’s boyfriend, is cute and wholesome and interesting, while his relationship with his father is not so good or wholesome but still real. Her relationship with Rafe rubbed me the wrong way though. There are a lot of misunderstandings on both sides, a lot of secrets, a lot of anger. I really do not care to see more of this dumb teenage relationship in the future of this series. Hope it proves me wrong, but this was a really bad start.
I think the best relationship in the series is actually Maya’s relationship with her parents. She is very clearly adopted, however it never feels like she is. They always feel like her parents, which is not always the case in books I read. They know she is a teenager, they give her her own space, but they are there for her when she needs it. I really, really like this relationship dynamic Armstrong built.
The weakest part of the book is the ending, which means that basically the weakest part of the book was the lack of story. The book kind of just ends without actually exploring much of the plot of the trilogy. There are so many things not even started yet, let alone shown or even ended. This wasn’t an ending of the story whatsoever. It is just a place to end the book. I suspect that the series could easily be combined into one volume and you wouldn’t notice the difference. There is a cliffhanger solely because it doesn’t feel like the end of the book, it just ends what feels like mid-scene.
Now that I think about it, this is actually a nice contrast with the Darkest Powers series. Darkest Powers is a much darker series, they’re cast adrift in a weird world and they have to figure out how to survive. In Darkness Rising, so far, they are all happy and healthy and they don’t even want anything to change because their world is good.
Overall, I actually enjoyed this book and I don’t know why I put it off so long. I’m looking forward to figuring out where this series is going and how it ties into the world it is tied into.
To read more reviews for this series, check out the Darkness Rising series page!