Reviewed by Sarah Scheele for Readers' Favorite
The Gathering by John W. Milor is a Christian children’s adventure novel. It takes place in the primitive ancient world of Genesis and tells the story of five special chosen animals who are separated from the violent, cruel world of nature around them by a shared dream of a lone mountain. Overcoming dangerous adventures, vicious enemies, loss and sacrifice, and a strange climate change that is creating volcanic eruptions and torrential rain, Judah the young lion and his friends (the eagle, the wolf, the snake, and the sheep) undertake to unite others on a perilous journey they barely understand, to a mountain none of them has ever seen. Intrigue, confusion, betrayal, and sacrifice stand in their way. Will they reach the mountain in time? And why are they going there in the first place?
The Gathering is a first-rate Christian story, bringing to life the harsh world of the Old Testament, as seen through the lives of wild animals. Goodhearted Judah and his snarky-yet-under-confident snake friend, Sophia, make a heart-warming team as they collect allies like the reluctant Nimbi and hard-bitten Lumis, and face off against the sharply drawn, realistic villain Nephram, who represents this world’s greed and arrogance. John Milor’s numerous plot twists and suspense kept me dedicated to the pages, and the grandeur and scope of the ideas presented gave plenty of food for devotional thought as well. Reminiscent of The Lion King, with epic themes, drama, comedy, and fully realized characters, the story stands tall and puts a whole new perspective on one of the world’s oldest tales. Readers of biblical fiction and Christian fantasy shouldn’t pass this one up.