Scavenger Review
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Outlanders
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10/1/2008 10:01 PM

     

    Video games are a major industry today. Well, that’s a bit of an understatement when it comes right down to it. When you’re talking multiple billions in dollars spent on games and machines, that’s not a major player… that’s a major power.
     
    And with the games comes the problem of addiction, obesity, poor grades, you name it. Although there are many casual gamers, such as myself, who know when to shut the machines down and do housework, go outside, hang with the family, etc.
     
    But, what happens when the game is all consuming? What if the game is more real to the player than reality?
     
    I’d say time to check said player into an insane asylum.
     
    This brings us to the novel Scavenger, written by David Morrell.
     
    As usual, I will not disclose anything about the novel that you couldn’t get from reading the back cover. I hate to spoil things for potential readers.
     
    The story is a scavenger hunt, one to find a one hundred year old time capsule. The prize for winning, freedom, the penalty for failure – death.
     
    It is a hunt, interwoven with historical fact – and I assume fiction, while the players, all of them unwilling, are armed with the latest in high tech gadgets to help them succeed in the hunt.
     
    Overall the novel was difficult to put down. I really enjoyed it, and it was something fresh and new for me to read. I’ve never read a David Morrell novel before, and after reading this one, I have to say that I’ll be picking up his earlier works.
     
    Too many times in the past the characters in a novel are dull and / or cliché. Yes, some of the characters in this book were cliché, and I’ve seen similar characters in other media, but what sets this book apart from the rest is the fact that these characters are also flawed and damaged.
     
    It makes them all that much more believable.
     
    Then there is the way the author wrote the novel. It was part history lesson, mainly in regards to time capsules buried all over the globe, part game, and part mystery.
     
    I certainly do appreciate the fact that Mr. Morrell took the time to do his research in regards to video games, although there was at least one point that he brought up that I could argue with him, about the number of players. But it’s a moot point, and doesn’t detract from the overall novel at all.
     
    Although there are readers who might find it a bit confusing, the novel switches points of view constantly, almost right up to the end of the novel. It’s really two parallel stories, one for Frank, and one for the woman he loves Amanda.
     
    The novel gives the reader the point of view for both characters at the same time so that the reader knows exactly what is happening, how the events affect the two characters, and what really is at stake.
     
    Some people like this form of story telling, as it keeps the reader up to speed, others don’t, as it takes away some of the mystery as to what’s happening.
     
    I’m one of the former readers.
     
    The novel is suspenseful, and it rarely lets the tension down for even a couple of pages. It’s a real page turner and keeps building up to an explosive climax.
     
    Believe it or not, I would recommend letting teenagers read this book, especially those who happen to be addicted to games. One, it’ll get them away from the X-box or what have you and get them doing something far more useful with their time, and two, it’ll open their eyes to what can happen if you let games run your life.
     
    4 out of 5


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