Saturday, 12 March 2016

The Revenant by Michael Punke

As he waited for the rabbit to roast, Glass became suddenly aware of the sound of the river. It was an odd thing to notice, he thought. He had clung to the river for weeks. . . . It struck him as strange that the smooth flow of water would create any sound at all. Or that the wind would, for that matter. It occurred to him that it wasn’t so much the water or the wind that accounted for the noise, but rather objects in their path.

Rating: 4 out of 10

The Revenant is based on the true story of Hugh Glass, a Rocky Mountain Furs Company man who is left for dead after a bear attack. I was really looking to this book. I’m a huge fan of Irish actor Domnhall Gleeson who stars in the adaption as Captain Andrew Henry. Naturally, I had to read the book before the film.

There are some good features in The Revenant. The descriptions of nature can be really good. It makes you think about nature from a new perspective and with a renewed appreciation. It also provides a nice break from the tone, which is mostly factual. The survival techniques are a great embellishment, like using pine tar to help seal open wounds, and makes it more like a vivid adventure.

The characterization is really good. You can tell that a lot of effort has gone into the planning because you get unique backstories and personalities in every character. The only downside to this is how their worries are expressed. The immediate worry for a character is repeated frequently within the given chapter but the way this is represented is repetitive in nature and doesn’t add anything for me.

The second half is definitely better than the first. The repetitive nature calms down but is still present to some extent with the worries. There is also a mix of perspectives within each chapter. The action is very fast-paced in the book as well. I found it hard to follow and not very visual or scary.

It also has a pet-hate, the use of dates on each chapter. I really dislike having to remember dates and years and I don’t really like flicking back as it disturbs the flow. Again, this is personal taste. The blurb on my edition is also incorrect. It says that Glass is ‘asking after two men, one with a gun that seems too good for him…’ Glass did say who stole his rifle but he doesn’t go around asking people if they’ve seen him or the gun. I’m surprised HarperCollins green lighted something like that.

I think this will be one of the rare occasions where the film is better than the book (I’m just about the watch it). I wouldn't really recommend it as an exciting thriller because there are better books out there. Have any of you read The Revenant or seen the film? What did you think?

Book facts
Year published: 2002
Pages: 308
Publisher: HarperCollins


  1. Enjoyed your critique.
    I was not planning reading the book and am apprehensive about the movie.
    I'm not a fan of 'gory images'.
    Let me know if the movie is worth my viewing time!

    1. Thanks, yeah it's definitely not one I'd recommend to read. I'm watching it this weekend so I'll let you know how scary it is. (The benefit of watching at home is that you have a duvet to hide under and a pause button!)

      P.s. I just noticed I scored it wrong!


Dear Reader,
First, thank you for reading my blog. Second, please speak your mind. Your comments are super appreciated and I always make an effort to reply.