Having recently finished 'The Priest's Graveyard,' perhaps my expectations for this Dekker book were artificially high because the reading reality of 'Immanuel's Veins' was a letdown.
I had to think "why was that?" to write this review since a lot of the book is good. The plot line is excellent. The setting is full of beauty and intrigue. The characters are nicely introduced. But it did not deliver. I came up with two reasons for this:
1) We really got into the hero's head. That part was classic Dekker. But I never got into his heart. It felt more like a brotherly love than a romantic passion, so the romance wasn't fully credible.
2) The Vampire theme seemed as if it had been a publisher's assignment, not an idea birthed from the author's soul. There is a lot of deviation from standard mythology for no obvious reason. For one thing, these vampires were supposedly descendants of the biblical nephilim! Um, no. The nephilim were giants, not vampires. Additionally, this troop does not bite necksthey store blood in bottles like wine and use goblets for their draught. I found the explanation by the Tsar vampire that he considered biting the lip to be more highbrow than biting the neck to be ludicrous.
My analysis: This could make a great movie because it has stunning visuals with mountain landscapes and an electrifying thunderstorm. The actors and actresses could supply the chemistry that the book lacks if well cast. But the book lacks the chemistry of a believably gripping vampire seduction; and because of that, I was left asking why the heroine ever needed rescued? Why couldn't she have just walked away?
It very rare that you find a novel about the true romance of life, and Ted Dekker manages to overcome that challange every book he writes. The end of this book left me speechless. For all those who fear that this book is too dark, un-Godly, or just another vampire spin off, it isn't. Read it, all the way, and be plunged into your Beloved's sacred blood. You must survive the night to see the rising sun.
This is, without a doubt, the most powerful book I have ever read, and easily Ted Dekker's best. This time around, he deals with vampires. No, they do NOT sparkle, and NO, this IS NOT an attempt to appeal to Twilight fans!
Anyways, this book is brilliantly written and perfectly told, with genius and powerful use of symbolism and a perfect representation of temptation and the dangers of giving in.
Now, here is a message to a few 1-star reviewers:
HOW is this book "evil"? HOW is it "too sensual"? Have you seen the trash on TV and in the movies? Have you heard of the sickening smash-hit novel Fifty Shades of Grey? Another thing: what do you think the point of the book is? This is a warning about temptation! If a novel is to convey such a great message, there MUST be darkness and temptation involved! And what better way to do so than using sexual temptation, easily the most deadly of temptation? If you think this is too sensual, then remember: it could have been much, MUUUUUCH worse. There were no sex scenes; it was only implied. Do you want your characters to be perfect? Honestly!
Anyways, I'm done venting my frustration. And forgive me if I sounded rude; I was only making a point. Always portray evil as evil, or else you accomplish NOTHING.
To the people who never finished the book because they thought it was too dirty and had no spiritual message, I have this to say: read it from cover to cover. You can't miss the point of the book.
So, would I recommend this? Without a DOUBT!
Now, if you are simply not comfortable with reading sensual scenes or vampires, then I can understand you not reading this. But don't make the mistake of calling it "evil". That's a senseless accusation.
I am a dedicated Ted Dekker fan, from the Circle books through The Bride Collector. This one I didn't care for. I'm not sure if it's the time period or the vampires that turned me off, but I would not recommend this one. Sorry Mr. Dekker, but kudos on The Priest's Graveyard.
The most beautiful thing about the book, as with all Dekker books, is no matter who the lead character is, he is always flawed. His strength only comes from Christ making Him the true hero of the novel rather than the protagonist. In the end, the message of redemptive love is made perfectly clear through this novel. It allows one to relive this astonishingly wonderful tale of good overcoming evil no matter what the cost.