Scavenger Blood (Scavenger Exodus book 2) by Janet Edwards (book review).

When Janet Edwards published her first ‘Earth Girl’ trilogy, ‘Earth Girl’, ‘Earth Star’ and ‘Earth Flight’, she set up a future that had great potential for further exploration. The setting for that trilogy is after Portal Technology has been developed and most of Earth’s population have relocated to other worlds. Then, New York in the 28th century is in ruins and is an archaeological site. The setting is much too good to be confined.

The ‘Scavenger Exodus’ series takes the action back from ‘Earth Girl’ to the 25th Century. At this time, most eligible people who want to go to the colonies have gone leaving behind only those who have criminal convictions or belonged to the Earth Resistance against the policy of mass exodus. Before the start of the first novel in the ‘Scavender Exodus’ series, ‘Scavenger Alliance’, London had been devastated by a firestorm and those who could fled through local portals to New York. There, the survivors have entered into an uneasy alliance with the New Yorkers. They are camped out in the Parliament Building but divided into five factions. Despite rivalries between them, they must work together to survive.

In the first volume, ‘Scavenger Alliance’, two problems became apparent. The portal technology on the colony worlds is failing. It needs to be redesigned from basics. Since the New York portal system was destroyed, the only way Tad, direct descendant of the original designer, can get the original plans to work from, housed in the New York Museum, is to arrive by air. The plane crashing precipitates many of the events in volume one.

Scavenger Blood’ picks up almost immediately after the first volume. The characters are plunged immediately into problems, some of which they were becoming aware of as volume one ended. Tad has an implant that allows him to connect with Earth’s data net. He has discovered that London’s firestorm was the result of power storage collectors overloading because there were not enough people to use the power. The same thing will happen in New York within months. As a result, the members of the Alliance must leave as soon as possible. Currently, it is winter and there is a danger of alien creatures, known as falling stars attacking and killing anyone outside. An added complication is Cage. He had escaped before his trial for murder and is hiding outside, intent of revenge.

This is a YA novel. Eighteen year-old Blaze is the first person narrator and is deputy leader of the Resistance division with her father, Donnell, as leader. It is due to her that Cage was challenged and subsequently fled justice. Tad is the love interest but she is wary of committing to a relationship as she knows he is going to have to leave, beside which there are too many other issues that need her attention.

The rivalries between and within sections haven’t gone away, in fact they are close to boiling point and it will take a lot of diplomacy to hold the alliance together long enough for them to begin the exodus that will take them away from the inevitable firestorm.

The pace of the action is breathless and tightly plotted with everything happening over a very short space of time. Blaze and many of the younger people grow and develop during the events and discover more about the world they have inherited. With his ability to lock into data systems, Tad conveniently helps with this. He can seem a bit of a know-all and is perhaps too competent.

As the action continues immediately from ‘Scavenger Alliance’, it would be advantageous for the reader to have read this book before embarking on ‘Scavenger Blood’. Otherwise the cause of the tensions between characters and the perfidy of Cage and his cronies will not be fully understood.

This is not my favourite of Janet Edwards’ series but those who follow her work will find much to enjoy in this.

Pauline Morgan

February 2021

(pub: Independent Publisher, 2019. 366 page enlarged paperback. Price: £ 9.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-07595-221-0)

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