Happy Sunday to you all, and I hope you are having a lovely restful day today.

Well, for this post I am joing the lovely The Write Reads blog tour for The Gathering of the Four by A. E. Bennett. 

Genre: Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Dystopia
Length: 503 pages
Published: 2nd April 2021



“In the Realm, every citizen knows their place.”

Leora of Mae is a young woman orphaned at birth and raised on a remote farm. As a wielder of Xanthcraft, her abilities set her apart from her adoptive family and the other villagers.

Shortly before her twentieth birthday, she learns of her family’s plot to sell her into servitude. Fearing for her life, she flees from the only home she’s ever known—defying societal conventions and breaking the edicts of the Realm.

As she runs, Leora meets Roland Shallowbrook, a traveler on the Thieves’ Road; Lady Aurora Verte, daughter of a powerful member of the gentry; and the White Rider Leopold, a soldier with a secret.

Together, this found family will have to band together to survive.

Set in the distant future during the return of the Hale-Bopp comet, Gathering of the Four is the first book in The Serrulata Saga.

About The Author

A.E. Bennett lives in Washington, D.C. She is originally from North Carolina.

Gathering of the Four is the first book in A. E. Bennett' s Serrulata Saga.

The story is set way in the future (I think it somewhere in the 43rd century) in a kind of dystopian/sci-fi/ fantasy type setting where there a division of the United States into something called The Realm and other singular city states.

In the midst of this there is a split of people's. Firstly, there's humans and then there's the second class magical Xanthos, who despite their aid in some diatant war or other, seem to be a people who are derided and feared.

That's where we meet the first main character of the story, Leora of Mae. An orphaned Xanthos who lives with a poor family who eke out a living from the land. Leora is hated by her adopted family and when she discovers that she is to be sold into servitude, she quickly hoofs it and finds herself in some inn or other on the wrong end of some bounty hunters. 

This is where she comes across Roland, who saves her from the clutches of the bounty hunters and they quickly come firm friends. Unfortunately, as they battle the aforementioned bounty hunters, Leora let's slip that she's a Xanthos by burning the inn to the ground with her magic, this sets off a chain of events which results in the third character, Lady Aurora Verte coming into the fold atfter she experiences tragedy when the king's soldier's led by the fourth member of the party Leopold, turns up at her country estate and has a quick bit of arjy bargey with her dad. 

And there we have the group of the book. The Gathering of the Four.

That's not the whole story, but you get general gist.

Now, I am going to admit that I got this book wrong, especially at the beginning. You see I didn't know anything about this book and when I started I thought this is going to be a young adult novel. It's not like I have anything against this form of fiction, it's just that I put myself in a certain mindset. However, I quickly got disabused of that mindset come chapter 2. Anyways, after a quick change of expectations, I then went on with the rest of the book.

I quite enjoyed this one. It's not my usual type of book, but as I usually say, I don't actually know what my type of book is so it is good to expand my repertoire.

The world building is set around a sci fi/dystopian version of earth, particularly the US, but it has emerged into a typical fantasy kind of world that you expect, which I thought worked quite well. Putting me in mind of some other books that have a similar kind of world building.

I have to admit, there were some niggles with the story that kept throwing me out of the narrative. For one, the magic system. Whilst it is a perfectly good magic system and fits the story well, the name kept throwing me. However, I soon learnt to accept it and reconciled it with the fact that this is a dystopian novel and there is no reason that ancient literature could be the reason for it. 

On the whole, this is a good book with believable characters that interplay and interact well. There's a good plot that doesn't particularly lose its pacing and moves along enough to make this a bit of a page turner, always wanting to find out what happens next. In addition to that there are some decent action sequences.

The Gathering of the Four is a book that's well worth a read, and if you fancy a good sci fi, dystopian, fantasy mash up then I don't think you will go far wrong with this.


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