Reviewing The Gathering by R. Scott Whitley
Brenna is about to discover she has super powers, just in time too. Everything starts falling into a convenient place as Brenna fights to understand her situation, and never really does.
Plot: The story is about a group of people with, for lack of a better word, super powers. There is a lot of time spent explaining the plot of the story only to find out you’ve been lied to and then the next story is supposed to be the actual plot. No, wait…
Characters: Brenna is the main character of the story, a fourteen-year-old in the foster system stuck with a family that is for the most part grossly obese, which is the biggest part of who they are as characters. The fact that Brenna is rail thing makes only a little sense as she is still eating the same food they are. She is joined by Cora, Carlin, and Marc as her other associates in the program that continually lies to her. Out of the three companions Carlin has the most individual characterization. Connie and Alex are the group’s teachers, sort of. What they actually teach them still remains a question.
This novel is a brilliant idea that seems to have suffered. There are a few rules of character naming that should have been followed to keep from having Connie, Cora, and Carlin being main characters and constantly in the same scenes. In a stretch to give people a more realistic way of speaking everyone sounded the same. There was little difference in Connie’s speaking as there was in Cora’s, except that Connie did not swear as much. The biggest flaw in this novel that bothered me the entire way: why did they come for Brenna, fail because she wasn’t there, and then never try again? How am I supposed to take a group seriously as a threat if they can’t be bothered to just try to snag her again on one of the many times she’s just standing around alone?
I may sound like I hated this book and you wonder why I gave it 3 if I’m beating up on it. I did not hate it. As I said, the idea itself was brilliant, and for the first part of the novel I would have given it 5 stars. Then Brenna started screaming and no one gave her answers, and this happened more times than it should have. The author fell into a trap, not wanting to explain everything to the audience but not knowing how to keep the adults from giving the actual answers. The novel slid down to 4. The ending was coming, the author realized he had gone on too long. What happens when an author is in a hurry to finish a novel? That’s right, everything gets rushed. It became less coherent as a novel and more about the payday, which was a fizzle. It’s worse when you see such potential suddenly just thrown out because he had put himself under a deadline, or gave us the first draft.
The book also seems to be written as if it was for teens while the constant swearing makes me wonder how many parents would relinquish this novel to their fourteen-year-old. Then the plot seems more geared at adults but the style did not get me there.
Reasons to read this novel:
- Interesting plot
- Realistic fourteen-year-olds
- A great way of explaining “slowed down” time
Reasons to not read this novel:
- It starts to fall apart in the end
- It is a very obvious first novel in a series
- False answers