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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Wayfarer, by R. J. Anderson

I recently posted on Knife (also known as Faery Rebels: Spell Hunter) by R. J. Anderson. Anderson, herself, was kind enough to comment on that post. To summarize, Knife is a short fantasy novel, designed for, and marketed to, "Young Adult" readers, about a small group of faeries, and their interactions with a human living in a house close to the oak tree that the faeries inhabit. The location seems to be rural England, and the time seems to be approximately the present. The book is well written, and the properties of the faeries, and their characters, are well done. The book has a Christian world view, although it is not obtrusive at all. It was published by a secular publisher, HarperCollins, in 2010, under its HarperTeen label.

Wayfarer follows Knife, with the same characters and location. It can be read by itself, but a reader would be better informed by reading Knife first. I won't give away any more of the plot than I need to, but I do wish to muse about a few aspects of the book. The title describes the mission of Linden, a young faery, who is ordered to travel out in the world, to try to find other groups of faeries.

Let me mention a few aspects of the book, all related to its Christian world view.

First, The Christian world-view is more obvious than in the first one. A human teenager is one of the main characters. He is the child of missionary parents (as is Anderson). But Timothy is not sure that he wants to believe as his parents do. Timothy, and Linden are befriended by a couple who have prayed for, and supported, Timothy's parents. They demonstrate intelligent, genuine, quiet Christian love in a way that cannot be dismissed.

There is more explicit prayer to the Gardener, the faery's name for God.

Timothy uses Bible verses to communicate with Linden.

Second, there is an explicit statement of how the relationship between humans and faeries is supposed to be: ". . . the Great Gardener created us to help humans." (p. 293)

Third, it is clear that not all Christians in the book act as they should. Timothy begins the book staying in a boarding school, which is supposed to be Christian. But the other boys seem to have their minds on worldly things. That is one of the reasons Timothy doubts his faith. But there are others. He has seen unspecified conflicts between Christianity and science. One thing I appreciated about Anderson's book is that a minor character, the husband of the couple who helped Timothy and Linden, says that some Christians act out of ignorance, especially in the realm of science and the Bible. He was a college science professor himself, before retirement. The exact nature of the conflict is not spelled out. Anderson, whatever her own beliefs, does not say that one has to believe in a young earth in order to be a faithful Christian. That's good, because there are many faithful Christians who don't so believe.

The book is not exactly a Christian book -- it's more a good novel with a Christian world view, and worth reading. Anderson's third book, Arrow, is to be published next month.

Thanks for reading this.

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