People are once again going missing in Arkham. This time it’s a college student and a professor. The police aren’t connecting the two yet. But Elliot Raslo, the best friend of the missing student, Chester, knows they’re connected. For one thing, Chester and the missing professor were collaborating on Chester’s special research. The research that Chester has been obsessed with for the past year. The research that he wouldn’t share with anyone else. Until he shares a troubling chant with Elliot right before disappearing… a chant that Elliot can’t get out of his head since hearing it. Maybe you should wear some earplugs while you read Litany of Dreams by Ari Marmell, just in case.
[Note: While I am reviewing this novel independently and honestly, it should be noted that it has been provided to me by Aconyte for the purpose of this review. Warning: My review of Litany of Dreams contains some spoilers!]
Everything goes missing
At the beginning of Litany of Dreams, Elliot Raslo’s friend Chester is missing. The police are clueless so Professor Polaski tries to find him. Then Professor Polaski goes missing. Elliot wants to try searching for them but he doesn’t know where to start. So he tries to retrace Chester’s work for clues as to where he and the professor may have disappeared to.
Then Billy Shiwak shows up. He’s looking for a missing magical artifact. The artifact is a large stone covered in writing that no human can read that slowly drives its watchers insane. His tribe has kept the strange stone hidden away from humanity for millennia. The stone was stolen some years back and Billy has finally tracked it to Arkham. But now he needs help locating it within Arkham.
An unlikely team in Litany of Dreams
Billy and Elliot realize that the missing stone is related to the missing academic’s research. Together with a Miskatonic University librarian, Daisy, they decide to investigate together. The hope is that if they find the stone they’ll find the missing people and vice-versa.
Billy Shiwak is an Inuk from Greenland who has spent his whole learning to take care of himself. Elliot is a rich University student who is falling apart under extreme stress. Daisy is a librarian who believes in rules and reputation above all else.
These three are the last people who would be expected to work together. But Billy can do things that the other two cannot. Elliot has the social credit to get them places the others can’t. And Daisy has access to knowledge that the others can’t get. If they work together they can maybe save Chester and return the stone to Billy’s people.
There is another barrier to them working together. Billy firmly believes in the mystical powers of the missing stone. He thinks it is evil and that Chester is probably not rescuable. Daisy doesn’t believe in anything that science can’t prove and scoffs at anything Billy says to the contrary.
Elliot used to be in Daisy’s camp. But right before Chester disappeared he shared a few lines of a song with Elliot. Since then Elliot can’t get the words out of his head. He can feel those words dragging him closer to something he can’t describe. But he knows it’s not of this world, and it’s evil. Daisy doesn’t believe him any more than she believes Billy. But Billy recognizes Elliot’s obsession and hopes that Elliot can be saved by finding the rock and returning it to his people. Maybe. And Elliot just wants to find and save Chester.
A true horror story with two parts in this Arkham Horror novel
The Arkham Horror series, as the name implies, consists of scary stories. But a lot of the stories are more about unseen horrors in the dark or the awful humans working for those horrors. Litany of Dreams is more of an in-your-face horror book. There are possessed people and our characters are literally fighting for their lives. Scary basements that the characters should know better than to go into but they do anyway, and monsters that we get to see.
It is one of the more cinematic Arkham Horror books because I could see how well it would play on a screen with all the action. At the same time, there is plenty of psychological terror as we watch Elliot slowly going insane and realize the true extent of the horror that Chester unleashed on the world.
Litany of Dreams also felt like two stories for the price of one. Elliot and Billy go off, have an intense adventure, and return. Things aren’t entirely wrapped up, but the story does feel somewhat done, however, there’s a whole half of the book left!
I was trying to figure out what was going on because it feels like just a small wrap-up is all that was left of the story’s tempo. Then a whole new (but totally related and necessary) situation explodes and the characters have to save the day again. It was an unexpected but appreciated twist. It made Marmell’s tale that much more exciting.
Litany of Dreams is a more traditional horror tale for horror fans
Litany of Dreams felt familiar when I was reading it. The biggest surprise was how the story seemed to be wrapping up halfway through when it got a new jolt of life. The bad guy coming back just when everything seems safe is a normal horror trope but Marmell crafts a more involved second half than what usually happens in horror. It felt like a sequel instead of a second act and I loved it. I think that other horror fans will similarly enjoy getting two stories for the price of one.
It was nice to have a story that was familiar to the genre while feeling new to the series as well. Having an Inuk character was interesting too. Billy’s perspective of the supernatural world and how to deal with it was refreshing. Having Arkham as a base for all this evil is fun but it’s nice to see that evil is everywhere in the world and see how other people deal with it.
I would have liked to see Billy take an even bigger spiritual role in banishing the evil but it was nice having a different viewpoint at any rate. I would definitely recommend Litany of Dreams to any horror fans looking for their next thrill.
My Rating: 8/10
Litany of Dreams: An Arkham Horror Novel by Ari Marmell is available now! Are you interested in checking this novel out? Let us know on Twitter or in The Cosmic Circus Discord! And if you haven’t already, check out our latest Arkham Horror review, The Last Ritual!