The Remaining – Travis Thrasher

The Remaining Travis Thrasher
The Remaining by Travis Thrasher
Published by Tyndale on September 1, 2014
Genres: Christian, Fiction, Speculative
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three-stars

The Remaining is a novelization of the apocalyptic movie from Sony Affirm. Just after a young couple says their vows, the earth shakes, and some people die suddenly and are taken away. The rest of their wedding party and friends are left to wrestle with what happened and with their faith. Characters struggle with secret love, dreams, hopes, and beliefs as they continue to evaluate their faith. This book and movie are both action-packed thrillers that will encourage audiences to think about their beliefs.

Quick. Name an upcoming movie based on one interpretation of the biblical End Times.

If you said Left Behind, well…you’d be right. But it’s not the only one. In September, Sony Affirm will be releasing The Remaining, an apocalyptic thriller that takes a bit more of a character-driven and condensed approach to the End Times than its more famous counterpart.

And while Left Behind made the move from book to movie, The Remaining is playing the game the opposite way, going from movie to book and getting the ever-versatile, always-up-for-a-challenge Travis Thrasher to write it. The result is a page turner that deals with the theology at a distance, instead choosing to focus on personal nature of the apocalypse. At its heart, The Remaining is a character-driven, intensely relational novel about people thrown into incredible circumstances and seeking to survive and make sense of it all.

The story itself begins right before a wedding with a group of longtime friends who have gathered together to celebrate the marriage of two of their own. But the celebration is shattered when a number of the guests suddenly drop dead and it soon becomes clear that the phenomenon is worldwide.

The initial reaction is panic. Panic and fear. And with the world coming undone, so do the personal lives of all these friends involved. Now, not only do they have to survive, they have to figure out how to come to grips with their troubled faith.

Normally, I wouldn’t draw direct contrasts between two novels in a review of one of them, but since Left Behind has been such a genre-defining epic, you can’t help but evaluate any other Christian apocalyptic thriller in light of it. While LB is character-driven, its length and style allow it to focus more broadly on the genre’s theological setting. In The Remaining, the focus is not specifically on the Rapture or the Tribulation, though those words are talked about; instead, the focus in on the immediate problem of the now. In that sense, The Remaining comes off as less preachy than LB. Further, while LB had the luxury of taking time to go through the whole Tribulation period (and then some), The Remaining focuses on the day of and after the Rapture, condensing some prophetic timelines in favor of an immediately looming supernatural foe.

Thrasher chose to the write the story in present tense, switching between characters, almost as if he’s doing a dramatic reading of a movie (which, actually, come to think of it, he is). That style lends toward the urgency and immediacy of the moment as emphasized in the storyline. I’d also be amiss to not compare The Remaining to one of Thrasher’s previous books, a little novel called Admission that similarly focuses on a group of friends trying to find the pathway to redemption. If you’re a fan of the apocalyptic genre or just a fan of a character-driven story, you’ll want to pick this one up.

three-stars

About Travis Thrasher

Travis Thrasher

Bestselling author Travis Thrasher has written over 50 books, spanning genres in fiction, nonfiction and children’s literature. His inspirational stories have included collaborations with filmmakers, musicians, athletes, celebrities and pastors.

With the childhood goal of pursuing a writing career starting in third grade, Thrasher worked for 13 years at Tyndale House Publishers after graduating college. His experience working with as Author Relations Manager allowed him to understand the writing life as well as training him to work with a variety of personalities. This experience has proven to be invaluable with varied writing projects in the decade he’s been a full-time writer.

His novels are as diverse as the people he’s worked with, ranging from love stories to supernatural thrillers. Publishers Weekly said “Sara and Ethan are two of the most real and sensitive lovers to grace the genre” when reviewing his first novel, The Promise Remains. They also stated “Thrasher demonstrates a considerable talent for the horror genre” in a review for Isolation years later. His readers have enjoyed the unpredictability of his novels, whether it’s due to a unique style such as second person or a twist they never saw coming.

Thrasher’s storytelling ability has also allowed him to work with others on their books, from musicians like country musician Scotty McCreery and Journey keyboardist Jonathan Cain to the Robertsons of Duck Dynasty. He has also penned novels based on songs such as Paper Angels with Jimmy Wayne and novelizations for films including Do You Believe? and God’s Not Dead 2. Upcoming projects continue to expand his talents, with projects including The Black Auxiliary about the lives of the 17 American black athletes who competed in the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, and Baby Don’t Hurt Me about comedian Chris Kattan’s life and time on Saturday Night Live.

Travis lives with his wife and three young daughters in the Grand Rapids, Michigan area.

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