E.T. Gunnarsson, in his novel Forgive Us, provides a post-apocalyptic world that is dark, harsh, violent, and shatterlingly plausible. Post-apocalyptic stories are not a new thing. There have been countless tales of a world torn apart by various disasters, but Gunnarson offers a new element to this trope that breathes fresh horror into it. With elements of a gun-slinging western, this multi-plot novel takes readers on an adventure that is suspenseful, action-packed, exciting, terrifying, and full of gore. More than that though, the plot has depth and substance. There are, in reality, three intertwining story lines that seamlessly weave through the book and each one is gripping and strong. I give full marks for the plot(s) in this novel. Often times in multi-plot books like this I find my favorite plot and lose a bit of interest in the others, but that did not happen at all here…my favorite plot was always whichever one I was reading at the time
I am such a fan of how Gunnarsson created his characters. Each character feels like a real person who is reacting in a real way to the horrific situations they are in. Each reaction, conversation and decision feels plausible and realistic. The horrible part is that you never know who is safe! Gunnarsson sucks readers into investing into characters and then pulls the rug out with heart wrenching violence and trauma. I love it! There are no protected characters and anything can happen. This creates a realism to Forgive Us that is hard to ignore.
Plain and simple, E.T. Gunnarsson is a gifted author. He has created an intricate and difficult novel with three story-lines that weave seamlessly through the novel until coming together in such a brilliant way that it is honestly worth reading the book simply to see how well that is done. Gunnarsson really flexes his ability to not only imagine unique plots, but that he has the skill to bring them to life. It is such a difficult challenge to write novel like this and it shows extreme skill to keep all the timelines and characters organized. How the stories fit together and kept my guessing through the book because all the obvious connections or theories are avoided before I got blindsided by the truth.
I obviously loved this novel and was impressed by the writing. However, I do think that Gunnarsson had such a perfect vision in his mind that he gave a little too much to the reader. I completely understand wanting to paint the perfect image and set the perfect scene, but it is important to leave room for the reader’s imagination too. That being said, it was difficult to find a critique and this is a very impressive novel.
I highly recommend this masterpiece. It is extremely complex and deep, but accessible. it is dark and heavy and you will love it! If you are a fan of post-apocalyptic horror, or any other type of horror, or just a fan of reading, buy this book or download the audio book and settle in for a novel that will grip you with every page and stick with you for a very long time after the final page.
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