Cover Image: Litany of Dreams

Litany of Dreams

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Miskatonic University student Elliot Raslo is troubled, both by the mysterious disappearance of his roommate, Chester, and by the ceaseless chant that loops endlessly through his thoughts. His search for his roommate and for relief from the unending chant will lead to a broken stone stele covered in ancient writings and an ally on his own quest. Billy Shiwak left his home and his tribe to complete his father’s quest and return a stolen artifact to their safe keeping, tracking it all the way to Arkham, Massachusetts and Miskatonic University. Both seek answers leading away from the broken stele and the writings on it and the more they search, the more questions crop up. The more it looks like the litany and Chester’s research into it risk awakening something horrific.

I admit that I was not entirely sure what I expected when I picked up Ari Marmell’s Litany of Dreams. The idea of a college student searching for his roommate who might already be lost to the infectious horror our protagonist is dealing with is fascinating. But it felt oddly quiet after the prologue, like the reader had been shown that things were serious and now Marmell wanted to build up to the threats that had already been implied and give them more context.

There is a slowness to Litany of Dreams, not a matter of it dragging but a slow creeping build as Elliot struggles with the litany’s infection while the situation grows ever worse around him. Each moment that introduces a point of hope or a way to fight back only serves to show more of the threat or to treat the symptoms of the litany, ever more temporary treatments at that. The slowness gives it a delightful sense of dread. There is no escaping the litany for Elliot. It plagues him at every turn, every time his mind wonders, and when he sleeps it follows him into his dreams as something somehow worse. The whole thing leads Elliot to feeling very helpless as a protagonist, despite his attempts at finding his roommate and finding a way to rid himself of the litany, because every break through is a stop gap in the face of something far, far beyond him or any of our other protagonists. This works for me so well though, Elliot feels helpless in so many ways, but it does not stop him from trying to find Chester and that gives everything a lovely tragic tint. This especially taken with a mid book reveal that could have easily been sussed out ahead of the reveal that just twists the knife that extra little bit.

I will say, as well as Elliot works as a protagonist, I do wish there had been more of the other characters. Billy is important through out, his quest to recover his people’s artifact has as much weight as Elliot’s search for Chester, but he does not always feel like nearly as much of a protagonist as Elliot. Billy gets less time as a view point character once things get rolling. He is much more physically capable than Elliot, and has a background with the artifact thanks to his people’s stories, but Billy can often feel more like a very important secondary character than a deuteragonist. This expands to other characters as well. The Miskatonic University head librarian Daisy, whose surname I have completely forgotten, is important in the first stretch of the book but then she disappears for what felt like a huge chunk of the middle section and never really regains her importance despite being greatly helpful later on.

Conversely, there are a couple of characters who feel hugely important to the greater Arkham Horror setting but who feel like they only really show up in Litany of Dreams to allow the plot to be wrapped up. I do not know that I was a fan of those characters. Clearly there is a much larger set of conspiracies going on in Arkham, and clearly we are meant to be aware of those. But it feels like, to readers who are me, there would have been a much better tie up if some of the bits from the book’s climax had been given to Daisy to discover, potentially pulling her further into things, rather than introducing an eleventh hour new character to take care of them. Mostly it feels like one of them comes out of nowhere and I do not know what to do with them.

At the end of the day I greatly enjoyed Litany of Dreams, Marmell does a fantastic job with his character work and setting up this oppressive air of something terribly wrong having happened. There were moments where I felt like I needed to put the book down for a moment to get away from it, and that is not a complaint at all. But I am a bit frustrated with the new characters at the end. This means that Litany of Dreams earns a four out of five from me and also leaves me excited to see what Marmell will do next. So, give it a shot if you get the chance.
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This was my first book in the Arkham Horror universe, and let me tell you I LOVED it. 
The characters were all so unique and their voices and experiences made them so distinct, I immediately felt connected and invested in their story. 
The plot was intriguing and captivating, and the plot twists were surprising without feeling random or forced. This was a joy to read and I hope to see more from this author in the future.
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Aconyte’s newest Arkham Horror title is upon us: Litany of Dreams by Ari Marmell. It has another one of those gorgeous art-deco covers, and perhaps the biggest role we’ve seen so far for an establish Arkham Files Investigator.

Litany of Dreams has a very unusual feel for an Arkham Book – whilst the growing, insurmountable dread is definitely there, the general vibe of large parts of the book felt more like a Zombie Apocalypse story – the shrinking numbers of survivors trying to stay alive against what feels like a never-ending wave of monstrously-transformed humans.

