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
Series: The Lost Books #3
Published by Thomas Nelson on May 2008
Genres: Fiction, Christian, Fantasy, Suspense
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One of the chosen has gone renegade.
Turning his back on all that he once believed, one of the Chosen does the forbidden and enters into a Book of History. They lands in a reality as foreign to them as water is to oil a place called Paradise, Colorado. They have strange new powers given to him courtesy of a mysterious figure known as Marsuvees Black.
The chosen four have survived the desert, escaped the Black Forest, battled the Horde, and added a spirited refugee to their number. But nothing has prepared them for the showdown that the renegade, is luring them into.
Renegade is where the Lost Books start to go off the rails a little bit. That’s not all a bad thing. Dekker does a full-on deep dive into the Circle mythos, revealing a complex story that gives readers the answer to just what those worms in Showdown actually were. It introduces a new way to jump between the worlds—physically, not just in one’s mind—and launches readers on a journey that is a frenetic, out of control roller coaster of a ride.
Renegade picks up on the cliffhanger left in Infidel and freefalls into a tightly-paced YA novel that dives even deeper into the Dekker mythos. Entranced by the power of the Books of History, Billos cuts his hand and enters a new reality—someplace between his world and ours. Darsal takes off after Billos, binding herself to a promise to return the Books to Alucard, a Shataiki Queen.
But her rash decision—much like Johnis’s in Chosen—has some major consequences. First, she has to deal with Karas, the Horde daughter of the Dark Priest now turned Forest Dweller, who has stowed away on the journey. Then she must manage to fight off the Horde in order to get to her beloved Billos.
But in the Skin between the worlds, Billos is having the time of his life. Greeted by a trench coat and cowboy hat wearing figure who calls himself Marsuvees Black, Billos becomes convinced that the power of the Books should be his to control. Armed with the magical weapon Black calls suhupow, Billos descends on the small town of Paradise, Colorado, to get the Book of History hidden in the town. His quest is interrupted when Darsal and Karas stumble into the Skin world through the Books, bringing with them a behemoth of a Horde called Papa. Soon, the entire group finds themselves in the virtual Paradise, a bit confused and still searching for the Book.
If you’re confused by this synopsis, yeah…it’s confusing. Renegade attempts to make reference to and tie together a whole lot of plot threads from different Dekker books. Marsuvees Black, the primary antagonist in Showdown, appears in the Skin world and attempts to lure Billos under his control. The Skin world itself is a reference to Dekker’s standalone novel, Skin, and Dekker never really makes much sense out of the connection. Dekker also throws out a reference to House, coauthored with Frank Peretti, noting that the primary antagonists of both Skin and House were creations of Black, written into reality through the Books of History.
And then you have the whole concept of how the books and the worms ended up in Paradise. Even in Showdown, the explanation is bit ex machina but it works because there isn’t a concentrated attempt to explain it. It just happened that way. Arcane magic will do that at times. Learning that the worms are Shataiki larvae and that Alucard wants the books to travel through the portal so that the larvae so that adult Shataiki can metamorphize the larvae into more Shataiki…it’s all a bit much (and I’m not sure that’s how larvae work?).
In order to be up to date on everything in Renegade, you need to have read 1) The Circle Trilogy, 2) Showdown, 3) Skin, 4) Chosen and Infidel. That may have worked, except for the fact that the Lost Books were billed as a YA series. In other words, they were conceived to be an entry point for young readers. Renegade is great for the super-fan (and there are a lot of us!), but I can’t imagine being twelve and trying to navigate this.
While Renegade contains some of the great thematic imagery first brought up in Infidel, it changes pace to take itself less seriously and includes several hilarious scenes of the young Forest Guard’s reaction to modern technology. I go back and forth between it being cringey and accurate, and the real answer is probably both. For all its wild addition to the mythos, the tone of the characters is the most authentic it’s been. Which is weird, because they haven’t been that way up to this point.
When the dust settles, the effects are worlds-shattering. The worlds have been breached and our reality may never know what hit it. While lacking the thematic depth of Infidel, Renegade does well in explaining the technicalities of the mythos—what the Books of History are and how they may be used—and sets up for an epic conclusion in Chaos.
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