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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-08-24 18:34
A Gathering of Crows by Brian Keene
A Gathering of Crows - Brian Keene

A Gathering of Crows by Brian Keene
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The town of Brinkley Springs is about to become a hunting ground. Five otherworldly beasts descend upon the populace, their hunger for death and destruction insatiable. Levi Stoltzfus finds himself amongst those in danger, yet he proves anything but helpless. Along with some unexpected allies, magus Levi must discover the identity of the ravaging monsters, and figure out a way to stop them.

(WARNING: This review contains minor spoilers.)

To show support for the author Brian Keene, of whom suffered an accident and has subsequent insurance issues, Horror Aficionados selected this title for the monthly group listen in July. I simply had to join in as it was a good cause, and I’m all for helping a writer in need. As for the audiobook in general, well, I was at first put off by the narrator, Chet Williamson. Don’t get me wrong, Chet wasn’t bad at all, but his voice took a while to get used to. If I were to describe it, the words “powerful” and “booming” come to mind, so it was a very intense experience indeed. I also found it difficult to distinguish between characters at times, especially when it came to the male personalities. After some hours, however, I was able to get into the rhythm of Chet’s mighty voice-over and focus primarily on the story. Despite being the third installment in the series, this one sufficiently stood as an independent volume - as far as I’m aware, the adventures of Levi Stoltzfus can be enjoyed in any order. Of course, there are running themes throughout, but Keene always seemed willing to share lengthy, yet relevant information and pieces of history.

The story begun as rather slow, with the repetition of certain details. If there’s one specific thing that irks me in any form of media, it’s the retelling of something that I already know. Brinkley Springs was a dying town, I understood that the very first time it was stated, and I really didn’t need to be reminded with the introduction of every new character. It may be a minor thing to some, but for me it’s a personal grievance. It became apparent that most of the beginning was comprised of useless, and not very interesting, elements of people's lives. They did little to connect me to the residents, as soon enough they would fall victim to the monsters. What I wanted was to get familiar with the man himself, but Levi's appearance took time to come about, and when it did, it usually wasn't for long.

The further the plot progressed, the more I came to enjoy it. Levi's presence eventually became the main focal point; his investigation of the horrific occurrences afflicting the town improved my overall feeling of the book. There was a tremendous amount of death, and it, in all its graphic glory, had very little in terms of limits. Children, animals, the elderly, all were fair game and sought out like animals. Whilst the aftermath was largely centred upon - the state of the bodies after the initial murder, there were a few scenes that depicted the actual killing. It was brutal, and I do favour brutality.

I can't say I became attached to anyone but Levi, and even then I believe that to be able to fully appreciate him I'd have to delve further into the series; from what I could gather, his history was certainly intriguing. As for the others, well, there was a romance I didn't care about, and the surviving group in general didn't strike me as anything special. The villains, whilst amusing with their shape-shifting shenanigans, were awfully single minded and thus had little depth. I suppose that was the point; they were minions, set upon one specific goal.

My interest soared to new heights when the mythology of The Thirteen came into play. I don’t know much of Keene’s Lovecraftian lore, but by goodness I devoured it. To be honest, it was the best thing about the entire novel; the snippets of information relating to these nefarious entities. Due to my fascination, it was therefore a real treat when Levi transported himself to another realm right at the end. I actually couldn't get enough of it.

In conclusion: It was a very weak beginning, but it improved, and by the end I was well and truly drawn into Keene's Labyrinth Mythos. There's no doubt that I'll be seeking out more of his work.

Notable Quote:

Brinkley Springs may have been dying, but it doesn't deserve to be murdered.

© Red Lace 2018

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Source: redlace.reviews/2018/08/24/a-gathering-of-crows-by-brian-keene
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review 2015-02-24 06:47
A Gathering of Crows by Brian Keene
A Gathering of Crows - Brian Keene

Brinkley Springs is a quiet little town that some say is dying. And they are about to find out they are right.

Five strangers are about to pay Brinkley Springs a visit and they only emerge from the darkness to kill.

Only one person can stop them and that is Levi Stoltzfus.

This is the third book in the Levi Stoltzfus series. I read the first two books, Dark Hollow and Ghost Walk quite a while ago. I loved both of those books and they are a few of my favorites by Brian Keene.

There are existing connections to other Brian Keene books in this one, including some of the mythology of The Thirteen.

I like Dark Hollow and Ghost Walk better because I felt more of a connection to the main characters in those books more so than this one. That's not to say I didn't like the main characters in this one; I did. But, I feel the characters in the two previous books were more developed. Levi, however, is the exception and I think he was further developed quite well in this book.

I would say my favorite character is Levi, he's very interesting and I liked learning more about his past.

Overall, I did like this book and I'm looking forward to starting the next book in the Levi series.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2011-08-13 00:00
A Gathering of Crows
A Gathering of Crows - Brian Keene Brian Keene is no stranger to me. It's one of those authors that I follow and read each and every book he releases. I have three more to read in my house but I am yet to read them .

Almost every book he released is a continuation of the Labyrinth mythos he created. Starting with The Rising and City of the Dead, by far my favourite alongside with The Conqueror Worms and the short story novel that links with the first two books The Rising - Selected Scenes from the End of the World. Then we've got The Dead Sea, Urban Gothic and Darkness on the Edge of Town also have some shed some information bout this mythos. The only one that I think don't have nothing on this mythos is Castaways (but I could be mistaked).

Unfortunally for me I should have read Ghostwalk and Dark Hallow because on the most important characters here is also on those books. I will read them shortly.

This book focus more on the Labyrinth and for the first time we get a glimpse of what is the Labyrinth and what it stands for. We learn more of the mythos and that was a plus on this tale. The connection with the Ronoake incident is also a plus side. The rest of the characters besides Levi are well accomplished but as The Dead Sea and Urban Gothic I failed to connect with most of them. I think Keene is focusing on integrating some types of characters like gay and black people and in my opinion they are not that well done. Again those young white boys behaving like black folk. I mean in a small town in the middle of nowhere should this people exist at all? I don't know.

Besides that I really enjoy the comeback of a war veteran and his problems integrating the small community. I think that character was good. But Levi Stoltzfus, the ex-Amish Magus was in my opinion the only character likeable. The evil characters are also on their "best" behaviour and enter in the mythos easily. Top notch. If you follow Brian Keene then read this book because some questions are answered here. If you are new or just want a quick read then I advice you to head for The Rising and City of the Dead.

I think Brian Keene is slowly becoming on the most interesting horror writers out there. He writes fast-paced books with interesting lovecrafian beasts and some good characters. I really hope he continues to write in his mythos.
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review 2011-01-24 00:00
A Gathering of Crows - Brian Keene If the dogs die, I am throwing this book across the room and taking Mr. Keene off my list to ever read again.

Okay, so the magic man gets rid of the bad guys and makes it all didn't happen for the people but the pets stay dead? No, no, no and NO.

Mr. Keene, your books are not aerodynamic, please work on that.
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review 2010-06-29 00:00
A Gathering of Crows
A Gathering of Crows - Brian Keene I really didn't get interested in this book until the halfway point. The first half was the introduction to numerous characters who may or may not make it through to the end of the book. The play of these character and the traveling man, Levi, was reminiscent of a King novel and not in a good way. For me this was just an "Okay" read.
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