97 points/100 (5/5 stars!)
Alert: Gushing Incoming

If it has a man and a woman in it, it is a love story. One day, Kera Rogers disappears while taking a hike in the woods, and turns of half-eaten by wild hogs. Her boyfriend, Duncan Gowen, mourns her until he finds his best friend was also with her and he didn’t know. So he plans his revenge. The hog keeps getting bolder, and hunters pursue it to stop the threat, but the Tufa also have a monster to track.

Well, shit. That was amazing.

This was a tale that was told after the fact. We are being told a story. It is the tale worthy of a Shakespearean tragedy. It is obvious by now that the Tufa are not nice people, as a collective. They are as cold and cruel to each other as they are to non-Tufa. There are no happy endings to be had.

As with the first three books, this also has multiple plots. The major one is like if A Midsummer Night’s Dream was a tragedy with a bunch of horrible people in it. It actually took months to complete, and the ending to the tale was absolutely amazing. I don’t want to give away too much about it, because it is truly well put together.

There is also young Mandalay, now 13 years old. She is trying to figure out how to be the leader they need her to be. She is young, she knows people see her as young, especially outsiders. It hurts her that she isn’t able to do everything she is supposed to. She is trying to find the balance between kid and leader that she has been balancing upon since she was born. I really love Mandalay. I feel like I’ve been watching her grow up this entire time through the series, and I love it.

I can’t remember if Janet Harper is a character new to this book or not. Either way, she becomes a full character in this book. She is only a couple of years older than Mandalay, passionate about what she is passionate about, and carefree about the rest. She is frequently in her room smoking pot with her best friend, she loves music more than boys or girls, and wants to be a journalist. Mandalay has been hearing her name on the wind, though, and she has a part to play. And play she does.

This book is so intrinsically fae. I compared this book to A Midsummer Night’s Dream for many reasons, and part of it is because this is so fae. There is music and wild animals, death and love, destruction and heartbreak, and a bit of something that is pure magic. I love fae, and Gather Her Round is the best of the reasons why I do. I’ve read so many series that try to be as good as just one chapter of this book was.

I only have one more book to read in this series now, and I’m dreading the end as much as I’m looking forward to reading it.