I guess I was hoping for better writing when I picked up this series by Kelley Armstrong. But it was about the same as her Darkest Powers series. Even a lot of the plot development was the same. And plot devices. And since it's related to the world of Darkest Powers I saw a lot of similarities to that series, in general. Then there was the fact that it was an entire series about kids that can shift into cougars. Just like kids that can shift into wolves. Changing the animal does not make it any more original. That's all I will say about that. So, Maya. She was tough. Maybe a little too tough. I don't know what it was, really, I just didn't connect with her all that well. I felt like all her emotions were at arms length. I guess that was kind of part of her character but, as a reader, it made it hard for me.
Daniel kind of annoyed me because he was flat. He always acted as expected. He was just an all-around good guy, which was nice, but... I don't know. Armstrong did try to give him layers, make him well-rounded but he just didn't act full enough for my taste. Rafe was probably the most layered character in the book but, even then, his mystery was solved a bit too abruptly. Armstrong let us into his world a little too quickly; I would like to have had more suspense about him.
Honestly, I don't think book two, The Calling, really needed to exist. It pretty much began and ended in the same place and we didn't learn much from anything that happened. The few things we did learn could have been tacked onto the end of the first book or the beginning of the next book. And the huge, major plotline that began in the beginning and was resolved at the end was unnecessary and unbelievable. After reading book three, The Rising, I realized this series was pretty much exactly like the Darkest Powers series (except DP was a little bit better IMHO). There was a girl and bunch of other kids who suddenly found out that they were supernaturals. These girls and their friends were taken in by people claiming to help but then got scary so the girls and their friends escape. And are recaptured. And escape. And find other people who sort-of double cross them, then they escape. And are recaptured. And all the while there's a fun little crush going on but not exactly a love triangle. And then, finally, after all the escaping and recapturing, a whole bunch of people die and we reach an end that's not really an end because Armstrong keeps hinting that something more is going to happen. It's extremely circular. It got a bit boring to read.
Not only was the format irritating but as the books progressed I felt like everything was waaaaaaayyyyy over-eplained. I mean everything. Like how the trees in the new forest differed from the trees in the old forest (coniferous, Ms. Armstrong? Are you trying to teach us some SAT words here?). Actually, that probably would have been an interesting thing to read about if it had been handled differently and I wasn't so sick of everything else being way over-explained.
And then all the feelings-searching. Just blah. I can't handle too much of that. I don't know why most YA books are so serious about relationships. Just once (or maybe a lot) I'd like to read a YA book (or 50) that doesn't end in true love. Why can't it just end in dating for fun? Or maybe a nice noncommittal make out session? That sounds a lot more realistic to me at 17.
But the books were very fast-paced and easy to read. Armstrong does have a very easy, quick, readable style of writing. Sexual Content: Mild Language: Moderate Violence: Moderate Drugs/Alcohol: Moderate