Ted Dekker s Black is mind bendingly brilliant.I always say Dekker is a writing genius which isn t something I think often He weaves messages into his thrillers, adds suspense to every page, creates villains you despise and characters you can get frustrated with and yet root for simultaneously And honestly What blows me away are his plots Consistently, they leave me wide eyed, flipping pages in emotional angst late into the night, if I can.BUT BLACK IS SO DARN GOOD Full of suspense, wonder, creativity, realism, dread the good kind , believable characters, a page turning plot, gripping writing It s stocked with the stuff that makes Mr Dekker a bestseller This is some of his best I ve read Black twice now the first, a few years ago And I liked it quite a bit Enough to give it four uncertain stars and not reallyyy think twice about it But coming back to it, rereading it, has left me with a whole new appreciation for Dekker s work One word description Incredible I don t hesitate to give this gem 4.5 stars now Feel free to have a chuckle at my expense What I liked Every character is fully capable of leaping off the page and walking around in everyday life. There are character arcs not so much as in other books by other authors, because that doesn t seem to be Dekker s forte writing style, but realistic, definitely believable fictional humans that make decisions like realistic, definitely believable real life humans Especially Thomas Hunter, your casual barista and failed novelist turned world hero And not just one world two starkly different and yet interwoven worlds Thomas is engaging He s funny And his courage and guts are sometimes astounding and laugh worthy The villain is disturbing enough to make you blanch Kara and Monique are just the right kind of heroines I like to read about And the plethora of other fictional people is basically as realistic as those previously mentioned The world building. So we have two worlds, which I mentioned above Two different realities Interwoven Somehow unique and yet tied together It s massively creative and mind bending Dekker s skill at world building is to be commended It s detailed and yet not drowning in details, colorful and interspersed Talking white bats and trees made in color and lakes you can breathe in no longer seem like oddities At least in the novel It s so vivid and cool and JUST I CAN T GET ENOUGH The plot. Need I say The plot is full blown suspense, breathtaking, eye widening action and intensity on pretty much every page The writing style. Engaging, witty, realistic, and honestly, laugh out loud funny when called for Elyon. Beautiful beautifulness I can t say that enough The author s take on God is so unique and genuine and BRILLIANT I think I ve used that word quite a bit It gives you a new perspective on Jesus, and I loved that So much It touches my heart in a way most books can t ALMOST EVERYTHING ELSE What I didn t like IT GETS KINDA VIOLENT. And there isn t a ton of violence But it is there and some of it is bloody enough that I cringe thinking about it even now It isn t detailed, but you get the picture quite clearly Examples gun shots, broken bones, a crucified man who s badly disfigured, characters being nearly eaten alive by creatures, etc Again, it s there, but it s interspersed and I enjoyed the book immensely despite all that It s justdifferent. This isn t even really a negative But besides saying Dekker is a writing genius, I also tell people he s an acquired taste His stories are mind bending, and yes, brilliant, but not everyone is going to like them and even some of his that I ve read, while I ve always been at least somewhat enraptured in the book, have been strange or frustrating enough that I took a step back from his novels for a bit But now I m back, and loving them than ever, so OVERALL, pick this up Give it a try It s probably my highest recommended Dekker book to date, and the one I would recommend the most for readers who ve never devoured a TD book before because, trust me, you WILL BE devouring this one. SCREAMING FROM THE ABYSS AS I SLOWLY SET THIS BOOK DOWN AHHHH AHHH SORRY ANYWAY COHERENT THOUGHTS AND STUFF This book was absolutely amazing It made me laugh, made me mad, surprised me, got me thinking, and wonderfully showed a side of Elyon that I really needed in my life lately Jaw dropping book. HELLO WORLD, I VE READ A TED DEKKER BOOK At last, now I can be a Normal Person because I ve read the Decidedly Abnormal Books that Ted Dekker writes This book wasinteresting I m really not sure what I think of it All in all, it was kind of a meh read, in my opinionLovely ThingsThe plot Okay, the plot was pretty cool nods The way Dekker intertwined two worlds with two plots that meshed together THAT WAS PRETTY DARN COOL I wasn t a huge fan of the fantasy world, but we ll get to that As a whole, I really really liked the overarching plots The sibling relationship Kara and Thomas had a realistic, believable relationship and I genuinely enjoyed reading their interactions I just wish there had been of those