I feel like such a jerk giving a negative review of a book that begins with 16 raving endorsements. The only thing I liked about the book was the skillful development of the character Toma. His persona was unveiled in parallel to the unveiling of the theme of sacrificial love.
Beyond that, there were a few things that bothered me:
1) The inconsistency of the language. The story is set in the 1700s, but the conversations are mixed with colloquial phrases from centuries later. Phrases such as “hunk of a man” and “party pooper” seem out of place in the conversations.
2) Many chapters are identical except for the setting and the characters. I grew tedious of back to back scenes of the same thing–good guy drawn by seductive being, confused by mystical culture and compelled to fight violence with violence. I felt like the book was trying hard to compete with dark, gothic vampire novels while holding on to some sort of spiritual reins.
3) The spiritual lesson in the book feels lik an after thought. I was two-thirds into the book before I felt this was a Christian publication. And even after that, there were a few uncomfortable moments. For example, Toma’s love for Lucine–while sacrificial in the sense that he was willing to die for her–was a physical attraction for the most part. I wanted to see Toma grow in a deeper understanding of what love really is. It was like he took a giant leap of commitment to love without knowing why.
Maybe the story is a very involved allegory with complicated symbolism that I just didn’t get. Or maybe the problem was that I was hoping for an Aslan and not a Toma. And this was just was not Narnia.
WIN A IMMANUEL’S VEINS T SHIRT DIRECTLY FROM THOMAS NELSON PUBLICATIONS: One thing the book does do is get you thinking about just how much you’d do for love. Will love incapacitate you from rational thinking and moral decisions? Or will love move you to towards God and goodness no matter what? And what is sacrificial love? COMMENT BELOW WITH YOUR T SHIRT SIZE AND YOU’LL BE ENTERED INTO A DRAWING FOR A FREE T SHIRT. ONLY NORTH AMERICAN RESIDENTS, PLEASE. I WILL CONTACT THE WINNER FOR THE MAILING ADDRESS.
7 thoughts on “Immanuel’s Veins”
I’m glad so many people like you have read and reviewed this book! Immanuel’s Veins was wonderful and I can’t wait for more Ted Dekker novels to come! I posted my review of Immanuel’s Veins at fablefreak.wordpress.com check it out!
oh and my t shirt size is small and my email is pdawwg08(at)yahoo(dot)com
I think you worded your review beautifully. Don’t apologize for stating the truth – book reviews are mostly opinion anyway and there seems to be a love/hate relationship with this book and the reviewers.
Personally, I hated everything about it. I would never have agreed to review it, if I would have known in advance that it was going to be another poor attempt at a vampire-themed novel.
Dekker has a huge fan base so why he felt the need to jump on the current bandwagon I’m not sure – unless he’s trying to gain secular fans as well?
I haven’t read a lot of Ted Dekker before and I would have to say that Immanuel’s Veins was the best book that I didn’t like.
The writing is really quite superb: descriptive language, active plot, interesting characters all worked together. It was just all the lust, blood, and even more blood that just smothered me.
I wrote a review of this book on my own blog here:
Tracy, I too had trouble finding enough in the book to justify it as spiritually beneficial.
I too didn’t care for this book, and I’ve loved many of Dekker’s books too! I don’t know if you’ve read the Circle Books (Black, Red, and White) but those are some of his best (in my opinion). Green is take it or leave it…
But if this is your first Dekker book I’d encourage you to read earlier ones. This book is in no way representative of all his writing.
Jonathan, No I have not read anything of Dekker’s but this. Will try the ones you suggest. Thanks.