The story (more-or-less) begins with Elliot Raslo, a psychology student who is exhausted and feels like he is slowly going mad. Until very recently a successful Psychology student at the Miskatonic University, Elliot has been letting his education take a back seat as he devotes his time to volunteer work at the University Library – in return, he gets some limited access to the Restricted collection, wherein he hopes to find clues relating to the disappearance of his room-mate Chester, who was working, of course, on Things That Man Was Not Meant To Know.

Into this scene bursts fish-out-of-water Billy Shiwak. An intelligent man and clearly a fairly hardened fighter, Shiwak is an Inuit, experiencing Massachusetts ‘civilisation’ for the first time, and has come to Arkham, looking for something that was stolen from his people. Something which just so happens to be related to what Chester was working on before his disappearance.

The biggest problem for Rasko and Shiwak is the titular ‘Litany,’ an infectious chant or rhyme uttered in a keyboard-mashingly unintelligible language: once exposed to the Litany, it seems to be only a matter of time – at least for most – until they fall under its influence, compelled to repeat it themselves, and gradually losing their minds in the process. There are exceptions of course, with some being mysteriously immune, handy for narrative convenience, as well as upping the levels of uncertainty for the characters. Somewhat unusually for an Arkham novel (And again, reinforcing that Zombie-film feeling), the way to deal with an infected person seems generally to be by killing them, and I think that Litany of Dreams has by far the highest body-count of any Arkham story I’ve read any time recently (discounting any Arkham game where you lose and the world is destroyed, of course…)

The Billy/Elliot duo get the majority of the story’ page-time (that’s an unfortunate coincidence with the main characters’ names that I hadn’t spotted before I started the review and am now not going to be able to un-see…) but there are a couple of other figures who get a bit of a development: Ida provides an interesting window into the tremendous damage done to the lives of those who found the Litany thrust upon their community unawares, rather than having a reason to seek it out like Elliot and Billy did: her practical knowhow paints a sharp contrast with Elliot’s struggle to move beyond the Academic world into real action. Alice was another character who appears only briefly, but who I would be keen to see more of: I don’t see her becoming the protagonist of a future work, as she appears to have the sense to steer well-clear of the more dangerous side of the Mythos, but I could see a reprisal of this type of support role, perhaps being expanded a little.

As already mentioned, Litany of Dreams gives by far the biggest role so far in an Aconyte title of one of FFG’s established Investigators. Tommy Muldoon, Ashcan Pete, Preston Fairmont and others have all made brief appearances as acquaintances or reluctant sidekicks of protagonists, but Litany goes one step further, making Daisy Walker a major character in her own right: whilst she does not get as much story-time as Billy or Elliot, she gets her own point-of-view chapters, and that automatically propels the book towards the top of the charts for me. As has been the case for most investigators to appear in long-form fiction, this story clearly marks one of her first real brushes with the Mythos (at least beyond the troublesome tomes of the Restricted Section), and this definitely felt like a Daisy who was driven by her concern for an MU Student (Elliot) rather than simply a desire to discover ‘the truth’

Echoing the recent Mask of Silver, Litany of Dreams takes a rather more realistic (if, by extension, pessimistic) look at the worldviews of the people of 1920s New England. Even if Billy can convince people to stop referring to him as an “Eskimo,” he certainly isn’t going to be allowed to hang around inside the lobby of a posh hotel, and will be forced to wait outside whilst people give him dirty looks or worse. Nor is the 1920s a particularly forgiving place for Elliot whose feelings for Chester clearly went far beyond simply room-mate camaraderie, or even friendship. At best he is dismissed, and the stark rejection he receives from Chester’s parents makes clear their disgust at him (although it’s not entirely clear whether this is because they suspect his feelings, or simply because, as roommate, he should have prevented the disappearance). As depressing as these attitudes are, I definitely prefer it when authors depict their settings like this, warts-and-all, and watching the characters do what they can to overcome these challenges makes for a satisfying read.

The Ancient one behind the Litany is eventually revealed to be a disturbing creature name Tsocathra, a name which appears to be unique to this particular story (I certainly hadn’t come across it before). Whilst it can be nice sometimes to see familiar creatures cropping up in the stories, having a new entity like this allows the author (and, by extension, the story) a greater degree of freedom – we don’t know the power or the capabilities of such a being, and there’s no real opportunity for ‘experts’ to start quibbling about whether a vulnerability to tactic X, or an ability to recover from attack Y really makes sense given the wider lore.

