I was excited to review my first ever Ted Dekker book. I have never read one of his books before and was looking forward to it. I got warned to not to read it at night as some of his novels can be frightening. I loved the cover and was intrigue by the title.
Turns out I brought the book on vacation with me recently and I must say that I dislike the story. I love the idea behind the story don't take me wrong. But to incorporate the "vampire" style in it was a bit too much for me. The whole time I read it, I talked about it with my husband and told him I was somewhat uncomfortable with this whole book. But I persevere and continued until I was at the end of it. Will I read another Ted Dekker in the future? I don't know. For a newbie on this author, this book definitively didn't help on making me wanting to read more novels from him.
When I started to read it, I read the reviews inside the book and saw that one person had read the books numerous times in a period of two weeks. Will I do the same? NOT. I have not enjoyed this book and it is beyond my understanding how someone can read the same book 7 times in two weeks. Maybe I missed something. I don't know but I did understand the sacrifice of a life to save another and I appreciate the fact the Christ did that for me. But to include vampire style in this novel was a bit too much for me. OH! There is a love story as well so be aware of the bizarre mix of things in the book before buying it.
Personally I wouldn't not recommend Immanuel's Veins but if you are into the vampire kind of books, you might like this book.
This review was possible because I received a free copy of Immanuel's Veins from Thomas Nelson.
on January 19, 2011
The story is the first person tale of Toma Nicolescu, a warrior in the service of Catherine the Great, empress of Russia during the Russo-Turkish War in 1772. It is also the third person account of Lucine Cantemir, the woman Catherine sent Toma to protect. But Toma doesn't know what he is to protect Lucine from.
Lucine lives with her mother and sister in Castle Cantemir in Moldavia. All three women had led a life of wanton sexuality, but Lucine had learned a few things to give her a more mature outlook on life. Toma falls for the beautiful Lucine but cannot speak because of his oath to his empress.
Soon a strange group of Russians visits from a nearby castle, led by one Vlad van Valerik. Toma seems the only one to be suspicious of these smooth-talking, enticing men and women, but he's not certain it isn't just his jealousy at work. Lucine's sister succumbs immediately to their charm, and the next morning Toma finds her with blood on her face and no memory of what happened, other than it was wonderful.
Various of them visit the nearby castle, and Toma discovers the Russians to be inhuman. One who had died is now alive again. They also have a taste for blood, and Toma himself nearly succumbs. But when Vlad van Valerik begins to woo Lucine, Toma senses true danger and begins to act.
That's about all of the plot I'm willing to give away. I'll just say that (to me) that first part of the book took too long, seemed too slow. Things definitely picked up after that, and took some surprising turns on its way to the conclusion.
Two things stand out about this book, besides the voice of Toma. One, it addresses today's fascination with vampires in a fictional but Christian manner. Two, it is not a book for those who are squeamish about lust and longing spread out across the page.
If you are curious about the title of the book, think of the hymn whose first verse begins:
There is a fountain filled with blood
Drawn from Emmanuel's veins;
And sinners plunged beneath that flood
Lose all their guilty stains.
Do I recommend the novel? Maybe. It depends. The blurb on the author's website ends with this line, and it is true. "But remember, not everyone is for this story."
I received a free copy of the book from the publisher for a blog tour.
Acquired: Received a review copy from Thomas Nelson's Book Sneeze Program.
Reason for Reading: I've been a fan of Dekker's for a few years and am reading each new book that comes out.
A warrior, Toma, and his companion are sent to guard a Lady and her twin daughters as the Empress feels they may be in danger and the daughters are suitable to be used for marriage negotiations. His companion has an affair with one daughter and Toma falls in love with the other but keeps his feelings to himself as he is duty bound not to become involved. Through his companion's escapades though, Toma, becomes aware that the nearby neighbours living in what one would call more a fortress than a castle are not only dangerous but downright evil. Ultimately, this is another take on the vampire tale, though the V-word is never used. Instead the mythology is taken from fantastical Biblical interpretations of the Nephilim. The story is a sensual one, full of lust and enticing senses. It is a story of Good vs. Evil, of the Passion of Christ, God's Love and redemption. However, the book would also read as a paranormal by non-believers.
The first half of the book has a very strong Gothic feeling with dark castles in the night, women wandering alone, long musky tunnels underground and strange portraits hung on the wall. Typical of that genre is the melodramatic love story that would match any Victorian Gothic. Ted Dekker once again writes another book that keeps you turning the pages with an eerie atmospheric suspense. This book, though, is quite different than anything I've read by Dekker at this point. I won't say it's my favourite but the story was certainly gripping and intriguing.
I did have a some theological problems with the book though. Set in a country and era where all the characters are part of the Russian Orthodox Church (whether practicing or not), Dekker's characters were somewhat unrealistic. Water was made holy, by having a just-turned believer saying a few words that came to mind over it, a crucifix as well. An Orthodox Christian would know this would not necessarily even work and a priest's blessing would be needed for the type of Evil we are talking here. And secondly, this man who is a soldier in the Empress's Army fighting for God goes over the Lord's words at the Last Supper in his mind and vehemently stresses the symbolic nature of the blood at the Eucharist. An Orthodox Christian in 1700s Russia wouldn't even have contemplated such heresy, never mind have taken it as some sort of "fact".
on October 16, 2011
Another great read from Ted Dekker. He makes you feel for the characters in this book. The forbidden romance between the lead characters, the warning at the beginning of the book to protect but not to love. Ted Dekker manages to keep you guessing about the royalty who would steal Toma's beloved and what they actually are until the end, you have an idea but still aren't sure. I would recommend this book.