Saturday, June 6, 2009

Book Review: Lunatic and Elyon by Ted Dekker and Kaci Hill

Book ReviewTed Dekker continues his epic saga of The Circle with the Chronicles of History Lost Books numbers five and six, co-authored by Kaci Hill. This saga is not one for the casual reader, as it requires an extensive time commitment to read through the books tied to the Circle.

While the story is best enjoyed by reading each installment (and not necessarily in the order of their publishing date), every previous book about the Circle can be enjoyed by itself without ever picking up another episode. Such is not the case with Lunatic and Elyon. These latest two installments must be read as one, in my opinion, and should probably have been published as one -- though they would then have been much longer and thicker than the first four episodes of The Lost Books.

No review of these books can be considered complete without at least a brief glimpse of their predecessors. Dekker's famous Circle story began with Black, Red, and White, originally marketed with the tag line "Three books, two worlds, one story." Followed by five books that dip their toes into the world of the Circle, and the six (so far) Lost Books, the length of this story rivals that of War and Peace or even The Bible. And it isn't over yet, as Green (The Circle, Book 0: The Beginning and the End) is due out September 1.

So what is this all about? While reading through the final pages of Elyon, which I found to be very compelling (the final pages, I mean, not the entire book), it struck me that the story of the Circle is the story of the Church. From the Fall of Man in the Garden of Eden to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and the promise of salvation that comes with it -- all that Dekker has left out so far is the Second Coming.

While I am a huge fan of Dekker's and of his Circle saga, I found both Lunatic and Elyon to be a bit tedious to read. The story doesn't flow as smoothly as it does in each of the prior installments in the story. I don't know if that's a result of Kaci Hill's involvement in the books, as it's impossible to determine just how much involvement she had in the books. None of that is to say that I didn't enjoy these latest two episodes, but rather that I found them not to progress the story in a manner similar to the others. In fact, at times I wondered just where the authors were taking me.

If you've invested the time in each of the prior books, then you will likely find it necessary to continue with Lunatic and Elyon, and you won't be disappointed with them. But if you haven't read any of Dekker's books yet, don't start here. Start anywhere else you choose -- within the Circle saga or without -- but don't start with Lunatic or Elyon. They are not among Dekker's best works.

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