Overall I thought that Litany of Dreams was an interesting read. It felt very different tonally to a lot of Arkham stories, just in terms of how far the ‘Litany’ was able to spread, and the scale of the impact. I also found the ending a strange one – I don’t want to spoil too much, but I will say that beyond the simple scars (mental and physical) that the surviving protagonists have suffered), the closing section brings in a new figure to help avoid the immediate destruction of humanity by the Litany: this section felt a bit odd to me, a strange mixture of Greater Threats Remaining and Deus Ex Machina. I’m assuming that Marmell has further plans for the individual introduced in this regard, so I’ll wait and see what follows before passing any further judgement on what could otherwise feel like a somewhat unresolved ending.

The nature of an Arkham story and the ruin it can make of a protagonist’s life means that sequels are often not the way of things, but I’ll be very interested to see if Marmell has plans to revisit any of the supporting cast in future. Whilst Litany of Dreams certainly wasn’t my favourite Arkham story so far, I’d still be interested to see what they have planned next.
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I was first attracted to this book by the pretty purple cover and the intriguingly creepy short blurb. After I received it, I looked up Arkham Horror and discovered it is a card game based on Lovecraft’s horror. I had never heard of this game and I was honestly a little worried that this book would not be of a high quality and might be kind of silly. I was also concerned about the level of Lovecraftian influence. I can enjoy supernatural cosmic horror and otherworldly creatures of ooze and tentacles, but I do not appreciate the white supremacy, racism, and sexism common to Lovecraft himself and to many of the stories he inspired. With a fair amount of trepidation, I began reading.

Okay, so the main characters seem to be Elliot-a slightly hapless university student, Daisy-an intelligent female librarian, and a person of colour Billy-a fierce Inuk hunter no less. As I kept turning pages, I realized I was completely wrong to pre-judge because this book suffered from none of the problematic issues of Lovecraft and instead actively dispelled racism and sexism. There is even some LGBTQ representation! The racism faced by the Inuk character is not just present, but also discussed and examined as unfair and unjust. One of the best characters who appears later in the story is Alice, a strong, clever, and kick-butt black woman. I seriously would read a whole book just about her!

So, with the racism and sexism being not in evidence at all, quite the opposite, you may wonder about the quality of a book based on a game. Let me tell you this book knocked my sock off! It was engaging, exciting, funny, terrifying and most of all it was really fun! It had everything I want from a horror novel. Even while dealing with some tragic events there was still a lot of humour that kept it light and entertaining. I absolutely flew through the pages and when I finished, I looked for more Arkham Horror books. They seem to be by all different authors so I don’t know if they will be comparable to this one, but I was so impressed with “Litany of Dreams” that I’m willing to give them a try. This book surprised me, and I want to encourage other horror fans to give it a chance. It just might surprise you too!

Thank you to Aconyte Books for providing an Electronic Advance Reader Copy via NetGalley for review.
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While this is a recent release, I read an advance copy of this book that I was sent in exchange for a review. 
In <i>Litany of Dreams</i>, Ari Marmell has crafted a wonderfully engaging Lovecraft story worthy of the name (and in many respects, better than many of the original stories). The novel’s opening draws the reader in, and as the mystery slowly resolves, new horrors show the unfathomable powers of the Great Old Ones. A very good horror story that is full of action, adventure, mystery, and heart. 
This is the nineteenth <i>Arkham Horror</i> novel, but only the fourth in the series by Aconyte. Each of the novels, however, appear to be stand alone works and I have not read any of the other <i>Arkham Horror</i> novels, though I am familiar with Lovecraft as a whole, and more specifically the card and board games that represent this property. But even that knowledge is unnecessary as <i>Litany of Dreams</i> completely stands on its own.
I have some minor issues with the novel. Notably, the characters—most of them are a little flat. But there is some emotional depth that is very well explored for at least one character. Additionally, while the climax is very engaging, it feels a little rushed and there’s a fair bit of <i>deus ex machina</i> on display. Also, while there is a fair amount of diversity in the cast of characters, it still seems a bit problematic to have the only indigenous character also be the only overtly mystic/magical character from the outset.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it to any fans of the <i>Arkham Horror</i> series or games, fans of Lovecraft, or anyone who would enjoy a horror/adventure story set in 1920s Massachusetts. I will absolutely be checking out future <i>Arkham Horror</i> novels and other books by Marmell.
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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.

