Let me just start off that I was quite confused for the first two chapters. I didn’t know what was going or why and I felt like the main character, Nameless, in that everything was new to me. Maybe the book was supposed to be disorienting to start with because the character Nameless was disorientated. I’m not sure. I guess I’m writing this review regarding an older audience (so children should not read this book). I’m also trying to put it in the perspective of horror/fantasy/sci-fi readers. I found some of the most adult content didn’t add to the story and was just put into there for the shock. I don’t want to discuss it in this review, but when you read up to it, you’ll understand what I mean.
We have only two main characters in this book, Nameless and Horace. We have a pile of other characters, but I’ll get to them later. So, first I’ll concentrate on Nameless. He is a man, human I guess, who has been returned from the dead, probably by some magic. We aren’t told how or why. For some reason, he is determined to figure out why people are trying to kill him. He’s portrayed as a good man who kills and has the skill to execute people with ease. To me, personally, I found he had no depth as the main character.
The next character is Horace, who Nameless found. Horace is an old homeless man with stumps for his hands. At the start of the book, he’s selfish, but that soon changes as he and Nameless bond. He’s a character who has a little bit of wit and likes to talk. I found Horace had more depth than Nameless.
We have some other characters scattered through the book. These include; the skull faces (who are after Nameless with a vengeance), a nun of a new/old religion (which isn’t explained too much), and a village (or family) of cannibals. There are a lot of stereotypes in this book, which is ok, but again I don’t know if they helped the story.
With all the killing in the book, how can there be a theme you ask? Well, the first theme has to do with the setting and the characters. We know that it is a post-apocalyptic world because the cities are run down, and there are few and far people between. So, the theme is human society failing. What would happen if people just went berserk? Well, Miller paints a grim picture with racism bundling people together and far-right groups taking control of such a dangerous world. I certainly wouldn’t want to live in this world. We also see (near the end), that the divide between the wealthy and the have-nots has grown so substantially that the rich probably live in their world.
Another theme is compassion. Nameless shows this when he meets Horace on the streets. He doesn’t treat Horace like the others do. He sees a man needing help and he has the means to help him. This spark of compassion creates a friendship where honesty is healthy. With this compassion, we also see others help Nameless when their lives may be at stake.
Baring in mind that this genre is not for everyone, I gave the book an okay score. I do think elements (like the stereotypes and shocks) did subtract from the book. Risen was a quick and fun read, so if you happen to find it discounted or free, or if you can get it on some unlimited, you should try it out (adults only). But, if you don’t like horror/fantasy together, then please don’t pick up this book. There is a lot of description of killing and fights; that may entertain those who need to get rid of their frustrations.
I downloaded this book for free from Amazon (there was a promotion in September). However, the author did request a review from me. This has not had any effect on my overall score or review.