A Career of New Colors *****
Just when we thought we knew where Ted was headed in
his career, just when we were ready to pigeonhole him, he breaks out with
another fantastic series. This is not a cheap spin-off of the Circle
Trilogy, or another way to cash in on that series' success. This is great
The story introduces us to Johnis, a young man who is still trying to
understand his place in the Forest Guard. He knows his community is
threatened by the nearby Horde, but he and the others have lost their
deeper understanding of the good and evil forces that encircle them.
They've become lackadaisical in the thirteen years since the Circle
Trilogy ended, and they follow their leader Thomas based mostly upon the
Soon, Johnis and three partners are thrust into a battle for their very
lives, racing to fulfill an assignment from Thomas, while also fighting
off the bat-winged Shataiki. Johnis is given his own specific quest, and
he is forced to either rise above his own limitations or fall prey to his
youth and inexperience.
I discovered Ted's writing at the beginning of his relatively short, but
prolific, career. I still think "When Heaven Weeps" is one of the best
Christian novels out there, and "Thr3e" broke barriers in the market. When
he wrote the Circle Trilogy, we had only hints at the larger mythos he was
creating, one which ties together his last ten books or so. While I loved
the allegory and depth of "Showdown," I found "Saint" and "Skin" to be
more movie-script oriented--not bad, just different.
"Chosen" is a return to the deeper exploration that I've come to expect
from Ted's stories. Despite being immensely readable and aimed at the YA
audience, this is a story older readers can also enjoy for its fantasy
elements and for the spiritual ideas that ring throughout. I'm anxious now
to read "Infidel." And if these are any indication, "Adam," his next
full-length novel should rank among his best.
-Eric Wilson "novelist"
Ted Dekker needs to write more from the
heart again ***
I've been a Ted Dekker fan since reading his
Circle Trilogy a couple of years ago and have read every book he's written
since then. His writing is some of the best I've seen from anyone, books
like Thr3e and Showdown captured my imagination and kept me hungry for
more. But something has happened to my favorite modern writer that I can
not explain. His slide from great fiction began with Saint and continued
with Skin. Since then he hasn't been able to write a novel that is up to
par with some of his past works.
Chosen is no different. Ted Dekker returns to the series that made him
great in the first place in his new series, the Lost Books. He returns
Thomas Hunter of the Forest Guard as a secondary character who serves as a
mentor of sorts to the four main characters, Johnis, Silvie, Darsal, and
Billos. The Forest Guard are struggling to fight off the powerful Horde
army which seeks to destroy the seven green forests of Elyon that are home
to the forest dwellers. In response to this great threat Thomas Hunter
lowers the age of his fighters from 18 to 16. When our four heroes are
sent into the desert to prove their worth by completing a task Thomas
gives them, they are approached by the Roush who inform them that they are
destined to search out and find the seven lost Books of History.
No book Ted Dekker has written has conflicted me more then this one. At
certain parts I wanted to throw the book at the wall in frustration as I
could not stand the horrendous dialog and cheesy "character development"
that plagued the entire middle part of the book. Other parts glued me to
my seat as the action picked up and Dekker showed off his ability as a
suspense and action writer. The book, like almost all Dekker books, ended
magnificently, but like Saint and Skin, the middle was horrible.
The minuses for this book are easy to see for anyone with an eye for
literature. First off, and I can not stress this enough, the dialog was
simply horrible. There were many parts where I almost put it down for good
because the way the characters spoke to each other was nothing like how
real teenagers would talk. Shut your yapper scrapper? I can understand the
need to keep the book "clean" (even if I think it takes away from the
overall realism of the story) but this is ridiculous.
sake, some paragraphs citing examples in the book have not been included
in this review.}
So why doesn't this
book get a one or two star rating? Well, when Dekker is in his element I
have to say he can still be great. The book starts out pretty well, but
then slowly fades into mediocre during the middle part of the story,
followed by a killer ending (read my review for Skin and you'll see I said
almost the exact same thing). It took him about 200 pages to get back in
his element, but once he got in his rhythm there was no going back. His
tie ins with Showdown near the end of the book were incredible and kept me
glued to my seat into the small hours of early morning. Dekker is a great
action and suspense writer, and proves in the ending of this book he still
has what it takes to create great fiction; too bad he doesn't stay in his
The single greatest piece of advice Thomas Hunter gave to the characters
in this book was to "think with your heart." Now, the single best piece of
advice this humble fan can give to my favorite writer is to write from the
heart. The Circle, Thr3e, and Showdown were all great books because Dekker
didn't just go by the numbers and try to write best selling fiction, he
wrote what God put into his heart and came out with some great stories.
Other then that, I honestly think he should give the Circle a break. Ever
since he wrote the original series almost every book since has been a tie
in of one kind or another. Showdown was a great tie in, but then it just
got weird as he forced the Horde into Skin and Saint. Chosen has the
potential to explain a lot of unanswered questions from the Trilogy, like
how Thomas was able to move between our two worlds and what he was doing
in the Black Forest, but Dekker doesn't take advantage of this fact. Let's
hope that in future entries in this series Dekker will take this
opportunity to expand the story. Well, I hope my rambling was helpful to
Re-read value; low.
-A1C Jonathan Lane "RockN'Rolling