The Gathering Dark by Brett Armstrong – Book Review

Posted November 30, 2020 by Phyllis Helton in Book Reviews /

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The Gathering Dark by Brett Armstrong – Book Review

The Gathering Dark

by Brett Armstrong

Series: Quest of Fire #1
Series Rating:
Published by Expanse Books
Publication Date June 24, 2020
Genres: Fantasy, Christian Fiction, Action/Adventure
Main Character Ages: 15-18
Written for: Adults
Pages: 438


After a thousand years of light, a teen’s world teeters on the edge of utter darkness.

Jason is an expert at running from his past. But when it catches up, he finds himself hiding in a peculiar inn listening to a tale from centuries past.

The story is Anargen’s, a teen who is pulled from all he loves to follow his oaths of loyalty to the fabled King of the Realms. Together with his mentor, Cinaed, he rides north on a special quest to mediate peace talks between ancient foes—the men of Ecthelowall and the dwarfs of Ordumair. Nothing goes as planned. Many on both sides of the dispute despise Anargen’s Order. Worse, an arcane evil has returned to the North. This “Grey Scourge” seeks to ruin the peace talks and ensure a lost treasure held by the dwarfs is never found by those for whom it is meant.

As Anargen’s story unfolds, Jason begins to wonder whether it is truly just a fable. He soon finds himself drawn into the conflict Anargen faced. A battle that has shaped and can destroy his world.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. This gift did not influence my opinion or review.

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Good versus evil. It is such a familiar theme in fiction, especially in fantasy, and yet it never seems to grow old. Perhaps because it is so much a part of our world.

The Gathering Dark is the first book in the Quest of Fire series that is full of adventure and peril. Somehow, when I read the synopsis, I was expecting something darker. I was pleasantly surprised to find a story with glimmers of hope amid perilous times.

Anargen is a young man determined to follow his calling as a knight of the High King despite the potential cost. Leaving everything behind to heed the call, he faces danger along with three of his close friends. I appreciated the fears and doubts he struggled with and loved seeing him choose to do what was right – which he did most of the time. I got so frustrated with him for not doing what he should have done (especially when he went along with his friends’ ideas!!) but, it was age-appropriate and was the way it needed to be in order to keep the characters realistic.

Christian readers will recognize the spiritual significance in the references to the servants of the High King, the armor given to the knights to protect them from all harm, and the “Spiritswords” that are filled with light and are powerful and effective. This was not the type of allegory used in The Pilgrim’s Promise where every other sentence seems to tie back to Scripture. Instead, it is a picture of the Christian life, fighting against the enemies of God simply because He has decreed we should. Some of the most beautiful pictures of this life showed up in the dangerous battles as Anargen was directed with a mere whisper of thought in what to do.

The history of Anargen is wrapped in a story told by an innkeeper hundreds of years later, where another young man, Jason, hears these tales for the first time. His story is only beginning to unfold and I am eager to learn more about why he came into a town that had shunned him and why he was shunned.

Readers who enjoy fantasy with knights and dwarfs and battles against evil will enjoy The Gathering Dark.

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About Brett Armstrong

Brett Armstrong has been exploring other worlds as a writer since age nine. Years later, he still writes, but now invites others along on his excursions. He’s shown readers hauntingly sorrowful historical fiction (Destitutio Quod Remissio), scary-real dystopian sci-fi (Day Moon), and dark, sweeping epic fantasy (Quest of Fire – April 2019). Where he heads next is as much a discovery for him as readers. Through dark, despair, light, joy, and everything in between, the end is always meant to leave his fellow literary explorers with wonder and hope.

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