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.  

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.
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Litany of Dreams (releasing April 13, 2021) is the fifth Arkham Horror novel from Aconyte Books (the fiction publishing arm of board game publisher Asmodee).
The Arkham Horror universe has a rich cast of dozens who have appeared across a variety of games, but (as is standard for Aconyte's board-game-IP novels) enjoying Litany of Dreams does not require knowledge of that universe.

Litany of Dreams is presents a horror story of supernatural behavioral contagion - an unintelligible chant that infects the listener's mind, giving them an intense urge to themselves begin chanting the strange syllables (coincidentally, this sort of verbal contagion features in one of the stories in the recent Dungeons & Dragons adventure compendium, Candlekeep Mysteries).

The protagonists of Litany of Dreams are Elliot Raslo (a psychology student at Miskatonic University), Billy Shiwak (an Inuit from Greenland), and Daisy Walker (a librarian at the university). Long-time Arkham Horror fans will recognize Daisy Walker as an established character in the Arkham Horror universe; the other two are not.

Elliot is the primary protagonist, prompted by a search for his missing roommate and troubled by a mysterious chant he can't get out of his head. He becomes entangled with Billy (who is searching for a stolen artifact) and Daisy (who wants to be helpful, to a point). The three work together, but not entirely in concert, as their personal goals sometimes conflict, which makes Litany of Dreams stand out in a genre that more commonly features a single protagonist or a cohesive team. Elliot's goals are the primary viewpoint, but the others tend to carry more of the workload in actually advancing their investigation, except when Elliot's pre-existing knowledge of his roommate's activities becomes pertinent. How relatable the reader finds Elliot may depend on whether they find his shortcomings humanizing or vexing.

Like The Mask of Silver, Litany of Dreams includes some exploration of minority status. There it was treatment of Asian-Americans; here it primarily relates to how Billy is perceived as an indigenous circumpolar person (I suppose the other minority status is a spoiler, although it's very obvious very early in the book). This most commonly involves Billy correcting people when they refer to him as an Eskimo (thankfully, being from Greenland, Billy is actually an Inuit, and we don't have to wade into the way that term is occasionally misapplied to non-Inuit peoples), but is not limited to terminology. As I noted in my review for Mask of Silver, I think that addressing these sorts of issues within the 'Lovecraftian' horror genre is a good thing, given Lovecraft's well-documented racism.

Obviously, being an Arkham Horror novel, Litany of Dreams includes Lovecraftian elements, but it also has some "hillbilly horror" (with a twist), so there's more gunplay than is typical for the genre. Horrors are both real and dreamed, as the strain on Elliot's own mind grows. After the opening scene, Litany of Dreams has a slow boil - there are stops and starts to the investigation, and the leads are incremental, rather than whipsawing the reader through the plot.

Overall, Litany of Dreams is a solid read if you're looking for slowly rising tension, investigation that's as much social as it is mental, personal conflict, and a mix psychological horror and backwoods maniacs.
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I requested this one because I've enjoyed reading some of Ari Marmell's non tie-in fiction, particularly the Mick Oberon series. I'm not a gamer though, so can't really comment on that aspect. I was hoping for an entertaining pastiche by an author who knows how to capture the spirit of Lovecraft''s stories, and I wasn't disappointed.
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The first chapter of this book certainly set the scene. For me, the decision to start there (even though very well written) didn’t help me with the flow of the rest of the book. I would have liked some more information about the relic earlier on in the book. Not a favourite for me but if you have some patience and are happy to enjoy the ride, then this book is for you.

Amazon review on release date.
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I've not played the Arkham Horror game, my only experience in this world is my knowledge of of Lovecraft's stories, and the only book in the series I've read so far, Arkham Horror: The Last Ritual. As such, when I began reading the latest release in the novel series, Arkham Horror: Litany of Dreams, I was expecting certain things; I was expecting shadowy cults, strange rituals, and mysterious relics. Whilst this book has all of these things, it also has a lot more going on in it; things that make this a definite stand-out read.

The story follows a group of people who are drawn together in the town of Arkham. There's Elliot Raslo, a young psychology student whose friend, Chester has recently disappeared. Daisy Walker, one of the librarians of the Miskatonic University, who's in charge of keeping some of the stranger and more dangerous books in the collection under lock and key. And Billy Shiwak, an Inuit who's travelled across the world to Arkham in search of a relic that was stolen from his people. At first glance there's not much to connect these three, until their separate investigations draw them together.

