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THE GATHERING by Isobelle Carmody


by Isobelle Carmody

Age Range: 12 - 15

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1994
ISBN: 0-8037-1716-4
Publisher: Dial

 When Evil returns to the town of Cheshunt after many years, five teenagers with troubled pasts form a Chain to combat it. Carmody festoons her tale with tried-and-true elements--nightmares, eerie winds, feral dogs, airs of wrongness, supernatural effects, talismans and rituals, diaries, and an old mystery to unravel. She also places several important incidents offstage, to be reported by one character or another, offers undeveloped hints of dark deeds in the distant past, and gives her Evilness an objective that will strain readers' credulity: Karle, the local high school's possessed vice principal, organizes armed groups of students to terrorize neighboring towns as a preliminary to conquest. Though presaged by an act of startling brutality (Karle's heavies torch a beloved pet) and set in the town slaughterhouse (a nice touch) during a hurricane, the final confrontation is as confused as it is dramatic: Karle takes a time-out from a psychological assault on the Chain to explain his plans--not noticing that the building is on fire. Fans of the horror genre will find this Australian novelist's US debut uneven but promising. (Fiction. 12-15)