The Rising - Kelley Armstrong

Here lies my dilemma with this book: I don't think I'm being fair with it. I'd had such high hopes for Darkness Rising series because I absolutely loved Darkest Powers series. Normally, I try not to compare books like that, even if they are by the same author, because if you really like one book, the other just isn't going to rise to the challenge, especially reading them back to back. This goes back to my "the sequel is never quite as good" principle. It's just that this series was meant to be a continuation, so I thought I was justified in my comparing.
This simply wasn't as good. I felt that the characters were carbon copies of the cast in Darkest Powers. I went over this in my reviews for the first two installments in this series, and the third was much of the same. You have the perfect female lead (Maya/Chloe), the funny initial love interest (Rafe/Simon), the responsible back burner love interest (Daniel/Derek), the bitchy side female who is soft under the surface (Hayley/Tori). You have the adult family member of the perfect female MC that you aren't sure if you can trust because they work for the Cabals but genuinely seem to want to help at the end (Lauren/Antone). It's just too much!
The plot did pick up in the second half of this book, and I think we have the DP cast to thank for that. Our group wasn't just running around aimlessly like they were in the last book. They actually had a plan. If it weren't for the DP cast, they'd probably still be scrambling around in the forest, lost and starving.
I wasn't overly impressed with the end.
First, I really liked Maya and Rafe. I think he challenged her more than Daniel did. He made her think. Daniel was just the comfortable choice and she went with it.
And I hate that they ended up right where they started in everything but location! They seriously went through all that just to go back to living in some quarantined town that's been staged by the people who tested on them and plan to control their lives. I mean, isn't that what they were running from. They should have just let the pilot take them wherever they were going and saved themselves all this trouble.
I think my favorite part was the addition of Ash. He complements Maya well, which makes sense, since their twins. He's just as protective as Daniel, but he lets her take risks and doesn't sugarcoat for her. I'm glad that he finally got a family at the end. Of course, I'm sure that if Maya weren't there, he'd leave her parents, but it gives him some stability.