Our three investigators soon discover that Chester may not only have come into contact with Billy's relic, the Ujaraanni, but has found a connection between it and an ancient, mysterious monolith held deep in the bowels of the University. The three of them come to believe that Chester's investigation into these artefacts may have led directly to his disappearance, and as such Daisy and Elliot agree to help Billy try and find his missing artefact, hoping that it will also lead to Chester. Along the course of their investigation the trio will discover a seedy underbelly of Arkham that deals in the mysterious and the occult, as well as a small swamp community that has fallen victim to this strange curse; some kind of odd incantation, one that Elliot has been hearing in his head ever since Chester vanished.

One of the things that I loved about Litany of Dreams was how you never knew what to expect next. The story began with one of the Miskatonic professors searching for Chester, finding a frightening secret deep in the swamps, before the action then shifts back to the city. Here the mystery focused on our three principal players as they try to find the clues that can help them find Chester, before it takes us back to the small swamp community where something even more horrific is going on. Then the book brings you back to Arkham and introduces even more frightening stakes; ones that could mean the end of everything.

The twists and turns in the story meant that you had to be constantly on your toes. There was never a moment to feel relaxed reading the book, as there was always something happening. Even the moments of the book where there wasn't a lot of action the characters were always discovering new things, finding out secret histories or unearthing hidden connections between people. Ari Marmell never let the reader get bored, and paced the narrative wonderfully throughout.

One of the things that really stood out about the book for me though were the scenes set deep within the swamps. From reading the previous Arkham Horror novel I was expecting a story that would be mainly set within the city itself, focused on the hidden societies and cults that make up the town. So when the characters found themselves in this remote, rural location it made for a big shift in tone. The fact that the horror became more overt then too really helped. Instead of the ever present sense of unease the horror shifted and moved front and centre as people that had fallen under the spell of this strange litany became active threats.

These moments brought to mind things like Night of the Living Dead and Resident Evil 7, one because there's the horror of an infection that can turn your loved ones against you and force you to have to kill them, as well as the potential for it to linger inside you before transforming you into one of them too; and the other because of the remote setting where people are slowly changing into something else, with this outside presence controlling their actions and turning them on those they love. It was the part of the book that really got under my skin the most, and I absolutely loved it.

One of the keys to good horror though is having characters that you care about. If people start being killed off but they're folks you don't really give a damn about it doesn't really mean much; so having characters that you can get attached to is really important. Marmell seems to understand this, and gives readers some compelling characters to follow. Daisy is a young woman who's worked hard to get in the position she has, and seems to have something of an impostor syndrome going on. There are times in the book where she expresses amazement that she has the position she has, and seems to always be worried about something causing her to lose her job and standing. It's something I think a lot of us can identify with, and it means that when she refuses to get involved with certain things, or to put herself at risk in certain ways, you completely understand it. You get why she's worried to put her job on the line and you don't hold it against her.

Billy is probably the biggest outsider in the book, being a character who's not Caucasian he's almost instantly met with distrust, if not open hostility throughout the book. Even when there are times people seem to be accepting and polite towards him it can turn and you see that there's bigotry just beneath the surface. There's one scene in particular where someone uses the phrase Eskimo, Billy tells him that he doesn't like it and prefers the term Inuit, making it quite clear that the other word isn't acceptable; but then that person immediately replies with 'Yes, I've heard that about Eskimo's' and carries on. It's not overt, but it's there. And it's there constantly. The level of restraint that Billy shows throughout the book is astonishing, and it quickly gets you on his side and you see that despite sometimes appearing to be angry or upset about things he's a man in a lot of control of his emotions, one who keeps his actions measured and carefully thought through.

Elliot is one of the the more interesting members of our little group. At first he appears to be a pretty average young man, one who's given himself over to his studies and is trying to better himself. But we soon discover that he's willing to give up a lot of the advancement he's achieved in order to help his missing friend. There are heavy hints at why there is in the early stages of the book, and it's no real surprise when it's revealed that he's in love with Chester. Making him a queer man in a time where such things were unacceptable, where he has to hide his romantic feelings behind 'just good friends' makes his mission to find Chester and save him so much more meaningful and heartbreaking. Even if he's able to find Chester and get him back safely he can never be with him, can never openly love the person who means the most to him in the world. It's perhaps one of the more tragic parts of the book.