because UM YES SIBLING RELATIONSHIPS FOR THE WIN Kara Yesyesyes For some reason, I actually really liked Kara DON T ASK ME WHY She just seemed the most interesting relatable to me Some of the fantasy elements Note the qualifier some cough I have to admit, Dekker wrote up some interesting fantasy stuff From the rainbow forests to the Roush which I always picture as owls, for some reason to the different fruits WHICH I WANT PLEASE It was really creative I like that The action I liked all the excitement in the modern world Perhaps it was just because I was in the mood for a thriller, but I usually found the action scenes to be pretty excitingNot So Lovely ThingsThe violence I NEVER thought this would be an issue for meBUT GUYS This book made me squirm a lot. I m not very sensitive to violence normally so long as it isn t overly descriptive But the stuff in this book had me over in the corner gagging All the descriptions of the bats eating humans alive and everything shudders And every time someone got hurt, blood was going everywhere NO THANK YOU I had a really hard time stomaching all the violence in this book The fantasy world URGH I wasn t that much of a fan, honestly Some of the fantasy elements were cool, but I wasn t overly interested in the world overall It just seemed boring to me, and I was tempted to skim over those chapters The characters laughs uncertainly Oh boywith the exception of Kara and maybe Monique, I really didn t have an emotional attachment to any of the characters Thomas was okay though he annoyed me at times , but Rachelle She was downright AGGRAVATING And the romance between her and Thomas ugh I justdidn t like either of them that much, and putting them together makes them worse P The overall feel of the book I don t know how to describe this, but I just didn t like the overall feel of the novel It was weird but not in the way I liked , disturbing, but also boring I DON T KNOW Some books I just click with and some I don t Overall I m not exactly dying for Dekker books BUT that doesn t mean I won t be giving them another try After all, he s written plenty of them to try out And maybe I ll enjoy his books that have less fantasy stuff in them Surprisingly, I didn t like the fantasy aspect all that much.3 stars 3.5 starsI love the concept of this book It s one of the most unique books I ve read in awhile But it was not without faults The characterization was kinda bad in the beginning, sometimes the writing was a little eye rolly, the situations a little too convenient Despite the faults, I just couldn t put it down In fact, I started on the second book immediately after finishing which is something I almost never do. W.o.w I don t think mere words can actually encompass my thoughts about this series, but I will do my best This isn t the type of book I usually read, but, at the insistence of several friends, I decided to give this series a shot A strangely gripping combination of sci fi, thriller, and fantasy, The Circle series is unlike anything I ve ever read, and, I would guess, unparalleled in its genre Whatever genre that is First off, any expectations you may have when you start this book, just throw them out of the window right here and now Black completely turned my expectations on their head, and not completely in a good way It was just so different from what I expected that I struggled a bit Certain elements were so bizarre they were too bizarre creepy for me That being said, I was too far into the story to just put it down Thomas is such an incredibly unique character He s so very human, which is what I think makes him so fabulous I also loved Kara I could definitely relate to some of her sisterliness The plot what do I even say The premise of this book is so unique and unusual, it gripped my attention right away Dekker s writing style is also very unique and captivating and definitely fits well with the story Altogether, while I wasn t a fan of certain elements of this book, I did enjoy it overall One can t deny the brilliance that this book is Few books have such an immersive world that you actually feel like you re living in it when you read it Although this is true about the first book in the ring trilogy being Black by Ted Dekker, the book has some major flaws.Characters sometimes seem unrealistic and do absurd things for seemingly no apparent reason I am constantly reminded of this by the stupid comments that the main character constantly throws out in serious conversations Such as If they don t help us we should nuke them, perfectly logical I ve read other pieces by Ted Dekker House and Saint and they have had half way decent writing and amazing plots Overall his books have been extremely well put together, or so I thought You can tell that Black was written early on in his career The writing is really not that great but the plot does still hold up amazingly well I m going to call this the Harry Potter Syndrome because JK Rowling s series is very well put together, but terribly written Also the theology in this book seems to be kinda wack