Brian Keene's 'A Gathering Of Crows' : A Review
I started 'A Gathering of Crows' almost immediately after finishing 'Darkness on the Edge of Town' hoping it would rinse away the bad taste left in my mouth. I can't even begin to tell you how glad I am that I did. After a long streak of good at best novels, 'A Gathering of Crows' was the light at the end of the tunnel I was waiting for. My faith in Keene newly restored, I'm ready to finish my journey to read all his work. With that said, 'A Gathering of Crows' is a return to the brutal, gut wrenching fear that we've all grown accustomed to. Strong characters that we can all root for readily populate the novel. Although, the true bread and butter of the story comes from an unusual hero that we all know and love.
Brinkley Springs is the kind of town you never really escape. It's a place that most people eventually find themselves coming back to. As is the case of ex soldier Donny Osborne. He has returned to town to care for his terminally ill, cancer stricken mother. As she succums, Donny is busy tying the loose ends together so he can chase his dreams elsewhere. Donny prepares to leave just as the sun sets, only to find his truck refuses to start, his cell phone is dead and power is out, everywhere. Radio waves have ceased and even battery operated devices refuse to function. What he doesn't know is that on the other side of town, havoc has taken over as five beings of unknown origin stroll into town and start sucking the souls from the locals. No one is safe. Men, women, children and even family pets are mercilessly slaughtered in their wake. Donny decides he must help save the town, despite the fact that these demons don't seem to be fazed by conventional weapons and transform into crows at will. Lucky for Donny, Levi Stoltzfus, our misunderstood magus friend from 'Ghost Walk', happens to be in town when all the fun begins. Levi rushes out to confront the evil, only to determine that the enemy is unlike any he's faced before. His most powerful spells hardly seem to effect the demons, and Levi retreats to rethink his strategy. As the puzzle pieces begin falling into place, Levi must switch to dangerous tactics that could ultimately lead to his demise. With the handful of survivors he's managed to rescue, Levi makes his last stand in the local bed and breakfast. Will Levi be able to repel these powerful new foes? Will Donny be able to save the town? Exactly what kind of threat do these crow men present anyway?
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Keene has successfully brought another riveting cast of characters to life. Each character, especially Levi and Donny, don't so much as leap off the page as explode off it. The pace of the book is perfect, and I quickly forgot that I was reading a novel, as it seemed as if I was recalling a rather old, disturbing memory. The action draws you in from page one and refuses to let your guts go until you turn the very last page. 'A Gathering of Crows' made for a quick read, as I absolutely could not put it down. The driving force that is Levi Stoltzfus helps the reader steer through the story on overdrive. For bringing back a fan favorite, and for making him seem fresh and new, 'A Gathering of Crows' more than deserves a full five stars.
Interested in Levi Stoltzfus? Check out his other adventures here!
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