The Gathering was pretty well-written, and an interesting departure from the vampire/werewolf/faerie/whatever trend du jour. Maya was a well-crafted main character who showed strength and remained likable. There was no (obvious) love triangle dramarama, and it didn't end on a cliffhanger. Exactly zero checks on the list of plot devices I'm tired of reading. For all of these things, I give it three stars.For everything else? Meh. For all that the premise was interesting and the prologue was mysterious enough to draw me in, the story itself was very flat and boring. A full three quarters of the book was slow (very, very slooooow) build up to the revelation that was pretty apparent from about chapter two on to anyone with a fifth grade reading comprehension level. There seemed to be little cohesion to the story. Typically prologues set the tone for the remainder of the story, giving the reader a goal to work toward--yet Serena's death, though mentioned every few pages, never really became an issue until almost halfway through the story, and even then the conclusion Maya came to felt weak and improbable. Perhaps that's because it was the wrong conclusion to draw, but the fact that there was no lead otherwise does not bode well. The ending was anticlimactic to say the least. While I was happy there was no cliff diving as in most YA novels, there was an obvious element of foreboding where it was left. However, none of the questions posed in the first half of the book were answered--in fact, the main conflict only became more and more convoluted. We learned--sort of--what Maya is, but not how or why or what she's capable of. There were subtle hints to anomalies with the rest of the kids--but too subtle to really be considered leads. All in all, it was a pretty boring read. Though the prologue intrigued me, the meandering and slow moving progress of the remainder of the book failed to draw me. I think nearly half of the book could have been cut and allowed for a more conclusive ending--and story in general. Hopefully the next book is more concise and better-paced, though I can't I'm invested enough to be looking forward to it.