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Green by Ted Dekker- An Honest Review
on October 2, 2009
I don't like writing negative reviews. I know how hard it is to write a book, and hats off to Mr. Dekker for finishing so many. That truly is a feat. Also hats off for the stunning Circle trilogy he wrote, in my mind, it was brilliant. But I have to be honest. I know I'm going to get a lot of flack for this, so let me just say that I'm not judging Mr. Dekker as a person, but, an author WILL be judged by his writing. That's how it works. So let's get started.
*NOTE* MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS
Green can be rather confusing to a new reader in the beginning, especially if you have not read The Circle Trilogy. I know he wrote at the beginning of the book that you can start with 'Green' and go on to 'Black', but trust me, you can't. He includes many elements from the previous novels ('Black', 'Red', and 'White') along with others, that makes the reader lost if not having read the previous stories. These elements are hardly explained except for a sentence such as 'a roush Thomas had met a while ago...' I was alright for the most part, but it was hard to keep up with a couple of the characters as I had not read 'Showdown' or 'Saint'. This is a huge error- an author should never assume that the reader has read all of the books, especially since this book can 'begin' or 'end' the series.
-> Plotline: The Circle is breaking up with different doctrinal lines, doubts, and bitterness. Thomas of Hunter is 10 years older with a wife (Chelise) and 3 children- Samuel, Marie, and Jake. Samuel has lost his way, rebelling against the Circle and his father. Thomas tries to save his son and the Circle before it is too late, with Chelise trying to save her father.
1. Thomas Hunter (Main): A complete rewrite- I barely recognized the Thomas Hunter from the previous books. In the beginning, he is challenged in front of the Circle by his son, Samuel. Samuel rebels against Elyon and sparks a disruption. Marie- Thomas's daughter, challenges Samuel to hand-to-hand combat to the death in defense of her father's honour. What does Thomas do? Nothing. He's completely helpless, stunned. This made me almost despise him. It's basically like this throughout the whole story: something "shocking" and horrible happens, and Thomas sits down and cries. NOT a man.
2. Chelise: Far too obsessed with her parent's salvation, so much so that she puts her whole family at risk. She disobeys all of her husband's commands and precautions.
3. Samuel: Apparently an antagonist. He rebels against the Circle, is seduced and brings about Armaggedon. At the beginning he is "saved", in the end he is not. To me he seemed repentant, but he died unsaved.
4. Qu'rong: Mostly the same. I was quite happy with his character.
5. Ba 'al/Billos/Billy/Bill: As you can see, four split personalities is very confusing. Ba'al has lived for some time in the other world, while Billy has lived in ours. Yet they are one and the same, despite Billy never dreaming until this book. The phenomena is unexplained and far too confusing. Billy aparently was a character in 'Showdown' and plays a major role in this book. However, not much of him is explained under the assumption that the reader has read 'Showdown'.
6. Janae/Jezreel: Another split personality, Janae is Monique's daughter, and has Shatiaki/demon blood in her. She is naturally evil, and partner's with Billy to find the lost books in this other world. Billy and Janae inject themselves with the Raison Strain, counting on the fact that Monique will save their lives and provide a way to Thomas by injecting them with the last vial of his blood. Confusing, I know...but I'm doing my best.
7. Monique: Older and a few mistakes wiser, she injects Billy and Janae with Thomas's blood to save their lives, even though she know's it could affect the whole world. Did not seem like her AT ALL.
8. Kara: Thomas's sister, encourages Monique to save Janae and Billy, saying it's what Thomas would do, when obviously it was'nt- (Thomas having stood back and let his son be sacrificed for Elyon in a previous chapter.) I don't know if that was meant to be ironic or not.
9. Marsuuv/Marsuvees Black: Apparently this character is connected to Billy and 'Showdown'. Had no clue what was going on. Marsuuv is a demonic "queen" to Teeleh. Didn't know what the point was.
-> Writing & Suspense: For the most part, I was kept hooked into the story. Though he's slackened off a bit in my opinion, Dekker still has a writer's touch and can keep the reader interested. Granted, the book could have used a many rewrites to make it all fit more smoothly, but I thought he told everything very well, despite the fact that I did not agree with how the story went, or how the characters evolved. Awful story, written well.