The fact that the three leads are all outsiders, people who aren't in positions of power, who aren't able to be themselves definitely works in the books favour. Not only does it give the text something interesting to explore, as much of Lovecraft's own work was about straight white cis men, but it also flips the themes of the 'horrific outsider' that was a foundation for the original Lovecraft stories on its head. We all know that Lovecraft was a huge racist, that he hated and feared anyone who was 'different' or 'other', so to have those kinds of people be the ones to be rising it all to save everyone else, to be putting their lives on the line to stop the true darkness is an absolutely sublime choice.

As I said before, this is only my second Arkham Horror book, but it's quickly become my favourite in the series; as well as one of the better Lovecraft inspired stories I've read. It takes the expected conventions and turns them on their head. The book always keeps you guessing, always keeps you on edge. I adored every minute of reading this book, and I really hope that we get more of Ari in this world.
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spoiler alert** With thanks to the Publisher and NetGallery for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

I have no prior knowledge of the board game this is based upon not have I read any previous book in the series, however I found an entertaining read despite that, with a few issues (that may or may not be answered in previous books)

To give a quick overview, we follow the story of Elliot who is trying to find his school friend who has mysteriously disappeared. Meeting a cast of diverse characters along the way, Elliot discovers more than he could possibly imagine, leaving him teetering on the brink of madness, but can he overcome it to stop a darkness overcoming the world?

I tried to not give too much away there! The book is heavily influenced by Cuthulu and Lovecraftian by nature, something it embraces with no shame and nor should it.

I thought the book was a decent story with one point even feeling like I was reading a novelisation of Resident Evil 4, I thought the motivations of the characters were all valid and never deviated. This does make the characters a little one note, none of them I would say grow massively or have massive arcs, but then I think the author is more interested in setting moods and atmosphere as that is the bread and butter of the book.

I had some issues with the writing, the amount of trailing off in the first third of the book had me giggling, imaging the characters looking off into the distance in deep thought as the sentences end with “and yet....” and “and if that was the case......” etc. It was used so much it became distracting to me.

I also found the main character, Elliot, a little overbearing and desperately co-dependant on his missing class mate; but this does soften as the story goes on. On that note, the feelings Elliot was sharing about his friend never felt too real as we didn’t ever experience this connection - but I am not sure if they are characters in previous books that I would have missed, so I won’t mark it down on that.


Overall if you’re looking to read something on a dark night that isn’t scary but gives some spooky imagery and unsettling moments, this would be a good pick up for a few pounds on offer, and it has made me interested to go back and read a little more of the series, depending if it is going to have some conclusion rather than a never ending series. 

3 Stars
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Do you like reading books that expand on the world in a video game or board game? Arkham Horror is a series of standalone books set in the Arkham universe and I only discovered it last year. Litany of Dreams by Ari Marmell is the 19th book in the collection but if you don’t have prior knowledge of the world, you will still be able to enjoy this horror mystery.

Content Notes: Body horror, cultural stereotypes, gun violence, death.

Thoughts on Litany of Dreams
Litany of Dreams follows Elliot in his search to find his friend Chester, who has been missing for sometime now and Elliot suspects this is because of his research. As a linguist, Chester had been spending more and more time in the protective section of the library, studying an ancient stone artifact called the Ujaraanni. With the help of Bill Shiwak from whose family the artifact was originally stolen, Elliot finds himself on a dangerous quest to find his friend. However, there is this string of words that he learned from Chester and he can’t get them out of his head. What is this litany that keeps playing in his mind and are there others who can hear it too?

On Roots and Research
This is my first time reading Arkham Horror and I really enjoyed it. The variety of characters and the dark underbelly of the city exposed in this story was a unique experience and I appreciated the pace of the book as well as the historical connections. Litany of Dreams is rooted in linguists research, occult dealings, and ancient relics that have power beyond comprehension. There are a number of key players in the events that transpire and almost each of them have a knowledge base of their own.

Miskatonic University has housed a massive stone tablet called the Ujaraanni in their private collection without realising that it holds a dangerous being. Nobody has been able to translate the writing on the tablet and I found the process of doing such a translation fascinating. Chester, while researching under his professor, has figured out a translation but it seems to have driven him mad to the point that he disappeared without a trace.

One of the important characters in the book was Daisy Walker, the librarian at Miskatonic University. She wants to help Elliot but the moral obligations of involvement with unethical people and thieves caused a tug of war in her. She is a smart person and I liked how her knowledge helped fill in the holes about Chester’s research and course of action.

