The Calling – Rachelle Dekker

The Calling Rachelle Dekker
The Calling by Rachelle Dekker
Also by this author: Nine, Millie Maven and the Bronze Medallion, Millie Maven and the Golden Vial, Millie Maven and the White Sword, Millie Maven, And They Found Dragons
Series: Seer #2
Published by Tyndale on March 8, 2016
Genres: Fiction, Christian, Suspense, Speculative
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Remko Brant had never been so sure of anything as escaping the Authority City with Carrington Hale. But bravado comes easy when you have nothing to lose. Now a husband, father, and the tactical leader of the Seers, Remko has never had so much at risk.

As he and his team execute increasingly dangerous rescue missions inside the city, they face growing peril from a new enemy. Recently appointed Authority President Damien Gold claims to be guiding a city shaken by rebellion into a peaceful, harmonious future. But appearances can be deceiving. In order to achieve his dangerous ambitions, Gold knows he must do more than catch the rebels--he must destroy the hope their message represents . . . from the inside out.

With dissension in his own camp--and the CityWatch soldiers closing in--Remko feels control slipping through his fingers. To protect those he loves, he must conquer his fears and defeat Gold . . . before one of them becomes his undoing.

Warning: Contains spoilers for The Choosing.

It has been almost two years since Carrington and Remko submitted to the teaching of Aaron and their Heavenly Father. Two years on the run from the Authority. Two years as a ragtag group called the Seers. Two years calling others out from the Authority into freedom. The Choosing was Carrington’s story. The Calling is Remko’s.

Remko and his team lead increasingly dangerous missions inside the city, rescuing imprisoned Seers and leading seekers to freedom. New Authority President Damien Gold is determined to shut the Seers down. Not just stop them. Obliterate them.

This intense persecution has lead to dissention within the Seer ranks. Some want to stay. Some want to run. As a leader, Remko is divided. He was promised that his Father would be with him, but he seems so absent. The Calling is Remko’s story of remembering what he had forgotten and abiding in the Father’s love and leading the rebellion, even as he feels everything is falling apart.

Rachelle Dekker’s follow-up to her explosive debut novel has all the pieces of a good story, but fails to deliver in pacing, action, and tone as well as The Choosing. The shift from Carrington’s story to Remko’s is a major one and I’m not entirely convinced it works. It’s perhaps one of the unique hooks in a market glutted with Hunger Games knockoffs, but Remko’s story doesn’t flow as well or feel as natural as Carrington’s.

The novel also feels like a “journey” novel in many ways. It’s an extended preview and setup for the climactic conclusion in book three. It’s a common problem in middle novels of a trilogy and the character shift makes it more obvious. For some reader’s the perspective shift might also seem like a bait-and-switch. They’ve come to love Carrington and it’s disappointed to find that she is reduced to a bit player in this book.

Dekker spends a lot of time developing the theological underpinnings of her novel, which is taken from Ted Dekker’s The Forgotten Way. It’s an unofficial tie-in, but it’s a reminder of how closely Rachelle identifies with her (earthly) father’s teaching on her (heavenly) Father. Whether you like this or not depends on how what you think of the concepts taught in the Forgotten Way.

Personally, I feel that the message overshadows the plot in this particular story. It slows the pacing, makes for uneven action throughout, and detracts from the plot. In trying to describe the action of this story, I kept feeling like the plot was simple and thin—and that shouldn’t happen in a 450 page book.

Dekker does subtly and beautifully set up the story for its ultimate conclusion in The Returning. The characters remain engaging and the change in protagonist is interesting as well. Altogether, this isn’t a bad novel, but it was a lot of content for a little amount of story. It seemed stretched. Fortunately, Dekker fixes this in the concluding novel.