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Saturday, April 5, 2008

Books of History

I've asked my wonderful husband to be a guest blogger here on boldblueadventure, so he can occasionally review the books he reads. This is his very first guest post!

Books: Chosen and Infidel
Author: Ted Dekker

Chosen and Infidel are the first two of four books in the young adult series, Books of History.

The story line is a continuation of Dekker's Circle series. The setting is an alternate reality, thought to be thousands of years in the future from our time: post-Armageddon. In a land left ravaged by evil, with only seven sacred forests left a war wages between two races. The fighting forces are running low and the Supreme Commander of the Forest Guard is forced to lower the age of recruitment. Thus a young adult series is born.

We meet a group of young champions who are hand-picked among thousands of 16+ year olds to lead the Forest Guard in battle against the surmounting numbers of the Desert Hoard. However, there are other forces at work behind the scenes. These forces have different priorities and different plans for the chosen four. There is a prophecy surrounding one of the four chosen that he will be the hero to defeat the evil one. It is his journey that is central to the plot.

Some questions arise though. The plot is not as simple as it seems. This is where Dekker's brilliance shines through. Here we see the connection of the circle series with books such as Saint, Sinner and Skin. All of these books will be part of the "circle saga" where I think everything will come "full circle", so to speak. Now what remains to be seen is how will Dekker pull these separate stories together.

Chosen was an interesting hook into the series. It actually really reminded me of Terry Brooks Armageddon's Children. I liked the action and the plot development. Although not overly descriptive, Dekker does well to create a landscape for the book without sacrificing the energy of the piece. I'm eager to read Renegade and Chaos, but at this time it is only to satisfy my curiosity about the series. In reading Infidel, I had the same feeling that I did when I read White. The feeling was that Dekker wrote the book as a filler. Because he had a longer story to write, he needed to fill the gap between the beginning and the end. This is one draw-back to Dekker in my opinion. Whereas an author of the likes of Tolkien can write a series such as Lord of the Rings, without leaving the reader skimming the pages just to get through it, Dekker seems to slow the story down so much that it just doesn't keep me interested. It seems too that Dekker has one plot line that he simply inserts into different environments with different characters. This is perhaps the draw-back to having so many books and trying to bring them all together. I wonder if Dekker had an overall plan for what his circle saga would be, or if he thought of a clever way to bring them all together.

One element that I do find interesting about this series and the overall circle series is the central element of romance. Everything is ultimately centered around the "Great Romance" which is a religion of love. Dekker develops a view of romance that is post-modern, yet with sex-dependent roles. He keeps the older-fashioned ideal that men will pursue women. Although, throughout the series women seem to have more wisdom and clarity of thought then men. Women and men have needs that seem to be inherit to their sex, however they are very equal in capabilities.

Both books are light reads and a good enough of a story that I would recommend them. Just know that you will be in for the long haul; if you read one you must read them all!


Alice Teh said...

Great review! I agree: read one, read 'em all! :)

Anonymous said...

Hey Hubby! Great review. This sounds like my sort of read too.