Series: Books of Mortals #2
Published by Center Street on June 2012
Genres: Fiction, Christian, Suspense, Fantasy
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Mortal is full of the symbolism and action Dekker and Lee fans love, the themes it touches on are timeless, poignant, and deep. One quick criticism is that due to its very nature, it follows the symbolism of some of Ted's previous work (namely Red) rather closely. Altogether, a great read from two stellar storytellers.
Nine years have passed since Life first came unto Death and Death did not understand it. Nine years Rom Sebastian has been Mortal, able to feel the emotions deemed too dangerous to exist: Love, Joy, Anger, Sorrow, and a host more. Nine years Rom has been gathering fellow vagabonds in an effort to overthrow the system of Order and install Jonathan—a special boy whose blood can make others Alive—as the true Sovereign of the world. Nine years since the events written about in Forbidden. Nine long and arduous years.
And now is the time for victory. Jonathan has come of age and is ready to take his place as Sovereign. But the forces of Order stand poised to destroy humanity’s only living hope. Saric, long thought dead, has arisen with plans to overthrow the government and become Sovereign himself. Even within the group of Mortals, there is division over what the prophecies of Jonathan’s coming kingdom actually mean. Just when Rom needs everything together, it would seem that everything is falling apart.
In this second book in the Books of Mortals series, Tosca Lee and Ted Dekker have again combined their Storytelling prowess to craft an epic that will not soon be forgotten. As the world first seen in Forbidden is fleshed out, readers are introduced to a group that have lived as vagabonds outside of Order and how they form an alliance with the Rom and the Keepers to keep Jonathan safe until he comes of age. The themes in Mortal reach new heights, exploring the difference between Saric’s twisted form of life, the Mortals pure yet not completely understood form of life, and the death the rest of the world knows.
The pacing is strong, the characters believable and relatable. Jonathan is given a lot of space, and it’s great to see the direction they take his character. The character of Roland, the military leader of the Mortals, is also given prominence. Ultimately though, the strength of the story lies in the parts I can’t talk about. The twists, the symbolism, the reveals…all of it makes Mortal stand just as strongly as Forbidden and readies the scene for the close of the trilogy in Sovereign.
With all that said, I do have one criticism, or rather, one thing I think will be criticized. As some might remember, when Forbidden released, I called the BOOKS OF MORTALS the second coming of the Circle series. While the Circle dealt with redemptive history, the Books of Mortals would deal with what it meant to be spiritually alive in a dead world. And while it maintains that theme, there are a number of parallels in Mortal with Red. I won’t talk specifics, lest either book be spoiled, but Dekker fans are undoubtedly going to catch the similarities. I’m sure a part of the reason I see so many similarities is due to having worked with Ted and knowing the Circle series pretty well. It would have been nice to have seen Ted and Tosca do more to distance this series from the stellar story Ted’s already told. Obviously there are subtle connections and Ted should give fans little fun connections to his previous books, but what I see in Mortal makes me wonder if fans will see it as too much.
Despite this, Mortal is absolutely astounding. The story hits the ground running and doesn’t let up. The themes and symbolism tie together with the plot flawlessly. The Mortal’s desire for immortality, the symbolism of the blood, the description of Saric’s lust for power…for those with eyes to see and ears to hear, Mortal is much more than just an entertaining story. Its deep thoughts and poignant themes make it something to reflect on, a story you return to because of its perspective as well as its fun. The only real problem with Mortal is that it’s over all too quickly and the release of Sovereign stands so far off. Dekker and Lee have something special here. I hope they keep it up.
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