A lot of time in the book is spent researching about the artifact, tracking down Chester’s contacts and, for Elliot, finding a way to protect himself from the litany driving him crazy. This book felt like a culmination of a number of genres with roots in witchcraft and zombie-like apocalypse, and it was enjoyable how the stressful situations were portrayed in the book.

On Arkham
The worldbuilding in this book is amazing. Arkham is a dangerous place and it felt like the kind of town where it is always dark and dreary. Apart from the main characters, the rest of the people in the book were strange and I got the feeling that I would not want to live there. Learning about the occult and secret societies still present in the city made me wonder about the sides of a city that not everyone interacts with.

Overall, Litany of Dreams is a fast-paced horror mystery with an enjoyable setting and it took me on a ride to a world that I had not experienced before. The ending was great as well as the commentary on the partnerships that we have to make to find the people we love or chase down the answers we seek. I look forward to picking another book in Arkham Horror as well as books by Ari Marmell.
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I am a big fan of the Arkham Horror game, and the other games in that universe, and Litany of Dreams is exactly what I want from a story set in that world. The story was propulsive, quite scary at times, and filled with memorable characters. You also do not need any knowledge of the games to read this book, something that will open the story up for more readers. An incredibly fun ride, and it makes me excited to read more books from this universe.
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Litany of Dreams (Arkham Horror #19) by Ari Marmell was quite the pleasant surprise. I've never played the Arkham Horror board game these novels and novellas are based on and I've never read any of those other stories either, but I absolutely loved this. I think it might make the cut to be on my best of 2021 list actually. It hooked my attention right off the bat and I enjoyed everything about it from the cast of characters, the dark historical fantasy 1920s setting, the core mystery, and the chilling horror. I have no idea how this compares to the games and other books set in this world, but I certainly want to find out.
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Litany of dreams was kind of a strange book. It left me with a strange feeling of "what did I just read?"

I know the book is set in the Arkham Horror collection, but I must admit I have read nothing else from it. I don't know if I should have, to get a better idea of the general context.
Basically, the plot here is that Elliott, a college student sets out to find his friend who mysteriously disappeared after working of a secret project. Elliott, along with Daisy, college librarian, and Billy, an Inuit that seeks to recover a relic stolen by Elliott's friend, Chester.

I really liked the plot, and there was some mood set right at the beginning. It's definitely a novel you want to read when it's dark, and no one's home. But something felt off that made me not enjoy the book as much as I wanted : the linearity of events.

I have read the whole book, and still, I'm not entirely sure what happened. I mean, the events are written, but for some reason, I couldn't link everything in a logical fashion. The mystery part was great, everything flowed perfectly, but as soon as action started out, I got a little lost in the pace I think. I loved reading about how the relic is affecting people in that little community, seeing how it affected Chester, etc! Still, I'm not entirely sure what the relic was, why Chester was looking into it etc. It might be I wasn't concentrated enough while reading?

I'm not going to say much about the characters, because they didn't really stick with me. I just remember that Daisy was my favorite, because she thought things through much more than the guys and probably prevented them from doing a lot of stupid stuff to find Chester! We need more Daisys in this type of books.

I did enjoy this cool supernatural mystery, and the mood in it is absolutely fantastic. However, I couldn't really get into it for some reason, and I wasn't able to appreciate it as much as others seem to have. Bonus point for the cover though, it's absolutely gorgeous!
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I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Litany of Dreams was a fun pulpy cthulhu adventure with the right level of "horror" that will keep anyone on their toes.
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An engaging and immersive horror novel set in the Arkham Universe. I found the story enjoyable and quick to read. Fans of horror and mystery will be satisfied with the story and the conclusion.

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I have been provided with an advance copy of the new Arkham Horror book Litany of Dreams by Ari Marmell, published by Aconyte Books, so here is the honest review I promised in exchange for the book.

So here is an important disclaimer which is always important to put out there first. I have a casual work contact with Asmodee to demonstrate board games for them in stores and at conventions. Asmodee being the parent company of Aconyte the publisher.

I am going to try my best to not let that cloud my judgement in this review, but I accept that subconsciously it might.

What is Arkham Horror
Anyway that put to one side, let’s look at this book, by first looking at the game Arkham Horror which is a cooperative game, originally designed by Richard Launius, and is now in its third edition which was released in 2019.

It’s published by Fantasy Flight Games, a subsidiary of Asmodee, and is set in 1926 in the town of Arkham, Massachusetts. Each player takes on the role of an investigator, who are working to stop the Ancient Ones, eldritch horrors which lurk in the void beyond space and time.

