Review: A Gathering of Crows by Brian Keene


Brinkley Springs is a quiet little town. Some say the town is dying. They don’t know how right they are. Five mysterious figures are about to pay a visit to Brinkley Springs. They have existed for centuries, emerging from the shadows only to destroy. To kill. To feed. They bring terror and carnage, and leave blood and death in their wake. The only person that can prevent their rampage is ex-Amish magus (and fan favorite character) Levi Stoltzfus. As the night wears on, Brinkley Springs will be quiet no longer. Screams will break the silence. But when the sun rises again, will there be anyone left alive to hear?

A Gathering of Crows by Brian Keene.  Published in 2010 by Leisure Books.  Book #3 of the Levi Stoltzfus series. My version was an audio book, narrated by Chet Williamson, 8 hours and 27 mins.   I listened to this book as part of Horror Aficionados group listen for July 2018.

Normally I don’t read a book from a series out of order, but then, what are you going to do when your GoodReads book club picks it for the month?  Oh well! So I went in to this book a little weary because it was book number 3, and I had to fight my OCD on trying to read book 1 and 2 before even starting book 3.  I just didn’t have time because I already had too many books for this month.  Another oh well!

A Gathering of Crows started out a little bit slow.  You get introduced to a lot of characters right away, but don’t get too attached to anyone just yet.  It was a slow burner that built as it went along.  By the time you got to the half way mark, things were thundering a long at a fast, violent pace.  It was gore galore.  No, no… Mr. Keene didn’t just have someone get killed, the end.  No.  People were (in much detail) ripped apart, gutted, with parts ripped off and shoved places.  Remember how I said don’t get too attached to anyone?  Well, that is because many, many people die.  Not just people though.  The animals died too.  I did not care for the animals getting killed so that is a proceed with caution warning for any other animal lover horror fans out there.  At first, I wasn’t so sure I was going to even like this story, but it got better as it went a long.   You ride out the slow bit in the beginning and it will start to grow on you.

The best thing about this novel is Mr. Levi Stoltzfus. An ex-Amish magus who deals with the supernatural on a daily basis. At first I didn’t know what to make of him.  He was SUCH a good guy. Polite and well mannered. What can I say? I love my flawed anti-heroes and Levi seemed overwhelmingly straight-laced.  Remember that this is the first time I’m seeing Mr. Levi, so I don’t know anything about his origin or history pre-book number 3. Slowly he grows on you and then the next thing you know you are all in on Team Levi. Mr. Levi ended up being a very fun character, flexing his psychic ability and magical know how, it was easy to follow along with him and watch him get to work.  He seems like an interesting character to get to know. 
Another cool thing about A Gathering of Crows, is the mythos hanging out there in the background.  I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but think of universe on top of universe times infinity, multi-dimensional monsters (Gods?), and good ol’ fashion ancient dark magic.  Mr. Keene has spent a lot of time building up this mythos and it shows up in plenty of his other titles.
Now, I had the audiobook for this novel, and my chief complaint was the narrator, Chet Williamson. His voice was big and booming, with not much distention between characters.  All the side character males sounded the same, and the same for the women.  The only difference was one group would sound old man /woman and the other sounded young man/woman.  The 5 bad guys all sounded roughly the same as well, though I guess maybe they were supposed to sound semi-similar? Not sure.  Levi is of the Amish peeps and it got a little frustrating because sometimes Chet would lose the Amish Pennsylvanian accent.  It kind of came and went.  Chet is not the worst narrator I’ve ever heard, but he isn’t the best either.  I’d say a 3 (out of 5) will work for over all performance.  
I think fans of the supernatural private-eye genre would enjoy this, as well as horror fans who want to add a bit of nasty dark magic to their TBR pile. And if you like gore, you’d probably enjoy this as well.  Animal lovers use caution.  There are plenty of dead animals in this book. Some a little bit more graphic then others.
A Gathering of Crows is a violent supernatural horror novel that is a fast paced story about the dark arts gone wrong.  Interesting characters and mythos to explore.  Just, maybe read the book instead of going with the audio.  

One thought on “Review: A Gathering of Crows by Brian Keene

  1. I’m still getting through this one. I agree with most of your points, as I’ve said before. At times it was difficult to keep track of characters as most of the voices for males and females sounded the same.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s