Author Michael Punke
The Revenant is a title you are likely familiar with. It was a huge movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy, you probably saw it and if you’re like many fans you were probably disappointed. Before this movie though was a novel written by Michael Punke.
The plot of the novel is very similar to the plot of the movie with one exception. This time, the revenge is over a rifle, not an illegitimate child. I do like this more. It’s petty but it’s enough. The whole having a secret bastard child thing didn’t do it for me in the movie, the characters just aren’t that deep.
This gun plot fits these characters better. However, that does not mean I liked the book any better than I liked the movie. It is 100% a male fantasy exercise in machismo. I am not the audience for The Revenent in any of its forms.
It’s all about revenge, violence, survival at all costs, living the rough life out in the woods, a misguided importance in honor and duty, and meat. If you’re the kind of reader whose favorite books are Call of the Wild and Hatchet, you may like this one a lot more than I did.
However, just because you fit the audience better than I do you may still find some of the same problems present. The book is boring. It’s dry, the action is too spaced out, and I did not care about any of the characters.
There is hardly any character development in the entire book. One of the most developed characters was introduced in the last 30 pages or so and did not need to be introduced at all. Seems quite odd to spend so much time with a character that isn’t present in the whole rest of the book.
The ending is flat. It could have worked if I had cared about the characters and story but I didn’t so it fell short.
On top of all of this there is an undertone of racism throughout the entire novel. I know that it’s a period piece and that history is not kind to Native Americans but there are far better ways to present it than glorifying the white man over the “savage.”
The Revenent takes a hard stance that the white male of the species is superior to all other forms. I will always take issue with that regardless of context.
This book was not for me. It might be for you. If it is for you I hope you still recognize that it is far from a perfect book and critique it fairly. I’d love to hear counter opinions on this one, comment below.
2/5 grizzlies 🐻🐻
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Buy it here: The Revenant: A Novel of Revenge