It’s a 1-6 player game and you work together to gather clues and defeat the evil of the Ancient Ones and save the world.

As I said I haven’t actually played Arkham Horror but I do own its spin off Elder Sign the cooperative dice game.

The Story
Like the rest of the Arkham Horror novels, its set in the 1920s and in this case revolves around the disappearance of a gifted young student at Miskatonic University as his roommate searches high and low in his friends research for clues to his disappearance, and at the same time struggles against a litany that’s ceaseless in his mind and threatening to drive him into insanity.

The search takes on a new twist when an Inuit search for a stolen relic of his people crosses paths with him, and they find themselves joining forces to get to the bottom of the mystery and unearth a terrifying and ancient horror.

We get to delve a bit deeper into the lore of the Cthulhu mythos in this book than any of the others so far, and we have a very well rounded plot with characters with various motivations joining forces to prevent an apocalyptic event overtaking the world.

Mostly focusing on Elliot and Billy, the story is almost a mismatched buddy novel, crossed with mild horror and a bit of pulp detective thrown in for good measure.

Conclusion
The book was a very enjoyable read and a real page turner, the two main protagonists were very well developed and had just enough of a backstory to keep you interested, but without delving into too much. The motivation of Elliot, felt a little obvious, but when revealed is still highly dramatic and heartbreaking.

Billy seemed a little, well not obvious as to his background, its talked about a lot, the racism he experiences is subtle and all the more awful for that, but his background didn’t come through enough for me, I would have liked to have had this explored a bit more, but he was a very cool character.

Now I do have a negative thing to say, and that is that the female characters felt a tad underserved, we have two, strong and dynamic women in this book, and I felt that none of them got the service they deserved.

The main female character ups and leaves the group in the last quarter of the book and isn’t heard from again, so we have no idea how the events impacted her, or how she dealt with what happened. She didn’t even get in the epilogue and for me that wasn’t good at all.

The other main female character meets a tragic end, and it makes sense for her, what happens to her in the story makes what happens to her in the end seem logical, but with the dropping of the other character from the plot, I dunno, it just didn’t feel the same after I put the book down.

But regardless of this annoyance for me, the book was highly enjoyable and one I read in what felt like record time. The horror is initially slow and building, until the middle of the book when it becomes very real, some of it being almost post-apocalyptic in nature, and some feeling all too close to how things are in the world right now.

Would I recommend this book, yes, absolutely, its a solid 4.5 out of 5 for me, and to be honest had the epilogue resolved that one characters story arc, it would have been a 5.

The eBook is released on the 13th April and the paperback hits the shelves on 24th June.
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So I honestly picked this book up only because of the cover. I had no idea what Arkham horror was (batman was my best guess - its not batman).

With that being said I actually enjoyed this. Its Lovecraftian horror, so not really scary but a lot of screwing with peoples brains and a little bit of body horror. The mystery aspect of the story makes it a really engaging yet quick read. 

I was shocked to discover indigenous rep in this story. I don't know how good the rep was because I'm not indigenous but I didn't find it obviously problematic. Please read own voices reviews.

Recommend if this sounds like your thing.
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Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an ARC (Advanced Review Copy)

The Cthulhu Mythos, in which this book is set, is a fictional (we hope) mythos of “Great Old Ones'' and other cosmic horrors that we mere humans cannot begin to comprehend, penned by H.P. Lovecraft in the early 1920s and one that I have spent a lot of time reading since I first read the Call of Cthulhu around 10 years ago. 

This is the second “Arkham Horror Files'' novel published by Aconyte that I have had the pleasure to review.
This novel follows Elliot, a psychology student at the revered Miskatonic University in Arkham, and his hunt for his missing roommate Chester. Along with Daisy, the head librarian and Billy, an Inuit that is searching for a stolen relic of his tribe, the unlikely trio embark on an adventure that brings them closer to mysteries and unexpected dangers than any of them expected. All three characters are well developed and have their own reasons for getting involved in this mystery. As the story progresses the reasons become more clear and we realise that whilst Elliot's reason is one of compassion, Billy knows he must do more which Elliot is often in disagreements with.

The pacing of the book was really well planned out; it really helps you feel when something is coming to a crescendo and with the level of description Ari gets into his prose all adds up to a very good horror book.
I look forward to Ari Marmels next foray into the Arkham Horror series
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