Review of “Green” by Ted Dekker

The Circle Trilogy comes full circle.  How can a book be both the beginning and end to a series?  That is what is claimed by thriller author Ted Dekker in the 4th book (or “Book Zero”) of his wildly popular Circle series, Green.

I came into contact with Dekker’s Circle series because my wife reads newly released fiction.  (I try not to read anything fiction newer than The Lord of Rings unless I have a compelling reason to.)  I have to say that for the most part, I enjoyed reading the original trilogy.  Dekker’s greatest strength as a writer lies in his ideas.  A man flitting each time he falls asleep between two realities, one where the spiritual realities of this world exist in visible form and one with a deadly virus threatening to bring the apocalypse, makes for compelling reason.  Angels and demons are now oversized bats.  Sin is now a scaly disease of sin.  Baptism is replaced by a literal drowning.  It’s one of those ideas that you either wish you thought of or will claim that you thought of years ago but were too lazy to write about.  In the original trilogy, Black (Book one) is the most successful at maintaining this mystery and suspense, especially in its lofty attempts to recreate the beauty of a pre-Fall world. (Even if you are a book snob like me, it’d be worth a few hours of your life to go through the original three.)

Green attempts to tie all the loose ends up from the original trilogy, and in effect, to start it as well.  Dekker also weaves much material from the two spin-off series of the Circle trilogy (the Paradise novels and the Lost Books).  Having read all six Lost Books, I wonder if those reading Green first of all the books will be able to handle the mad list of characters that Dekker spends little time describing but are key to the plot.  Green does maintain a lot of benefit for those who have read, a sort of reward for faithful reading.  It also maintains the momentum and speed Dekker’s writing is known for.

There are few complaints, however.  Green like the previous books maintains a major fault of Dekker’s writing.  He does well with fast moving scenes, but his short paragraphs and frequent use of back-and-forth dialogue makes it difficult for him to properly execute the more emotional moments of the narrative.  Some have compared his imaginative worlds with those of CS Lewis, but gone from Dekker’s books are the emotional weight and deliberate pacing Lewis is able to deftly use at times.  Compare the climactic drowning scene in Red with Aslan’s slow walk to the stone table in Lion, Witch and Wardrobe. I think this ability to write slow scenes at the proper times would take Dekker’s writing to a new level.  (I’m not a writer, but a reader, so I can offer no tips regarding how one does this.)

Second, while Green does little to wrap up the plot lines found in the Lost Books, it does heavily utilize one of my least favorite parts of them–the development of vampires.  When I first read The Lost Books, I think Chaos is the one where they show up, I thought, “Neat.  Maybe Dekker’s opening a new series up about vampire hunters.”  However, Green spends a lot of time dwelling on things like blood-drinking.  A lot.  It keeps happening.  Every other scene.  I know part of Dekker’s goal was to heighten the visible evil before the end of the book, but that got old very fast.

Third, the ending/beginning of the series at the end of Green doesn’t actually make sense to me.  Well, it makes sense in the plausibility factor, but based on the fact the story is now a closed circle (unless alternate sequels appear), it creates a cycle of futility.  That’s just my opinion.  Some will say it was the awesomest thing ever. And the fact that we still don’t know how the first world ended…

Green is probably the weakest of the four Circle books.  Fans of the series will have to read it or die of unsatisfied curiosity.  However, I would suggest others enjoy the rich symbols of the original trilogy and decide from there.

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One Response

  1. I was one of those readers who died of unsatisfied curiosity… AFTER READING GREEN!!! I loved the first trilogy and thought the emotions where good. But, this book led up to a ‘stupid’ climax that made me feel like I wasted my time reading the book.

    There are a few questions that I was left screaming at the end of GREEN… first off, according to Dekker, Elyon is a futile lover who never wishes to have Thomas with Him in the red pools. If the story is really continued in Black as the book says, then Thomas never rescues Samuel, and Elyon is just throwing Thomas into a useless rabbit trail.

    Secondly, what happens to Teeleh, and those who didn’t accept Elyon’s gift of red water? When and how does Teeleh get defeated by Elyon. What happens to the whole world. If all that heaven is becomes a little red pool in the dessert then I’ll stick to the real world’s upcoming heaven because I’m not down with just swimming in a pool all day. The bible’s heaven is much cooler.
    It seems as though Dekker sidesteps the issue of judgement and Hell just to create a red pool in the desert.

    Thirdly, How does the world become Green again?When biblically is this happening? When is the rapture? Where does the real Jesus come in? Does the words of Jesus still apply to Justin when He says “there is none Good”, or “I Am (Justin isn’t unless he’s me, which needs to be addressed) the light of the world”

    Lastly, this book seems to mutilate the Idea of the Trinity… Elyon, the old man is the Father, ok. Elyon the boy is the son. Elyon the warrior is the son… wait. WHAT? WHERE IS THE SPIRIT? There are three parts of God represented, but also seem to be misrepresented by the series.

    This book was fun reading and I longed to finish it until I saw where it was going. A person should want to scan every word of the last and final pages of an Epic, while I skipped over the last seven pages of Green. The ending was so predictable. It made me wonder why Thomas didn’t realize where Elyon was sending him back to. “Wait, you’re not going to send me back to when this whole thing started are you?”

    Just another thought…. is this the first or the second chance that I’m reading of now? If I read the series again does that mean that Thomas will be reading the second chance? Is Dekker going to make another book called ‘Light Green: The new and Improved Green’: (The Ending)
    Thomas: Is there anyway I can save my son?
    Elyon: Well, I could send you back to a time where you will relive everything over again, and
    you would just end up here with your dead son…. so no, he’s pretty much a goner. But don’t worry there is no hell in this story, so he’s just dead… Oh, just go jump in the druggy pool.”

    Or

    Thomas: Is there any way to save my son?

    Elyon: Hmm, well since I am all powerful and raised you back to live roughly three times, (not to mention those times that you were stabbed by horde in your sleep, haha just kidding), I think that by this healing water that the Author has been building up on throughout the whole book can do the trick! (Samuel healed and they live happily ever after in… the druggy pool)

    So to sum it up, Green has no biblical sense of the judgement, Elyon is misrepresented, and so is His Trinitarian Nature, and this book has no real end.

    This book was Epic until it’s end. It was Epic and then it failed…. Epic Fail.

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