Saturday, March 15, 2014

Review of WATER WALKER by Ted Dekker

Thirteen-year-old Alice Ringwald has no memory of her life before six months ago. All she knows is that she was raised in an orphanage, and she has no idea who her real mother and father are. But she's making a great life with the foster family that has taken her in. They care for her and she feels safe with them. Nothing can prepare her for the day a man who claims to be her real father shows up and kidnaps her to live with him and her real mother. For five years, Alice, or Eden as her mother Kathryn calls her, is raised in a cultic ritualistic upbringing, and in dreams she begins to discover her past and a power within that can change everything. Will she embrace that power or let the waters of her hatred overcome her?

Ted Dekker is at the top of my list of favorite storytellers and has been ever since I read his original Circle Trilogy. His latest book is called Water Walker, the second book in The Outlaw Chronicles, and for long-time Dekker fans, these books are the answer to the question, "Whatever happened to the kids in Project Showdown after the project was shut down?" As one of those long-time fans, I've always loved the way Dekker ties his stories together. Dekker has created his own quasi-transmedia universe with his stories, and it opens up so many possibilities as he continues to create stories.

Water Walker is about Alice, a girl we meet briefly in the previous book Eyes Wide Open. Alice is ripped from a fairly comfortable existence to be brought into a world where God doesn't make sense. A villainous character named Zeke rules Alice's mother and father. They do his bidding, and it is truly abusive to Alice. Alice, or Eden as she's called throughout much of the book, grows to hate the life she lives and desperately wants to escape it. But she meets Outlaw in her dreams, and he helps her to remember the power she discovered as a part of Project Showdown.

Dekker is a thrilling writer who also knows how to take the teachings of Jesus and craft a compelling and challenging story from them. We'd easily understand why Alice becomes full of hatred. The last thing we would expect is for her to forgive them. Of course, it's the last thing we would expect Jesus to do to those who are beating him, spitting in his face, and viciously nailing him to a cross. Water Walker is about forgiveness and love. It's about Jesus and it's about us. It's about faith in the one who can give us the strength to do the unimaginable.

From a storytelling standpoint, I loved the first-person narrative. It really gets you into the thoughts and emotions of Alice's character. Dekker also does a great job of causing us to feel empathy for some truly flawed characters. Water Walker is a great thriller story, and it works well as an episodic story. I can't wait to read the next book in the series.

Review copy provided by Worthy Publishing

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