Author: Shawn Smucker
Genre: Mystery/Magical Realism
Release Date: June 30, 2020
Once held captive and tortured on a mysterious mountain, Dan was lucky to have made it out alive. But freedom comes at a cost. Left with little memory of the horrific ordeal, Dan can recall one thing--his escape meant leaving his brother behind.
With each day that passes, Dan waits with the other survivors in hope of his brother's escape. But just as long-forgotten memories start rising to the surface, the sudden appearance of a wounded woman throws everything into question. As Dan struggles to know who to trust, he is caught once again in a paralyzing moral dilemma:
How far will he go to save the people he loves?
Visionary writer Shawn Smucker is back with an unsettling story that invites us to consider two challenging questions: To what lengths will we go to assuage our own guilt? and Is there a limit to the things we will do for the people we love?
Reviewer: Susan Poll
This is a different book than my normal and I’m happy I took the chance. It grabbed me in from the first page and I just needed to know what was happening.
The author keeps you wondering what exactly is going on as he reveals little clues – the memories that come back to the villagers with Dan are placed perfectly and I loved the “aha!” moments that it brought. There is a deep meaning to this story and it brought revelations to me as I realized how many people can be affected. I will leave that sentence as cryptic as it sounds – I don’t want to give anything away.
Dan has much to figure out and discover as he interacts with those who came from the mountain. Very well written. If you like deep thinking stories with mystery and lessons to learn in the end, then this book will be right up your alley.
This book was provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group/Revell through Interviews & Reviews for my honest opinion.
Reviewer: Beverly Laude
"Abandon Every Hope, Who Enter Here"
"Do you have any idea what our freedom cost?"
"It's the kind of place you have to leave on your own. Everyone who has ever left has battled their own way out. In this place, our guilt consumes us."
"Love changed me."
These are just a few of the quotes that resonated with me as I read this book. This book is very thought-provoking as it deals with guilt, grief, personal demons, and redemption.
Dan escaped the mountain long ago, but can't leave the village he calls home because he is waiting for his brother, Adam, to join him. As he waits, he learns that the few people left in the village are waiting for Adam's return also. Dan slowly learns how their stories join them together while at the same time, remembering his part in the tragic events.
Dan decides that he must return to the horrors of the mountain to bring Adam out. His journey leads him into the depths of his own personal hell.
I will admit that the book had a slow start, and I found some of the more descriptive passages to be a little bit tedious. But, the writing was beautifully descriptive, and the emotions that evolved while reading were well worth sticking with it until the end.
I did not realize until the end of the book that it was based on Dante's "Inferno." (Maybe because I have never read "Inferno"). It has a post-apocalyptic feel to it but is much, much more than that. I know that the message of this book will stay with me for a long time.
This book was provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group/Revell through Interviews & Reviews.
Reviewer: Raechel Kelly
This is my second book to read by this author and his writing voice is very interesting. The whole concept of each book is intriguing, and the kind which you need to suspend your mind a bit to understand. Nothing is exactly clear, and all is a little strange, but it keeps you captivated and continue reading to find out what is happening.
I don't think I could even describe the plot with justice, especially since even after finishing, I'm still not exactly sure about all of it, haha.
About all I can think to say about it is that "These Nameless Things" is a fascinating book that piques your interest. It was confusing at times, and as I said, I'm still not sure about all of it, but it was definitely intriguing. The characters all sprang to life and it is all told with vivid imagination. Some parts felt a little darker, while others hinted at more light, and the memories of the characters that surfaced helped weave the story together.
This book was provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group (Revell), through Interviews & Reviews.
Reviewer: Mindy Houng
"We smell like exhaustion, like miles piled on top of miles, like time when it has already run out. Yet somehow, we also sound like hope, like fresh water washing through the reeds."
What an intriguing, thought-provoking novel by Shawn Smucker! His lyrical, poetic, mesmerizing writing style is captivating, and the plot is quite unique. The author seamlessly integrates themes of guilt, unbearable pain, bonds of family, loyalty, hope, forgiveness, and redemption into a beautifully written, other-worldly kind of story. If you haven't read Dante's Inferno, I would suggest reading the synopsis of the classic work (like I did) before starting this book.
The story is told in first person from Dan's perspective. He, along with several others, are at a village right outside of the mountain from which they had all escaped. Dan is waiting for his twin brother Adam. Most in the village have already left and headed east, but the ones who have chosen to stay all have memories and past experiences that tie them together. The memories, including Dan's, are foggy and dream-like at first, but they start rushing back to the people left in the village. The first few chapters can be a little confusing since the author is laying down the foundation of setting and characters, but the story picks up pretty quickly once the cast of characters is introduced and relationships are explained. How each person's past and pain fit into the giant puzzle of the plot is surprising when discovered but also wonderfully redemptive when forgiveness is extended and accepted.
It's an intensely emotional, unforgettable allegory and definitely worth reading.
I received a copy of the book from Baker Publishing Group via Interviews & Reviews. I was under no obligation to post a positive review. All comments and opinions are solely my own.
Reviewer: Anna Bottoms
These Nameless Things is a book that exposes the sins of the heart, yet brings the hope that we are not forever captive—there is a way out. There is one whose deception keeps us bound in the lies we tell ourselves, but there is another who is always present, fights our battles, sustains us and frees us from darkness.
In this book the main protagonist, Dan, is living a complacent life. Temptation comes subtly, leading him to do things that exposes his sin, shame and guilt. He is shown the consequences others suffered because of his previous choices. This story is a study of redemption and the power of forgiveness.
All life is a journey, but the path we take is our choice. Will we continue on the dark path, or change direction and step into the light?
This book is well written, descriptive, made me think, and examine myself. The beginning held me up a bit, because I kept waiting for where the story would take me. I almost put it down, but I’m glad I didn’t. It’s definitely worth the read.
I was given a copy of this book courtesy of Baker Publishing Group through Interviews and Reviews, by way of NetGalley. This is my honest review.
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