Book Review: Ted Dekker’s “Circle Series”

the_circle_series

“In times past, our history has been retold using simple metaphors. Light coming into the darkness. A land called Narnia set free by a lion. A Ring that would enslave the hearts of all. But our generation looks to a new mythology to peel back the layers of truth. Dive deep into a world of colors. Of Green, of Black, of Red, and of White.”

Ted Dekker, Green: The Beginning and the End

I’ll admit to being a Ted Dekker fan. This author of Christian fantasy and thrillers tends to write shocking stories that may feel a bit strange at times – yes, even bizarre – but this is not without purpose. Instead of scaring readers just to scare them (like Stephen King or Dean Koontz), Dekker’s stories are filled with deep religious symbolism. Yes, his creative tales will stretch your imagination and keep you on the edge of your seat. But each book is also faithful to tell the Story, and you’ll find a refreshing new glimpse of your faith within the covers of each novel.

If you’ve never read Ted Dekker before then his Circle Series is, without a doubt, the place to start. These are the books that first drew me into Dekker’s thrilling web of fiction. The series includes four books:

  • Black: The Birth of Evil (2004)
  • Red: The Heroic Rescue (2004)
  • White: The Great Pursuit (2004)
  • Green: The Beginning and the End (2009)

While the books are advertised as a circular series that can be read in any order, I would strongly recommend reading them in the order given above. This will help you discover the story as the main characters do, and the entire thing will make more sense to you.

The story follows Thomas Hunter, a typical American man, who discovers a strange gift. Every time he falls asleep in this world, he wakes up in an alternate universe, where God is called Elyon, and the fall of man hasn’t happened yet. Soon it becomes apparent that it is up to him to save both worlds – and he begins a quest to save Earth from a worldwide virus while also fighting to save this alternate world from the influence of sin.

According to the Library Journal, this story is “An apocalyptic, spellbinding thriller.” The story is fast-paced, and will have you racing from book to book before you can catch your breath. But it is also beautiful, allowing us to see the love of God in our world with fresh eyes, as we also experience God’s love in another world. Take the following quote, for example:

“The point is, we were created to love beauty. We love beauty because Elyon loves beauty. We love song because Elyon loves song. We love love because Elyon loves love. And we love to be loved because Elyon loves to be loved. In all these ways we are like Elyon. In one way or another, everything we do is tied to this unfolding story of love between us and Elyon.”
Ted Dekker: Black: The Birth of Evil

Each book in this series made it to the New York Times Bestseller List, and they are certainly worth reading. Of course, Dekker’s goal was quite ambitious: he wanted to create a modern allegory of the same caliber of C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia or Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. While I would not go so far as to say Dekker’s books are in the same league as these beloved classics, I did find his modern allegory intriguing.

His books are thrilling, and they have something important to say about our world and about our faith. That makes them worth reading, in my book.

Of course, once you enter this imaginative series, your mind won’t rest until you’ve read them all and the story has come full circle.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

 

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9 thoughts on “Book Review: Ted Dekker’s “Circle Series”

  1. This has been in the background of my reading radar for a while now. I had them on my e-reader a few years back but never quite took the time to get sucked in. Maybe it’s time to try again?

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    1. If you like Christian allegory and extremely imaginative tales (think “The Matrix” meets “Narnia”) – then you should give them a try! Don’t put it down after the first couple of chapters though… if you’ll give him 4-5 chapters, you’ll end up hooked!

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  2. Your review is exactly what I think about those books. I started to be a huge Ted Dekker fan when I read the Circle Series. You MUST read them in the order you gave above! Also, yes, I’ll admit that I looooveeee these books and that Black is one of my all-time favorite books:). Anyways, nice post. Couldn’t agree more.
    http://www.aaboreden.wordpress.com

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  3. Oh, and I agree that you definitely have to get used to his style of writing. It’s very different, but totally awesome. Once you get used to his crazy awesome style, you’ll be hooked to all his books.

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