Also by this author: The Promise, The Drummer Boy, Sinner, Green, The Dream Traveler's Quest, Into the Book of Light, The Curse of Shadownman, The Garden and the Serpent, The Final Judgment, Millie Maven and the Bronze Medallion, Elyon
Series: The Lost Books #5
Published by Thomas Nelson on June 2009
Genres: Fiction, Christian, Fantasy, Suspense
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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. Those familiar with the Circle Trilogy might understand this immediately. In the five years that have passed, there has been a major shift in Other Earth. Elyon has provided a new and ultimate way for salvation and the warriors of the Forest Guard have become the peaceful people of the Circle. Rather than bathe in the waters of Elyon every day, followers of Elyon now drown in the red pools to escape the Horde scabbing disease.
Lunatic returns readers to a post-Red Other Earth, where the sacrifice of Justin has forever affected that reality. Struggling to understand this new world will the first task of those who return. There are a few things that annoy about this storyline, not the least of which is Gabil and Michal fully knowing that the Chosen Ones are returning to this change and telling them nothing of it or offering them any guidance. I would rather have seen them misunderstand the Roush or have some other problem rather than literally being thrown into a new world with no information. It would have been a stronger storyline if they had to figure out how literally to take the Roush’s calls to drown in red waters.
Instead, the company gets separated. Darsal is imprisoned. Johnis and Silvie soon become near-Horde. (Billos, you might remember, hasn’t been seen in a while…I won’t spoil quite yet where he’s ended up.) The story here splits in two, with Darsal being called by Elyon to the seemingly impossible task of loving a Horde general. Look, we saw this plot in White with Thomas and Chelise. We saw it of a sort in Infidel with Johnis and Karas. Recycling this plot line for a third time is a lot of retreading old material.
Johnis and Silvie begin with a quest to find water, but Johnis is soon hearing a voice in his head. Expanding the mythos even more, the voice is that of a Leedhan—a half-Shataiki half-human breed (think Nephilim)—who wants to use Johnis to take over Other Earth. The Leedhan, Shaeda, is a unique addition to the universe and fits Kaci Hill’s voice well. Unfortunately, it’s an incomplete addition as the story never develops the Leedhan to any satisfactory point—and then Dekker retcons their entire history in his later Beyond the Circle duology. Lunatic also introduces some story threads and history further fleshed out in Green. It’s a lot for a YA novel to absorb, and, like Renegade and Chaos before it, falls victim to the weight that’s placed on it.
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 seems incomplete and a bit rushed. I would have liked to have seen Dekker taken a couple of years, then returned with Hill for a four-books series that better planned out this expansion of the mythos. It would have made Lunatic/Elyon seem less like an odd appendix to The Lost Books.