“The Story of the Resurrection as You’ve Never Seen It Before”.
This is the tagline for a new movie entitled Risen, releasing in February of 2016 and just in time for the Easter season. It sounds intriguing, don’t you think? Only a few weeks earlier, the novelization of this major motion picture released from Bethany House Publishers as a precursor to the movie. The novel was written by Angela Hunt and based on the story by Paul Aiello, who also created the screenplay along with Kevin Reynolds. As the tagline suggests, this IS a resurrection story that is unique, unexpected, and compelling in many ways. Unfortunately though, it contains several less-than-desirable qualities as well.
- This book, obviously, reveals the greatest story the world has ever known through the eyes of an unbelieving Roman soldier. Without question this proves not only very interesting, but also compelling in a unique way.
- The reality and purpose of Jesus’ death is brought to life with startling clarity, truly making readers witness his death, resurrection, and the subsequent chaos and confusion of Jerusalem through new eyes.
- Numerous Biblical figures are incorporated into the drama, making a fascinating plot that intersects fiction with reality.
- The excitement, drama, and characterization are enough to keep even adventure-loving readers on their toes!
- One of the sub-stories of the novel is an extremely immoral relationship between two main characters. Unexpectedly, this plot-line is not present in the movie at all due to time constraints, but was included in the novelization much to to my disappointment.
- Although the historical details are engrossing and likely well-researched, the dialogue is most definitely NOT historically accurate. Conversations between characters truly sound as though they take place in the present day! As you can imagine, this is quite annoying in a book set in an ancient era.
- While most likely accurate, the violence of the Jesus’ death, and the ensuing search for his body, are described in sometimes gruesome detail. I had a difficult time reading certain portions, and find it likely that other sensitive readers will be troubled as well.
Overall, this book was a compelling, fictitious portrayal of the greatest story in history. Although it contains some undesirable, often violent plot points, and is not as historically accurate as it could have been, the overarching intention of bringing the resurrection to life in a new way is powerful and successful. If you enjoy fictitious perspectives on Biblical stories, Risen is a book – and movie – you won’t want to miss.
“Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.”