Reviews from Lord Taylor of Glencoe
Infidel: Ted Dekker, April 13—23, 2015
My rating: ♦♦◊◊◊
The Lost Books series continues, and remains slow, frustrating and below par. How can it be that these books followed the likes of Thr3e and Blink in Dekker’s career? It seems as though he’s gathered the silt at the bottom of his idea trove and is just getting rid of it all in one excruciating series.
Rather like Chosen, this midquel sequel follows one act in a larger story. The escapades of Johnis et al follow, but are not directly caused by, the events of the previous book. At its conclusion, the focus of the plot of the next is set up, with the finding of the lost books remaining the over-riding arc.
The first half is very slow, with endless recapping. It also seems that every characters’ internal monologues consist of explaining the situation to themselves. Presumably this is designed to emphasise the gravity of the latest predicament to the reader, but it doesn’t work. Instead it’s patronising and boring.
Things get going a bit more in the second half. In the same way that Johnis casually bickers with the supposedly terrifying Teeleh in Chosen, there is a similar in-and-out-and-in-and-out-and-upside down wandering about at Horde headquarters, once again undermining the threat of the protagonists and rendering the whole excretes not very exciting.
The characterisation also needs work. Johnis and Silvie have fallen for each other in record time, which is a predictable and tired plot device that just doesn’t stack up. How well do they actually know each other? Thomas (of) Hunter is reduced to a grumpy schoolmaster and the Chosen Ones are getting away with so much murder that his supposed authority is not very apparent. Perhaps the most irritating thing of all is the intense melodrama that everyone feels, needing to weep constantly, hearts being broken and shattered over the weather, and being desperate for this, that or the next thing.
It’s easy to see what Dekker is trying to do in all of these things, but that’s the problem. He’s very clearly trying and in no way convincing. Neither the story nor the characters are engaging because they’re not sufficiently developed or believable. Dekker can do much better – look at the series this descends from – but for some reason is failing to deliver.