Reviews from Lord Taylor of Glencoe
Desecration: Jerry B. Jenkins & Tim LaHaye, January 4—10, 2016
My rating: ♦♦◊◊◊
It’s hard to tell if the book’s title refers to the desecration of the temple by the Antichrist, or the desecration of the Left Behind series with this instalment. Now in its ninth run, the ailing juggernaut charted its most disappointing release to date.
Very little happens in Desecration. The Antichrist rides a pig into the Temple, and the Jewish converts flee to Petra under both divine protection, and Trib Force facilitation.
Many of the problems with Desecration apply generally to the series as a whole, but in the absence of any redeeming features they are extremely difficult to overlook.
First, the dichotic approach to the entire cast is less believable as time goes on. Notwithstanding the charm of the Antichrist, the cynicism of the age is nowhere to be seen.
The ever-expanding plethora of believers have absolutely no personality or character development. They’re a series of names, representing placeholder positions. One generic character is in this place, fulfilling this position; another generic character is somewhere else, doing something else.
Perhaps the biggest exception to both of these criticisms has been Hattie, but in her latest outing, she is stripped of every nuance of individuality and starts using exactly the same speech patterns as everyone else. Chaim, too, is now indistinguishable from Tsion. Every single character speaks the same, thinks the same, and acts the same. It’s dull.
Meanwhile, Carpathia and Fortunato have been reduced to pantomime villains. They bumble about, falling over and acting like The Chuckle Brothers on acid. Where is the malevolent charm of the early books? Where is the brooding threat? They’re now cartoons that act in randomly brutal ways.
Granted, Jenkins is working from source material that charts Carpathia’s path more than most other characters, but his radical transformation is too abrupt and extreme to take seriously. There is no point whatsoever in novelising the arc without building in character development, believability and depth. “And now Carpathia is like this” is no more dramatic than the source material it came from.
Compared to Left Behind and Nicolae, Desecration is a parody of its former self. It’s impossible to care for such a bland bunch of good guys, and hard to fear such ridiculous and non-threatening villains. The pace is slow, the tension is non-existent, and it adds virtually nothing to the overall story. Given its strong, eerie beginning, the Left Behind series has become a tragic waste of an opportunity.