|Photo credit: Moi|
So as many of you know, I’m a big Ted Dekker fan. I’ve read every one (with one exception) of his 31 novels and I pre-order them often before I’ve really heard much about it, because over the course of thirty novels and few disappointments, he’s earned my trust as a reader.
Forbidden was no exception.
The summary from Goodreads is as follows:
“A terrible truth has been revealed to one man: the entire human race has been drained of every emotion except one— fear. To bring life back to the world, Rom must embark on a journey that will end either in his own demise or a reawakening of humanity. But to bring love and passion back into existence will also threaten the powers of the world with the revolution and anarchy that had nearly destroyed them previously.
After happening upon a journal through strange circumstance, Rom's world is shattered. He learns that humanity long ago ceased to ‘live,’ that it exists today in a living death of emotions. In a terrible risk, Rom exposes himself to the vial of blood folded into the old leather of the journal. His change is fearful and fraught with mind-bending emotion. A once-pious observer of the Order's passionless statues, he is filled with uncontrollable impulses. He is filled with love.
He is undone, terrified, and alone in the desolate world.”
So the whole premise of Forbidden is pretty different from anything I’ve ever read before—the idea of a world with only fear as an emotion is a pretty bleak one and it brings about some interesting complications.
I can’t speak for Lee’s other books as I haven’t read any, but compared to other Dekker novels, Forbidden starts off a little slower—it takes some time to build up Rom’s world and get you fully immersed. There are a lot of questions that need answering right away (Why doesn’t anyone have emotions other than fear? What is this world like? What is the Order?), so although Rom’s journey starts right away, many of the first chapters at first are primarily focused on world building. It’s certainly not a bad thing, but it didn’t grip me as quickly as some of Dekker’s previous novels have.
Once you get into the meat of the story, however, things start to get interesting. Between a wicked antagonist, a throne up for grabs, murder in a world where killing is unheard of, dungeons and experiments gone wrong, Forbidden certainly has plenty to keep you interested throughout the book.
Unsurprisingly, Forbidden has many fantasy-like archetypes—a prophecy and an arcane group of “keepers” in charge of certain secrets, among others—as well as a few pretty transparent spiritual themes which, although they didn’t bother me, were noticed. To me, some of the prose read a little over-the-top emotionally, but as the characters are feeling the full spectrum of emotion for the first time in their lives, it was understandable and it didn’t detract from the overall story.
In short: Forbidden was an enjoyable read that I would recommend to those who like fantasy (as although it does have a dystopian background, it read more like a fantasy novel to me). Although it’s not my favorite Ted Dekker book to date, I’m still looking forward to the sequel Mortal, which is expected to be published next June.
So there you have it! What books are you reading right now? Any recommendations?