Straight Talk about "Green" by Ted Dekker

Green- The Circle - Book 0 The Beginning and the End

This is a review for the book “Green” as I have agreed to review for Thomas Nelson’s “Book Sneeze”. Blogging reviews for free Books.

Very similar to the series itself, I have had many emotions while reading the four books in Dekker’s Christian allegorical series he calls "The Circle." I felt excitement that this book was written, trepidation and concern  -  will he ruin it? And caution because I have been sorely disappointed by a number of Dekker’s modern “Fast Food” reads as I call them. It has seemed that Dekker’s later books have been churned out because it is expected of him by his publisher and his readers, and not because they have been inspired. So I came to this book with a variety of expectations.

Did I like this book? Well, it’s…complicated.

Initially, after beginning this long awaited “prequel” or as Dekker would want us to see it as -- the completion of his epic series that could be used as beginning or an ending – I was disappointed.

Yet as I continued to read, “Green” grew on me.

Not quite mid-way through, I decided to “cheat” and actually read reviews about this book. There were some problems I had right away and I needed to know if others were having the same problems I was experiencing.

[SPOILER ALERT]

For example: I had no recollection that the “Books of the Histories” were even hinted at in the original three book series. So when they were revealed as being an integral part of this epic story I was sorely disappointed. Dekker, this fantastic, creative and gifted writer -- has used this plot device before in precisely the same way. Blank pages are in these books and an evil being can write on these blank pages and make the written word come true. As an added note – while I have read “Showdown” and “Saint” – I was still unable to understand how this plot device actually works in this series. The idea that a deeply evil character can “write” a truly good character into existence and yet not know the character would become their own nemesis is beyond my comprehension.

Because I view Dekker as an excellent modern author, I expected more than a retread of his often used theme from other books he’s written. I haven’t read the series for the YA crowd but I understand them to be very involved in this “Books of the Histories” theme.

Another retread from other Dekker books is he frequently recalls an evil character who goes by various names, “Marsuvess” who is Billy from his book “Showdown” or “Saint” for example. He is essentially the same named character in this book but Billy is also a character “Ba’al” in “Green”; “Queen” to the great devil-bat who goes by the name “Teeleh”. Confused? So was I and I’ve read all these books!

I also object to Dekker saying you can start at this book or end with it and understand the Circle Trilogy. From my point of view – don’t. If you haven’t read the Trilogy – read it. If you have, reread it before reading “Green.” While Dekker makes an excellent attempt to capsulate and recap the other three books in “Green” it gets to be a bit plodding as well as a bit confusing for someone who has read the Trilogy. I can’t imagine what a person would be going through had they not read the other three books prior to beginning “Green.” Yet very soon, Dekker’s style begins to shine and you are into a compelling page-turner. However, IF this had been my first book of the series, I think I wouldn’t have gone on. I remember my first experience reading the first book in the Circle Trilogy: “Black.” It was an actual experience, not a passive book-reading venture. I was hooked and I could not put the story down. I devoured that book and this from someone who does not do “fantasies.” I do not like worlds where I can’t pronounce the names of the characters. It’s annoying. I can’t be bothered. Normally. But Dekker turned me into a devoted follower when I picked up this novel – the first Dekker book I ever read.

Dekker is a master storyteller – better than Stephen King – yes, you heard me say that – because King has to resort to profanity to bring his characters to life. Dekker makes his characters in this series flesh and blood in fascinating detail and there isn’t a curse word to be found. I defy anyone to tell me why a great writer must use profanity to make their point, any point, or to even define a character. A truly great writer doesn’t need this modern crutch to make any character come alive. He brings the other world the character Thomas Hunter “dreams” himself into – right before the reader’s eyes. I could hear, feel, taste, see this fantasy world and I fell in love with it as I did the characters in the first three books of the Circle. With “Green” he drew me in as well – not as compellingly as he did with “Black”, but I was there, following the action and the worlds Dekker created.

I can honestly say, “Green” was a very good read. It is a wonderful allegory for the Biblical principle of God’s love in general, for the apocalypse on a micro/macro level. I know, that doesn’t actually make sense. How can it be an apocalyptic allegory on a micro/macro level? You’ll just have to read the series to find out!

I am currently rereading the other three and I’m sure when I’m through, I’ll consider the four book collection to be a very great read. Possibly one of the great reads period. Taken by itself, “Green” needs the other three though – so if you don’t buy the hype, and read the other three first, you should be able to dive in as so many readers have, and thoroughly enjoy the worlds Dekker wishes to draw us into.

