Brian G. Turner’s Gathering is a tremendous debut that surprises and entertains in equal measure. I cannot think of many books that outshine their opening chapters to such a degree, but the scope and scale of Gathering means that there’s a lot of scene-setting to accomplish at the beginning. I found the first few chapters a little slow, but if ever there was a book that merits a reader’s patience, then this is it, and that patience will surely be rewarded. After the first few chapters, the pace quickly picks up and the story hurtles along. The plot is great, and full of unexpected twists and turns; the book is primarily Fantasy, but with a Sci-Fi twist and the author blends the two genres to great effect.
The author has a very distinctive writing style that I found pleasingly different to most fiction I read. It took a few chapters to adapt to it, but the author’s unique style adds to the reading experience. Despite being a debut, this is a book written by a skilled writer: there’s humour, action and adventure, glimpses of the world’s rich history, and the pages are chock full of those little flourishes that bring characters and places to life. The cast of characters is rich and diverse, and the main characters stayed with me long after finishing the novel – I already eagerly await the next installment.
This is one of the most enjoyable novels I have read for some time, and the reader’s patience with a languid opening will surely be repaid. After the opening, the plot zips along with short, punchy chapters, yet still manages to be breathtaking in its scope. I would have liked to see a little more description and tension in certain scenes but part of the charm of this novel is the author’s unique style and his descriptive focus on areas that many other authors ignore, and the end result is a novel that is very hard to put down. A thoroughly enjoyable read, and one I would highly recommend.