Hello, beautiful people! Let’s continue with reviewing Armstrong’s Darkness Rising trilogy with book two, The Calling. In this exciting sequel, we FINALLY start to uncover so many of the unanswered questions and find out what happened after the “BIG EVENT” in book one.
So if you HAVEN’T read book one, please make sure to read my review on The Gathering first AND the book:
Then you can come back and not worry too much about any SPOILERS
Title: The Calling
Series: Darkness Rising, Book Two
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Published on April 10th 2012 by Harper (first published January 1st 2012)
Format: Hardcover, 326 pages
Synopsis: Maya Delaney’s paw-print birthmark is the mark of what she truly is – a skin-walker. She can run faster, climb higher, and see better than nearly everyone else. Experiencing intense connections with the animals that roam the woods outside her home, Maya knows it’s only a matter of time before she’s able to Shift and become one of them. And she believes there may be others in her small town with surprising talents.
Now Maya and her friends have been forced to flee from their homes during a forest fire they suspect was deliberately set. Then they’re kidnapped, and after a chilling helicopter crash, they find themselves in the Vancouver Island wilderness with nothing but their extraordinary abilities to help them get back home.
That beautiful British Columbia setting is worth it in itself to read this novel. Armstrong does an impeccable job of carefully crafting the setting, making the reader feel as though they’re surrounded by the extravagant forest scenery. For lovers of rural settings novels, this is DEFINITELY a great choice.
The Calling is VERY entertaining, with it’s action-focused and past-paced plot. After their escape from the fire, Maya and her friends are constantly faced by a number of obstacles, all in the hopes of finding their families and escaping their captors. There’s LITERALLY no lull in action.
I think the biggest (and most interesting) surprise for me was Armstrong’s use of the adventure story to also explore racism, prejudice, and other serious topics. During their travels, the Indigenous characters experience stares and grunts and distrust, simply due to their native heritage. There are moments of gender discrimination and other forms of prejudice, which really made the book feel more relatable to our world setting. But it also brings up good discussion points, as Armstrong uses this as an opportunity to illustrate the continued racism and prejudice that occurs today.
There’s A LOT of running through the forest … and more forest … and more forest. Honestly, the story started to drag on a bit. Armstrong’s story just started to feel too action-oriented, with little depth into the character exploration and overall plot-line.
Another element that was a HUGE letdown was the lack of focus on their powers. With them being on the run, I figured it was going to be time for the characters to discover and explore their supernatural abilities. Maya’s the main character that we see this with, which was disappointing since there are so many other interesting powers to explore. And yet again — the characters are SO CALM about their new profound abilities … I still find this VERY unrealistic.
Armstrong’s The Calling is a unique take on urban fantasy. Rather than focusing on well-known supernatural entities, Armstrong researches and explores ancient ones to bring about a very engaging and interesting story-line. The characters and setting are the powerhouses of this novel, keeping readers interested and wanting more. Though the story lacked depth regarding the plot development, other parts of this book make up for this.
I recommend this novel if you enjoy: fast-paced plot; a diverse cast of characters; urban fantasy; action-oriented novels; strong female leads.
Have you read Kelley Armstrong’s The Calling? Have you read any of her other books? What were your thoughts on this novel or her other novels?