Thursday, December 3, 2009

Review of Ted Dekker's Green

Perhaps I chose the wrong book as my first Ted Dekker read. Green, “the beginning and the end” of Dekker’s Circle series, is both a continuation of and an introduction to the good versus evil saga begun in Black. Although Dekker claims Green is a fine place to begin reading the Circle series, I found it difficult to plunge into.

I am not typically a fan of fantasy literature, and maybe that’s what hindered my reading, but I did find Green to be a superb allegory. The events of Green take place in two worlds simultaneously which are linked by one man, Thomas Hunter. In Black, Hunter, raised in the present age, crosses into a parallel dimension, a post-apocalyptic earth 2000 years in the future, where civilization exists much like it did in ancient times, depending on the strength of man and horse in battle and living off God’s provision. In this future world, good and evil are physical. What is unseen and spiritual of the present age is seen and tangible in the future world.

Black, Red, and White cover Hunter’s years in the future world, during which time he marries, raises a family, and fights evil. He leads the Circle, the representation of Christians who follow the ways of Elyon (God) and are literally washed by his blood, against the Hoard, the representation of those who reject salvation and worship evil.

A scabbing disease marks each Hoard member. It is discovered in Green that the disease is more than skin deep. It resides in the brain of its hosts and is a living, destructive reproduction of evil, or the literal and physical effects of sin.

Circle members are referred to as albino because they lack the scabs. They were once affected, but chose to drown in Elyon’s lake, the water turned red by his blood. They literally died to themselves and were born to salvation by accepting Elyon’s cleansing gift.

Over time, doubt has crept into the Circle, and the people can no longer see nor touch the spiritual forces surrounding them. They had been so confident in and reliant on Elyon, “But the realities of life cast doubt on that interpretation” (Dekker 150). The musing of Thomas' son, Samuel, “Absolute good and evil were nothing more than constructs fashioned by humans who needed to understand and order their everyday lives” (Dekker 150), is reflective of the way people question the need for salvation today.

Thomas sums up that need in his conversation with Kara and Monique. He says, “Yes, we die. But it’s life really, because Elyon paid that price so we can escape it.” The women question what the price is for, to which Thomas replies, “The cost of our embracing evil—death. Elyon cannot live with evil; it must die” (Dekker 199).

My one real disappointment was the ending. I understand why it ends as it does, so the Circle will continue. However, it would have been much more satisfying (to me) to end with a final defeat of evil and the redemption of the faithful. You know, a happy ending. As it is, everyone in the Circle but Thomas and Samuel go on to eternity with Elyon, while Thomas goes back in time in hope of saving his son, thus, leading us into Black.

As Thomas tells Mikil after Samuel joins the half-breeds, “There’s much [I] don’t understand.” A second (or third or fourth) reading might fill in the blanks I missed, but I will probably not see the whole picture until I read the complete series. Isn’t that ironic? I won’t see the whole picture of my own life either until its circle is complete. For now, though, I concur with the Roush, “I understand what I’m meant to understand” (Dekker 157).

I recommend reading Green, but only after reading Black, Red, and White. I believe it would be helpful to read the Paradise trilogy and the Lost Books series beforehand also.

3 comments:

Cynthia Schuerr said...

Well, you have managed to turn a negative review into a positive plug for this author.
Artfully done!

K.M. Weiland said...

I read the [i]Circle[/i] trilogy several years ago, when it first came out, and was disappointed. I had been bowled over by Dekker's [i]Thr3e[/i] and had high hopes for the rest of his writing. Maybe I was just expecting too much...

Jodi Whisenhunt said...

Thank you, Cynthia!

Katie, my husband read Thr3e and enjoyed it, but I hadn't read any Dekker books before this one. The 1st 1/3 of the book was a slow read and hard to follow. I do want to read more from him.

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