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The Gathering of the Lost
Helen Lowe
Harper Voyager, 672 pages

The Gathering of the Lost
Helen Lowe
Helen Lowe's first novel, Thornspell, a critically praised retelling of Sleeping Beauty, was published by Knopf Books for Young Readers in September 2008. Thornspell was a Storylines Notable Book 2009 and won the Sir Julius Vogel Award for Best Novel, Young Adult 2009; Helen also won the Sir Julius Vogel Award for Best New Talent in the same year. Helen Lowe lives in New Zealand.

Helen Lowe Website
ISFDB Bibliography

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Katherine Petersen

Note: If you haven't read The Heir of Night, beware of spoilers. Helen Lowe's Wall of Night series has the potential to become a classic, right up there with the likes of George R.R. Martin's Songs of Fire and Ice. The Gathering of the Lost is the second of this four-book series and takes us deeper into the world of Haarth where the first book, The Heir of Night, mostly introduced us to Malian, heir to the House of Night and her friend and ally Kalan, both of the Derai. The nine houses of the Derai garrison a large, rugged mountain range that gives the series its title. But after the Keep of Winds where Malian grew up was breached five years ago by long-time Derai enemies, the Darkswarm, it's the whole land of Haarth, not just the Derai in jeopardy.

The Gathering of the Lost re-introduces the reader to Derai characters from The Heir of Night as well as the two Heralds but also shows us the southern lads from the city of Ij to the Northern March of Emer, and acquaints us with a whole range of new, well-developed characters. Malian and Kalan have separated, since anyone searching for them would seek a boy and a girl, and are set on different paths. Assassins attack a House of Heralds in Ij which sets off a lot of tumultuous events. Everyone seems to have his or her own agenda and treachery abounds. Enemies may hide under the guise of friendship and friends may truly be friends. Malian faces a daunting task of upholding her promise to Rowan Birchmoon at the end of Heir to do all she can to save Haarth from the Darkswarm.

Lowe's has a lyrical prose style that often seems more like poetry. Sometimes it seems writers try too hard to evoke their characters or surroundings, but for Lowe it seems effortless. She pulls the reader into her world and as you read the book, you feel as if you're taking part in what is happening, not just reading about it. I re-read The Heir of Night before reading The Gathering of the Lost and honestly, I tried hard to make it last. It seems such a shame to read a book so quickly that took so long to write, but I couldn't help myself. Anyone who loves to read fantastic fiction from a true talent should read this series. In retrospect, while a lot happens in Heir, compared with The Gathering of the Lost, it's more of a set up novel. If they keep getting better, it makes me anticipate, Daughter of Blood even more.

Copyright © 2012 Katherine Petersen

Katherine Petersen started reading as a young child and hasn't stopped. She still thinks she can read all the books she wants, but might, at some point, realize the impossibility of this mission. While she enjoys other genres, she thrives on fantasy, science fiction and mysteries.

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