Thursday, 15 June 2023

Gathering Of The Four by A.E Bennett

 


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

Blurb

"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 traveller 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.

                                                       🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

A well-deserved five stars for an unputdownable and thrilling action-adventure. At 503 pages it should be a chunky read but it doesn't seem like it at all. The story never loses momentum even for a moment and I found myself flying through this story at top speed. The second in the series is already published so I'll be diving into that book as soon as possible!

Gathering Of The Four has excellent character development and world-building. I had a very clear picture of who everyone was and the world they inhabited. Each character was equally interesting and important to me. Even the villains were written in such a way that you wanted to read more scenes involving them. 

The reader goes through a gamut of emotions as the characters individually experience pain, fear, and betrayal before finding hope and love as a band of friends fighting for survival. Their path is fraught with danger making it a nail-biting experience from start to finish. There is a real sense of evil and oppression in society. The sovereign and his advisor rule the land like a dictatorship and their army of White Riders enforce every dictate. The White Riders are suitably terrifying because of their ruthlessness and lack of mercy. It makes thrilling reading as the White Riders hunt the Four across the land.

Leopold's backstory really pulled me in. We learn more about him and his family than we do Leora and I found his story appalling but fascinating. I couldn't help but feel sorry for the little child he used to be and for what happened to him when he began his training to be a White Rider.

The other three members of the Four also have their own unique talents and quirks, especially Leora who is a Xanthi with very strong but untrained magical abilities. Aurora is clever and educated. Roland is a thief but loyal and quick to defend. Together, they make an unlikely but terrific team.

An addictive read and a fantastic start to the series.

Gathering Of The Four is out now. Amazon

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