-> Theological and Moral Disputes:
1. Sensual and Sexual Elements: I would NOT let my younger brother read this novel. This book had far more sensual moments and sexual elements than and of the previous, and this highly disappointed me. I was going to buy the set for my younger brother as a Christmas present, but now I cannot. Mr. Dekker did not take into consideration his younger audience of fans, and I would recommend that all parents review this book before passing it on to their children. Mr. Dekker mentions foreplay, demonic "mating", and many sensual desires that honestly, were not appropriate.
2. Doctrinal and Theological Elements: A.) The theory that the Devil has children through humans. This is a dangerous and not sound idea that has not been biblically proven, though many read into it. B.) The idea that it is possible to lose your salvation. Samuel is an albino (saved) up until the middle of this book, where he is seduced and becomes a Scab. He dies unsaved. How is that possible with eternal salvation? C.) The idea that we get a second life on earth, and a chance to save lost loved ones who are already in hell. Elyon allows Thomas Hunter to go back in time to save his son, after Samuel has died and gone to hell. This is never allowed. We get one chance to accept Jesus- this life we live. No do-overs. D.) That all fighting and self-defense is of the world. In this book, the saved believe any fighting at all makes them like the Scabs- the unsaved. They do not defend themselves or their families, instead getting slaughtered because they believe to only show love to the Scabs. This is a dangerous doctrine and clearly against the Bible. God does want us to defend our homes and our families. He means for husbands to protect their wives and their children. Those are only the big ones. There are a lot more, but this review is getting too long already.
3. Demonic Elements: I believe it is possible for a christian, for anyone, to delve too deeply into the occults and demonic elements. You say "know your enemy". I say "know your Jesus". The Bible clearly states to dwell on those things that are lovely, dwell on those things that are pure, dwell on those things that are of good report. It is dangerous for us to study the darkness of the Devil too much. We are not to dwell on that. We are to study the Bible and learn more about Jesus. 'Green' is much darker then all the previous books in the Circle series. In the book are included graphic sacrifices and rituals, demonic possession, and etc. A LOT of it- too much. We know that the devil is powerful, but our God is greater. We are to know HIM. We defeat the Devil with Jesus and the power of the Bible, not by studying the dark arts. This really put me off of the story and I believe, took away from it.
->Ending (or lack thereof): I know that Mr. Dekker was trying to make the series a Circle, but that's not the way it is. The book ends with an Armageddon of sorts. Thomas nearly enters heaven, but is still saddened at the loss of Samuel. He begs Elyon to let him return to the past to "save" his son, and surprisingly, Elyon does. A big catch: Thomas cannot remember anything that has happened in all the books. He goes back to where he was at the start of 'Black', living in his sister's apartment, and the whole story starts over again. There is no ending in this. We are told at the end of Green to read Black. What? The same story will just start all over again. Thomas will not save his son because the same thing will happen, and then Elyon will send him back again, and on it goes. Thomas has no memory of anything that happened, so he won't know he was sent back to save his son, and he'll just do the same thing. (Since it continues in the same books.) Samuel made his choice. Everyone makes their choice. We cannot go back and make them change it, we cannot save anybody. Overall, an unsatisfactory ending.
Well, that about wraps it up. Please remember that though this review was brutally honest, it's just my opinion. I'm not telling you to read it or not, but this is what I read. I believe Mr. Dekker can do much better than this, as seen in 'Black' and 'Red'. I'm not attacking his character, I'm stating what I know and what I get from his books. Lately, it seems to me that his books have gotten a lot darker, and more secular. A book cannot be written christian/secular. It doesn't work. I don't know for a fact that he's trying to appeal to both audiences, but the way the books have been going, including this one, it seems that way. I believe this book is too close to the edge for comfort, and cannot be considered an allegory anymore. Please know that I'm not "slamming" Mr. Dekker. He has a great talent. I'm just hoping he let's it out again.