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  • Writer's picturecharlottelzang

Book Review of Litany of Dreams by Ari Marmell

My Rating:

And always, asleep or awake, nesting at the back of his mind, winding and twisting and coiling around itself over and over, that abhorrent, damnable verse.

Litany of Dreams by Ari Marmell takes us into the world of Arkham Horror, a cooperative adventure board game first published in 1987. 

Do not worry, though; you do not have to know one little bit about the original game or those published since to escape in this horror mystery. Litany of Dreams follows Elliot Raslo. He is a Psychology student at a Miskatonic university looking for his missing friend and roommate, Chester. Elliot uncovers Chester’s research, crossing paths with Inuit Billy Shiwak. Together, they question the disappeared student’s research topic, which leads them to dangers they weren’t expecting.

His mouth struggled into an ugly grin, nothing akin to the polite smile he’d offered his pawns.

The spine-tingling prologue sets the tone of Litany of Dreams, and Ari Marmell’s use of dialogue helps bring the finer plot details to light. Coming in waves that constantly keep the reader on their toes, each level of mystery drags the characters deeper and deeper into the dark world of ancient, dark Gods. 

All the characters are well developed, but Elliot especially handles his friend’s disappearance with the real pain of losing someone you care about. Together with Billy and librarian Daisy, the trio of characters offers a well-rounded scope on the story. Billy is a powerhouse in and of himself, having polar opposite reasons for involving himself in the missing student Chester. Daisy approaches things with a keen mind. The later introduced Lafayette-Moses is a captivating character who deserves his own tale in the Arkham world.  

Nightmares not only of ice, but of things that moved in shadow, things that dwelt behind endless sheets of hail and sleet.

With plenty of clues to unravel and the novel’s basis focusing on a missing person, it would be foolish to mislead anyone that this is purely a mystery/thriller. Several nightmares from Elliot’s dreamscape paint the pages with tingly terror. Elliot struggles against a chant that feels as if it is pressing in on his brain and the brief visit to the chant’s origination proves to be a spooky experience. 

Ari Marmell has created a precisely crafted plot in Litany of Dreams, delivering Lovecraftian-inspired horror.  

Many thanks to Ari Marmell, Aconyte Books, and NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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