Saturday, July 2, 2011
Book Review: Forbidden by Ted Dekker & Tosca Lee
Every single person on the planet is dead, and none of them know it. Stripped of every single emotion except fear, people are only a shell of what it once meant to be human. While there are no feelings of pain, disappointment, or sadness, there's also no experience of love or joy. Humanity simply floats along, merely existing and nothing more, believing they're alive.
This is the post-apocalyptic world of Ted Dekker's new fantasy-thriller FORBIDDEN, co-written with Tosca Lee, the first installment of THE BOOKS OF MORTALS trilogy. 480 years have passed since the world's final global-scale war that prompted a group of scientists to eliminate emotions from humanity's genetic code. A unified world Order, void of the things that drove men to kill, rose from the ashes of humanity's destruction. All this in the name of peaceful existence.
In the midst of this world a young man named Rom is given an ancient vial of blood wrapped in a vellum with the power to resurrect humanity's emotions. Rom drinks and feels what it's like to be alive for the first time. But being alive is forbidden, and he's on the run, searching for answers of how to reawaken humanity. With new emotions he'll face pain like he never knew could exist, as well as love. Living is all about love, after all. And his race against impossible odds centers around the prophecy of young boy who will rescue the world from their death and the people who want him dead.
FORBIDDEN doesn't come out until September, but I got an advance copy by winning one of Ted Dekker's Forest Guard missions on Facebook. My initial thought was that this is possibly Dekker's best book to date. The addition of Tosca Lee as cowriter was brilliant. The story is intense and emotional all the way through, especially as a story about people reawakening to emotion for the first time in their lives.
The world the story takes place in is very well crafted and believable. The world we know is not only ancient history, it's barely even remembered. Without emotion the world's religions have become extinct, though there is still a certain form of religion that all the people on earth adhere to. A religion void of passion or love.
The characters are really the highlight of the story. Rom, the protagonist, is an unlikely hero. His journey of discovering his new emotions is gut-wrenching, and his experience reveals a certain sympathy toward those who believed that the world would be better off without emotion. Saric, the antagonist, was clever and determined, and his emotional journey shows the struggle and evil that uncontrolled emotions often lead to. It's an incredible exploration of human emotion and the need for genuine love. The other characters, such as Feyn the soon-to-be Sovereign of the world and sister of Saric, the keeper called Book, and the little boy Jonathan are equally as unforgettable.
The storyline centers around a prophecy about a rescuer that Rom and his friends must find and protect. Like Dekker's CIRCLE TRILOGY before it, this looks to be a beautifully told epic redemption story that is reflective of the ultimate redemption story of Jesus Christ.
Dekker's stories are all about discovery and exploration of life's most important questions, and I'm excited to see where Dekker and Lee take this story. I just wish I didn't have until September 2012 for the second book in the series.