I know from being a Christian that God loves us, but Ted Dekker s portrayal of God randomly hugging people and telling them how much He loves them dosen t seem like the greatest way to present God I know he loves us, but he does then just give us hugs and say nice things to us Last time I checked the bible, God did a lot then just say I love you which seems to practically be the only thing that ever comes out of his mouth Some actual wisdom might be nice for a change I ll also mention that the last third of the book picked up an insane amount and a large portion of things were left unexplained It seemed like the author went Hhhhmmmm, I don t feel like writing this any so I m just going to skip all the detailed explanations I ve been giving so far and sum up the novel in ten pages Despite my ranting and raving complaints the book is amazing and plain simple good fun I think Ted Dekker should have spent time developing this or maybe started this series down the road after writing a few other stories It s a shame they were written as badly as they are considering the plot line s amazing twists and turns O well, I m looking forward to the sequel Red and Ted Dekker has ounce again proved that there is a reason why his name hovers above other modern day authors Take a star off is you don t enjoy fiction this novel is very fictiony I guess and add a star if you like action packed suspense Ted Dekker is supposed to be a pretty good writer I would not assent to that proposition based on this book Based on the high ratings and good reviews of this work on.com, I had hoped this would be a good introduction to the author and a fun, but challenging, read I could barely finish it.The one thing Mr Dekker does well here is create two distinct worlds and keep the protagonist and the reader wondering which one is real Is it the world that seems to be our own, with all of its wars, disease and crime Or is it the land the protagonist visits when he is sleeping or in a coma , where evil is decidedly black and good is innocent and naive The problem is that I don t care The fantasy world is not rich enough and things are too black and white The allegory is both too obvious and too dense to penetrate I m not sure what the author is trying to show Events in the real world are either too coincidental or too dependent on an almost omniscient and omnipotent antagonist No one has that kind of power and insight And the protagonist is too laid back for a novel Things just happen to him, even when he s trying to be a bit assertive I made it all the way to the end of the book, looking for something to really happen or be explained It never was And I don t care enough about it to pick up the other two books and spend the hours needed to read them. More epic awesomeness from Dekker Since this novel ended on a cliffhanger, I do believe that I will be purchasing the next book in the series very soon else I might go mad with anticipation Update 1 31 2013 Slowly closes book Wipes sweat from brow Pauses briefly to reflect upon the meaning of life Reaches for recently acquired copy of Red.I m glad that I decided to reread this before picking up Red because there is soooooo much I forgot about Like this little snippet from Thomas s dive into the lake The water forced his eyes open and new images filled his mind His mother, crying The images came faster now Pictures of his life A dark, terrible nature A red faced man was spitting obscenities with a long tongue that kept flashing from his gaping mouth like a snake s Each time the tongue touched another person, they crumpled to the floor in a pile of bones It was his face he saw Memories of lives dead and gone, but here now and dying still.And he knew then that he had entered his own soul.I think this passage bore a little significance to me this time around since I recently had a similar awakeningbut we won t talk about that here. I was reluctant throughout this tale due to Mr Dekker s constant reference to religion However, the plot and nature of the story was intriguing enough 4 of 10 stars Enter An Adrenaline Laced Epic Where Dreams And Reality CollideFleeing His Assailants Through Deserted Alleyways, Thomas Hunter Narrowly Escapes To The Roof Of A Building Then A Silent Bullet From The Night Clips His Headand His World Goes BlackFrom The Blackness Comes An Amazing Reality Of Another World A World Where Evil Is Contained A World Where Thomas Hunter Is In Love With A Beautiful Woman Then He Remembers The Dream Of The Chase As He Reaches To Touch The Blood On His HeadWhere Does The Dream End And Reality Begin Every Time He Falls Asleep In One World, He Awakes In The Other Both Facing Catastrophic Disaster Thomas Is Being Pushed Beyond His Limitseven Beyond The Limits Of Space And TimeBlack Is An Incredible Story Of Evil And Rescue, Betrayal And Love, Pursuit And Death, And A Terrorist S Threat Unlike Anything The Human Race Has Ever KnownSome Say The World Hangs In The Balance Of Every Choice We Make Now The Fate Of Two Worlds Hangs In The Balance Of One Man S Choice