I have been an avid Ted Dekker reader and novel collector for years and I was very disappointed with this latest novel. I pre-bought it last summer in eager anticipation to complete the three set (Boneman's Daughter and Bride Collector) but I should have waited for the sale price. I just didn't find it as gripping, suspenseful and as well put together as his normal flow of the storyline...BUT that being said I did read the whole thing and I haven't exactly written a book yet, so kudos to him for getting another big novel under his belt and I hope he puts out another "humdinger" that I have come to love and expect!
When his mother and sisters are killed during a religious war, Danny Hansen makes it his calling to deal with the injustice in the world. Renee Gilmore is a victim of such injustice. When the love of her life is killed, she vows to avenge his death by going after his killer. These two paths eventually cross, and the twists and turns lead them down a road that could end with the deaths of both.
If you've been to my blog enough, then you should know I am a huge fan of Ted Dekker. I have yet to read a book he's written that I absolutely didn't like. This one, however, is not one of my favorites. Dekker's skill still shines. He knows how to weave a plot, and the characters are very well written. These characters in particular, though I could sympathize with them, were not really likable_ but I believe that may have been intentional. These characters are born out of trauma and pain, which leads them to situations of more trauma and pain. But I think it was the unlikable characters that made me not enjoy the story as much.
As usual, Dekker's overall theme is love. Not mushy, romantic love_ real love. This one also brings in themes of judgement and grace. Overall, it's still a good story, just not up to par with Dekker's previous work, in my opinion. You do have to realize, however, that my love of Dekker's other works puts me into the OMG!-I-love-Ted-Dekker!-fangirl category. So my "negative" review of this book really isn't all that negative, seeing as I hold his previous work in such high regard.
Call me twisted, but I love the way Dekker's mind works. Whenever I read his thrillers I always vacillate between being freaked out and being impressed by his subtle theology. In the end I am always edified by his insight into the human condition, which is the most important thing for me when I read a book. The takeaway value of Dekker's thrillers is priceless...for me, anyway. I get something out of each story and it's not merely thrills and excitement. I think about spiritual things, which is something I don't get out of anyone else's suspense/thrillers. Like I said, call me twisted, but I love them!
His novels are always page-turners for me, too. And the depth of the love themes is mind-blowing to me, but only because I see it. I'm sure many people miss the message because they aren't looking for it, but I see how he shines light in the darkness every time. It's funny because I never feel grossed out or disgusting after I read one of his novels. My pulse gets pounding and my adrenaline goes up because I am truly worried for the people in the book (which is nuts because they aren't real, or so I keep telling myself) and somehow Dekker manages to make me smile at the end of each and every book of his that I read.
Dekker "gets" how complex the human heart is and he does a fantastic job with redemption themes. This story shows how it's impossible for man to live by the law and how grace is the only answer...and he shows this through serial killers. Crazy, but true. They may be killing for what seems to be noble reasons, but in the end they are still killing. Yet at the same time he makes them fully human. He shows how trauma twists the way people view things. All brilliantly portrayed and executed...literally. I could go on and on, but the bottom line is that I loved this book!