This is post number 14.
Background: A Gathering of Light is written by Patricia Isles. The cover has two hands holding a ball of light. It is the first in a series, but it could work as a stand alone novel.
Plot: This story takes place during the American Civil War, and opens up with Hixson watching his friend die and getting wounded in battle. He wakes up in Sarah’s house, wounded but not as severely as he should be. After talking with her, Hixson learns that he is in the south as a northerner and that Sarah has the ability to heal others by gathering light in her hands and applying it to wounds. The healing takes a lot of energy, and if she heals someone that is evil, it takes more energy.
Spoilers: After talking with Sarah’s neighbor, Hixson finds out that Sarah was the product of a rape and that she was raised by her grandparents until they recently passed away. He returns up north to talk to his family about Sarah and wanting to see her again. They tell him to return to her house, and when he arrives, Hixson sees that she has been brutally beaten and raped. The neighbor and he tend to her wounds, and Hixson asks Sarah to marry him. She agrees, and Sarah, Hixson, and the neighbor move up north to be part of Hixson’s family. The couple get married, and it is revealed that Hixson is a sort of counterpart to Sarah because he can see if someone she is about to heal is good or not. In the end, Sarah and Hixson have twins who can also gather light.
Sarah was full of apprehension as she packed what little clothes she had. The bruises were still quite visible. Her ribs were still very sore and she had not regained her strength. Worse, she felt like there was a sign on her forehead, proclaiming her stain.
Opinion: The plot really dragged on, especially the section between the two being engaged and married. This story focuses on finding family and making new starts, but it tries to bring in supernatural elements that feel out of place. Another aspect that bothered me was the fact that the author decided to have two rapes for two generations of women happen almost the exact same way and under the same circumstances. I get that there is supposed to be some sort of struggle or negative event in every story, but having two terrible events happen the same way made it hard to suspend my disbelief.
All of the characters are either good or bad with no gray in between. For instance, all of Hixson’s family is kind, patient, good natured and loving without any black sheep, whereas all of the people in Sarah’s hometown are terrible people who only talk to Sarah when they need to be healed. Having all of the characters be so one dimensional bored and annoyed me. Nobody is purely one side or another, so that also contributed to the lack of believability.
I was not a fan of the writing. Something about the writing style kept giving me the impression that the author thought the reader was stupid, and I felt a bit insulted reading it. I might not be the brightest bulb in the closet, but I can understand a novel without having to be told what everyone is feeling in every single scene. Dialogue is meh, and so is use of third person omniscient.
Ratings: A Gathering of Light is a paranormal romance so the ratings are:
Explanation of powers: 5/10
Romantic development: 4/10
Overall I give this book a 4/10. The one dimensional characters and weird use of abilities were off-putting, and though the pacing made the story easy to follow, I felt almost offended at how everything was told to me like I was a simpleton.
Citation: Iles, Patricia (2010-11-08). A Gathering of Light (Light Gatherers) (Kindle Locations 1395-1397). . Kindle Edition.