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Comments 13 comments

breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 6 years ago

I must say none of his books are familiar tome, but Bravo for a well-written review.


sheila b. profile image

sheila b. 6 years ago

The books sound like too much work!


cjv123 profile image

cjv123 6 years ago from Michigan Author

Sheila - that's why I call this "Straight Talk." I got the idea when i read these raving reviews of Jannette Oake's Love Comes Softly. I bought the entire set and it read like something my 12 year old niece would read! I was SO ticked that I wasted my money and ultimately my time. After that I decided I'd tell it like it is and even if someone doesn't agree with me, they can determine - hmmm would I want to take my time reading that one? On this one - get it from your library if you're interested, otherwise, the book is way overpriced to begin with and not worth even a bargain price at this point.


cjv123 profile image

cjv123 6 years ago from Michigan Author

Well Pop - the series, before "Green" was a very popular Christian series from a very popular Christian author. As Sheila comments - it's a LOT of work, and frankly, if I hadn't agreed to do the review for Thomas Nelson - I wouldn't have bothered to read it at all.


Silver Poet profile image

Silver Poet 6 years ago from the computer of a midwestern American writer

One correction: Marsuuv and Billy are not the same entity. Marsuuv is a bat; Billy is human. Billy's counterpart in Hunter's world is Ba'al, but Marsuuv remains a bat-queen.


cjv123 profile image

cjv123 6 years ago from Michigan Author

I thank you Silver Poet for the correction and welcome any more you or anyone might have.

And this actually only reinforces one of my points - Green makes the whole series (to me) more complicated and in my opinion, too complicated. I'm no genius, but I'm also not stupid. This storyline was very difficult for me to understand given this book and the tie-in with so many of Dekker's other books.

I don't want to read fiction to become confused. But having said that - I suppose if I reread the entire three previously written books (when I wrote this I tried to but went on to other books), I might have enjoyed this one more and found it less confusing. Thanks for stopping by to set me straight! Appreciate it!


preston 6 years ago

I just read Ted Dekker's new book Immanuel's Veins, and I think you might like to hear what I thought about it! The story was very cool I must say and the new take on vampires was awesome! Check out http://fablefreak.wordpress.com for my review!


amberjones21 profile image

amberjones21 6 years ago from Pensacola, FL

I absolutely loved the Circle Trilogy by Ted Dekker. He is an amazing writer with great talent.


cjv123 profile image

cjv123 6 years ago from Michigan Author

Thanks for your comments amber!


Sarasa 5 years ago

I actually read it the wrong way round - someone gave me Green as a present and so I read it first. Yes, it was incredibly confusing and made my head spin a bit at first, yet after about the first twenty pages, I became engrossed in the story and could not put it down. I later got the trilogy out and found that I loved it even more!

There were good and bad things about reading green first:

the bad were that you immediately met Thomas as he was as an incredible and powerful leader. You knew him as Thomas, but I remember glancing at Black afterwards and seeing the name Tom, and not being able to figure out that Thomas was Tom! Sorry for being slow. But when I read green without reading the trilogy, I missed out on the character development as Tom became stronger and more faithful, as he became Thomas. I also missed out on his past, like with Monique and Kara and the Raison strain, and before he met Chelise, with Rachelle. I missed out on Justin and his portrayal of Jesus. I missed out on so much, that when I read Black it felt like I was just beginning to learn who Thomas really was. Also, Green feels like it's tying things up, and then it fustratingly in one paragraphs goes back to the very beginning again. It's incredibly irratating how there is no end.

But aside from all that, I really enjoyed green, and especially enjoyed the Elyon's healing powers bits - like when he rescues Samuel, and when he is with Thomas. But I have to say: I likes the trilogy better, and I think it's better to read the trilogy first!


cjv123 profile image

cjv123 5 years ago from Michigan Author

Sarasa, I'm with you - read the Trilogy first for the reasons you mentioned as well. Thanks for your comments!


Ean 5 years ago

cjv, I found your review helpful. I am now approaching the middle of Green. I read the trilogy over a year ago. If I could do it over, I would reread the trilogy again before reading Green. I find that I have forgotten certain things that happened in the trilogy that I wished I could remember. Green at first was hard to get into, but now it has become a page turner.


cjv123 profile image

cjv123 5 years ago from Michigan Author

That's how I felt Ean. thanks for the extra confirmation that for a reader to fully enjoy Green - they should probably read the other three books first. I too found I forgot way too many things from the trilogy to enjoy and understand some things in Green.

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