New Christian author Mike Parker has just written The Scavengers, his first book and the beginning of a new epic Christian fantasy series, the Tyrfingr Chronicles. In The Scavengers, we are introduced to many players, perhaps too many, as the plot moves from one character to the next in five fairly distinct settings. The main character of The Scavengers, Alwyn, is a balding, middle-aged scavenger in a post-apocalyptical world. Alwyn scavenges for clues about ancient America’s past before the world was virtually destroyed by a comet.
Readers of The Scavengers also meet Franklyn, the son Alwyn does not know exists; Alwyn’s religious leader, who coincidentally is married to Alwyn’s sister; America’s political leader and his wife, who are at odds with the religious leader and in league with Alwyn’s brother; and a mysterious race of subterranean humans. There are quite a few secondary character in the mix of The Scavengers as well, from the convoluted array of states and other government and organizations that make up the America of Tyrfingr. I found the introduction of so many characters and settings caused my interest to wander — many characters are introduced in The Scavengers, but few are developed.
This does not mean I did not like The Scavengers; actually, I did enjoy it. Most Christian fantasy compares itself to the “next Harry Potter” and then falls so flat on its face I won’t even review it. The Scavengers, however, is worth noting. I like Mike Parker’s premise about a post-apocalyptical America, and find the main characters in The Scavengers moderately interesting — interesting, but not memorable. So far the only character I am invested in is Alwyn’s son, Franklyn. Alwyn himself is unremarkable.
The Scavengers’ most glaring problem is also one of the book’s interesting most twists – creating a religion out of snippets of patriotic quotes dedicated to a god named “Liberty” or the “God of Five Faces.” While it is an intriguing idea, after 300 pages of greetings like, “Give me Liberty or give me death,” it just gets silly.
Hopefully Parker will weave all the characters, loose ends, and religious motifs of The Scavengers into a more cohesive tapestry in Book Two of the Tyrfingr series as well as revamp Alwyn into a more memorable personality.
With many Christian fantasy series, I find I am through with the series before I finish the first book. Not so with The Scavengers. While I can’t say I am hooked on the Tyrfingr series, I am intrigued enough by the book’s unique premise to want to read Book Two to see how Mike Parker ties up the loose ends and surprise ending of The Scavengers. We need more good Christian fantasy, and the Tyrfingr Chronicles shows potential.
The Scavengers was released by CreateSpace Publishers on December 29, 2008.
See also The Scavengers – a Review of Book One of a New Christian Fantasy Series
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