Lunatic – Ted Dekker and Kaci Hill

Lunatic Ted Dekker Kaci Hill
Lunatic by Ted Dekker, Kaci Hill
Series: The Lost Books #5
Published by Thomas Nelson on June 2009
Genres: Fiction, Christian, Fantasy, Suspense
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three-stars

Separated by time and space, our heroes finally return home. But five years have passed and they find a nightmarishly changed world.

The despised Horde are now in control. The healing lakes of Elyon are now blood red. And mighty Thomas Hunter and his Forest Guard have disappeared.

Take a stand with the chosen but be wary, for not all is as it seems. Now the chosen themselves are questioning their very sanity. For the only way to win may be to lose. The only way to live may be to die. And the only one to lead may be a lunatic.

Five years have passed since the Chosen One and his crew were last in Other Earth. Chaos ended triumphantly, with them successfully thwarting Alucard’s evil plot to destroy our earth, and the last page turned as they put their bloody hands on the Books to return home. But five years is a long time, and they find themselves immediately thrown into a world almost as foreign as Las Vegas.

The Horde has overtaken Middle Forest, and Thomas and the Forest Guard are nowhere to be found. When Darsal is imprisoned by the Horde, she discovered that something even more drastic than the Guard’s defeat has occurred in their absence. Apparently, Elyon has changed the rules. Convinced by a fellow prisoner named Jordan, Darsal learns that Elyon’s water had been tainted—been mixed with blood—and now followers of Elyon no longer needed to bathe daily, but actually drown in the water in order to escape the Horde’s scabbing disease.

She is at first reluctant, soon makes her escape to a red pool, where she drowns and discovers that everything Jordan said was true. In dying we live… Now tasked by Elyon himself with the seemingly impossible job of loving a Horde general, Darsal must get adjusted to this new world, her new status, and manage to stay alive.

Johnis and Silvie find themselves separated from Darsal and quickly becoming Horde. Not knowing of Elyon’s change, they set off in search of water, but Johnis soon finds himself on a new quest—to meet whoever belongs to the beautiful voice he’s hearing in his head. Meanwhile, Horde forces are closer than ever to destroying the remnant of the Circle.

But even stronger and more mysterious forces are at work. The voice heard by Johnis is a Leedhan, a half-Shataiki half-human mix formed through the unholy unions between Teeleh’s forces and mankind. Entranced by the Leedhan, known as Shaeda, Johnis soon abandons better sense and believes that with the Leedhan’s help he can destroy the Horde and bring the Forest Guard back into power.

Lunatic takes a reader on an incredible journey through Other Earth, from the lairs of Shataiki to the bowels of Teeleh’s temple to the depths of the red waters of Elyon. The mythos is expanded as new characters and even new races are introduced. Everything has changed in the time Johnis has been gone. His journey is not yet over, he believes he can still save the Circle and destroy the Horde, even if he has gone Lunatic.

For those unfamiliar with Dekker’s Circle Series, Lunatic may appear to be drastic change. While the situation is explained to Darsal near the beginning of the book, readers aren’t going to understand the full symbolic meaning unless they’ve read The Circle Series, most notably Red. While Chosen, Infidel, Renegade, and Chaos were set in the time period between Black and Red, the last two Lost Books, Lunatic and Elyon skip over the timeline of Red and take place at some point during the events of White.

The Leedhan proves to be a curious and compelling villain in the story, as Shaeda’s motives remain convoluted and mixed throughout. It adds a new dimension to the mythos heretofore unseen and possibly plays in some subtle ties with Dekker’s standalone novel Immanuel’s Veins. Lunatic also introduces some story threads and history further fleshed out in Green. It’s a lot for a YA novel to absorb, but Lunatic does it well and plays out a great story.

Rather than going it alone, Dekker brought on a first-time author Kaci Hill, to coauthor the last two Lost Books. Hill manages to maintain a distinctive voice within the Dekker mythos, writing Dekker’s characters true to form while bringing her own imagination and creativity to the new characters, especially Shaeda. However, I’m not convinced that book five of a six book series was the best time to so abruptly change and add to the story – or to bring in a co-author. If this had been billed as book one of a new series set in OE, it would have made more sense. If we ever got more time to develop the characters that Kaci Hill brought to the table, it would have been better. Instead, we get a product that, while good, seems incomplete and a bit rushed.

three-stars

About Ted Dekker

Ted Dekker is a New York Times best-selling author of more than forty novels. He is best known for stories which could be broadly described as suspense thrillers with major twists and unforgettable characters, though he has also made a name for himself among fantasy fans. Dekker’s novels have sold over 5 million copies worldwide. Two of his novels, Thr3e and House, have been made into movies with more in production. Dekker resides in Austin, Texas with his wife Lee Ann and two of their daughters.

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