Thursday, January 14, 2010

Ted Dekker

Well, as promised, I'm going to write a review of Ted Dekker's work. This review won't be as detailed as some of my others, mostly because it's been a few months since I read the first books of his series so it isn't all fresh in my mind, and also I don't want to spoil too much.

Let me first say, that Ted Dekker is a Christian writer. Still, as far as I'm concerned, he could be a modern day C. S. Lewis. His work manages to be entertaining and interesting while exploring the Christian themes of good verses evil, and love and sacrifice. I know some Christian writers lose the story in making a point, but Dekker manages to make you feel the point through the art of the story. One of the things I like most about Ted Dekker's work is that it all weaves together flawlessly, like a tapestry of prose that isn't complete without each book. Some of the books can stand alone, but this is one series that I think gets better as you read more of the books.

The first series that I read by Ted Dekker was the Circle series. The books in this series are "Black", "Red", and "White", but he just added another called "Green" that I'm reading now, turning the trilogy into four books instead of three. This series is also the one I recommend reading first. The Circle series is basically about a man named Thomas Hunter who finds that when he sleeps he awakens in a totally different world. The world is a place filled with innocence and wonder, contrasted only by a very visible corruption, in essence, it consists of a green forest filled with the human residents and gentle bat-like creatures and a black forest filled with evil black bats. In this world Thomas marries, learns to fight, and becomes a leader, but it isn't to last since the forest becomes corrupted by the evil surrounding it, from the choice of one man. The forest then becomes mostly desert. Meanwhile, in the world that Thomas is originally from (our world about a few decades into the future), a deadly virus threatens to kill off the human race. Only the knowledge that Thomas obtained in the Books of History from his dream world holds the key to the world's salvation.

The next series takes place in the "dream world" in between events. This is "The Lost Books" series, containing four books, "Chosen," "Infidel", "Renegade," and "Chaos." In this series, a group of young warriors from Thomas' village must go to our world to find the seven lost Books of History before they can be used by evil forces to cause havoc on both worlds. The Books of History are crucial to all of the stories. The Books are magical and can control the fate of the world. They possess forbidden knowledge, and anything written within them can become reality if someone believes it can.

Which, brings me to the series I read most recently, "The Books of History Chronicles." This series takes place in our world, following the tragic undoing of the little town of "Paradise" in Nevada.

In "Showdown," There's a secret project called, "Project Showdown" that took thirty seven orphans to be cared for in a monastery, trying to produce a child that was a "noble savage." The project goes horribly wrong, and one of the children, Billy, finds the Books of History, managing to cause a LOT of damage. He and his friends gained tremendous power from the books, but eventually his enemies, "Johnny" and "Samuel" gain tremendous power too. The book's climax is a battle for the town of Paradise between Billy, his girlfriend Darcy, the character Billy created, "Marsuvee's Black" and Johnny and Samuel.

The book "Saint" follows the story of the one child who did do the right thing for Paradise, Johnny. His life takes a strange course where he becomes a powerful assassin. In the end, he must make a choice between right and wrong that could be his undoing, and could change the fate of the world. He also must regain his memories of "Project Showdown" and the other events of his past.

Later in "Sinner," the powers that Billy and Darcy gained from the books would give them government influence. Billy has the ability to read minds, and Darcy has the ability to persuade almost anyone to her opinion. They convince lawmakers to start a new rule that could be the undoing of organized religion in the world, called "The Tolerance Act." And, once again, Johnny and Samuel must make a stand for what they believe in. The book ends in a second showdown between Billy and Darcy, and Johnny and Samuel, and they all are forced to face off with a nightmare from their pasts when Marsuvees Black returns.

There has been a great deal of discussion about which novels of "The Books of History Chronicles" to read first. Dekker recommends to read them out of order, but I found that to be slightly confusing. I suggest reading them in the order listed, "Showdown", "Saint", and then "Sinner." Or, "Showdown," "Sinner," then "Saint." "Saint" is the only one that doesn't really affect the order since it's basically what happens to the child "Johnny" while he's growing up and doesn't have as much bearing on the events of "Showdown" and "Saint."

I just like reading things in order so that my questions about the past are already answered, but that is my personal opinion. Also, of the three, "Showdown" was my favorite since it had the magical feeling that the Circle series gave me, where anything seemed possible but the main character had to still overcome nearly impossible odds. This series is also a bit more preachy than the others, but it does have a good message that is important, about how the government could effect free speech when it comes to religion and the ways in which it already has.

I recommend this series to anyone who even remotely enjoys Christian fiction. It's very good and you'll be hooked right away. The books tie into each other so intricately, it would take me much too long to explain on this blog, but trust me, you'll be impressed. I hope you liked this review, sorry it was so long, but there are eleven books in this series so far, and I wanted to give you at least a feel for all of them.

No comments:

Post a Comment