Book Review: Black
Rating: 7.5 out of 10.0
Author: Ted Dekker
About: Ted Dekker’s Circle Series (formerly Circle Trilogy) is one of the more notable works of Dekker fiction. He has become a staple of fast-paced thriller and fantasy novels, particularly among Christians, but not exclusively. In the circle series, he addresses many philosophical questions while simultaneously delivering a compelling story that will enthrall the reader and keep them reading in times to come.
Likes: There is much to say about Black—both good and bad. For starters, the first review I received of Dekker was highly negative and subsequent reviews have done little to dispel this preconceived opinion of Mr. Dekker. Now that I have admitted that, I must say that I was pleasantly surprised by Black. I have read the first fifty pages or so of some of his other works and was unimpressed and disengaged. This book, however, was a different story. Though I cannot fully say that Black was immediately engaging to the extent that I would have liked, I can say that the mere premise of this novel as well as its fast-paced beginning did manage to lure me in like no other Dekker novel has. Expounding on that, I would say that this novel’s greatest strength is its premise and plot. Dekker not only developed a brilliant idea, but he turned it into a working plot with strong development and blindsiding twists. Another great aspect of this novel was the writer’s ability to evoke whatever emotion he desired the reader to experience. It is quite likely that you will find yourself shaking in fear, smiling in delight, or glaring in anger along with the characters—that is simply the power that Dekker possesses over the reader. Lastly, Dekker demonstrated his deft ability to craft a compelling novel with a solid plot from beginning to end. Looking forward to reading the next book in this series.
Dislikes: I approached this book expecting to come away with more complaints than I actually have. This is a pleasant surprise; however, it does not mean that there were not difficulties with the novel. The greatest complaint that I have is in the characters, which may come as a shock to one who has read these books. Yes, in general the characters were okay. But not really. First of all, the POVs (Point of Vision) bounced around in an illogical manner. Instead of limiting the POV to specific characters (it would have worked best to do it from Thomas Hunter and Carlos’ perspectives solely), Dekker bounces around and is sometimes unclear about whose point of vision we are seeing a certain scene from. As a writer and avid reader, I found this both annoying and confusing. Also, the characters’ dialogue (something many other reviewers have criticized) was lacking, not showing much distinction between each character’s way of talking. Beyond the characters, one should know that there is, at short and limited times in the book, an obscurity of what is right and wrong—of good and evil. Again, this is only for a short period or two in the book, but it is something one should be aware of. Finally, there is an onslaught of symbolism present in this book. This is a GREAT thing, but a lot of it seemed to have biblical tie-ins, but perhaps not all of it. And it was extremely confusing in this book. So either there was no true symbolism (which would be a supremely wasted opportunity on Dekker’s part) or else the symbolism was immensely confusing—not just hard to interpret, but utterly confusing. Perhaps this and other things may become clear in later novels, but I am judging these books individually and not as a whole series.
Summary: Fleeing his assailants through deserted alleyways, Thomas Hunter narrowly escapes to the roof of a building. Then a silent bullet from the night clips his head…and his world goes black. From the blackness comes an amazing reality of another world—a world where evil is contained. A world where Thomas Hunter is in love with a beautiful woman. Then he remembers the dream of the chase as he reaches to touch the blood on his head.
Where does the dream end and reality begin? Every time he falls asleep in one world, he awakes in the other—both facing catastrophic disaster. Thomas is being pushed beyond his limits…even beyond the limits of space and time. Black is an incredible story of evil and rescue, betrayal and love, pursuit and death, and a terrorist’s threat unlike anything the human race has ever known. Some say the world hangs in the balance of every choice we make. Now the fate of two worlds hangs in the balance of one man’s choice.
(Taken from back cover of the WestBow Press edition)
Book Length: 408 Pages (WestBow Press)
Favorite Character: Thomas Hunter
Suggested Age: 14+
Plot- 1.9 out of 2.0
Characters- 1.2 out of 2.0
Setting- 1.9 out of 2.0
Unfavorable content/other- 0.7 out of 1.0
Themes- 0.6 out of 1.0
Dialogue- 0.5 out of 1.0
Quality of writing 0.7 out of 1.0
= 7.5 out of 10.0