"We Will Rise" Book Review
Written by Zach Rosenberg
Published by Flame Tree Press
Written by Tim Waggoner
2022, 256 pages, Fiction
Released on July 19th, 2022
Tim Waggoner is an ever-present source of delight. As a writer, Waggoner understands horror on a technical level. He knows the building blocks of the genre, how to construct a scene to hit all the proper beats for terror. He understands exactly how to craft his books from beginning, middle, and end while providing unique and innovative stories. We Will Rise is no different.
The novel combines cosmic horror, traditional ghost stories, apocalyptic horror and introduces a diverse cast of characters in Echo Hill, Ohio. The dead are rising and attacking the living, claiming their souls to add to the ranks of the ghosts. And they’re doing it en masse. The world is changing and ending as vast swaths are consumed by the ghosts.
Enter the survivors. From Oliver, a transgender young man living in the worst of the bible belt, to business major Faizan and EMT Julie, they are caught up in the disaster and forced to band together to survive. Not every survivor is benevolent; librarian Jerome hides a fiendish dark side and seemingly sweet cafe owner Karen is a twisted sadist out to torment her sister and everyone close to her. Some find themselves bonding with the more sadistic ghosts, out to destroy as much as they can and slaughter the living. Karen has a scene at her sister’s school that is intense, harrowing and the most horrifying in the novel.
Notably, Waggoner’s diverse cast shines. He has always effectively balanced ensemble casts and here is no different. Waggoner has genuine compassion for his characters, with Oliver’s plight as a transgender man in a hyper-religious environment portrayed sympathetically. His girlfriend is killed by her intensely transphobic father, prompting her ghost to return to haunt Oliver in hopes he will be with her again.
The reveal of the source of the ghosts makes this a cosmic horror story; hope is not in the offering for the long term, but small victories can mean everything. The survivors are forced to stay ahead of the ghosts and the worst of humanity, but defiance is achieved in living just that much longer. We Will Rise a tense, emotional, scary ride and one of Waggoner’s best.
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