Book Review: “Red” by Ted Dekker

Cover of "Red" by Ted Dekker.
Cover of “Red” by Ted Dekker.

I’m back with another book review, and this time I’m reviewing “Red” by Ted Dekker! This is the sequel to “Black” and the second book in “The Circle” series. Here’s the summary so we know what “Red” is about:

“Less than a month ago, Thomas Hunter was a failed writer selling coffee at the Java Hut in Denver. Now he finds himself in a desperate quest to rescue two worlds from collapse. In one world, he’s a battle-scarred general commanding an army of primitive warriors. In the other, he’s racing to outwit sadistic terrorists intent on creating global chaos through an unstoppable virus.

Two worlds on the brink of destruction. One unthinkable solution.”

Content Warning:

This book contains mentions of Biblical elements throughout the story and worldbuilding, somewhat-graphic violence and actually-graphic character death including drowning, and situations involving hostages and kidnappings. If any of this content is unsettling to you, you may want to skip reading this book.

Plot Development: 2 out of 5 stars

The plot was okay and believable enough in the first book, but this book took things way out of believability at some parts. Yes, this is a half the plot takes place in a fantasy world due to Thomas’ actions of travelling between worlds while dreaming. However, the worldbuilding added into the story didn’t make a lot of sense to the plot. I didn’t understand how Thomas’ actions in the fantasy world affected the real world and vice versa, and this is supposed to be a major impact on the main plot in this series. Instead, I found myself reading two mostly-separate plotlines in the real world and the fantasy world. I don’t think the execution of meshing each other’s world’s impacts on each other worked as well this time around.

Worldbuilding Development: 1.5 out of 5 stars

The worldbuilding fell a bit flat for me in terms of development. I somewhat-understand the fantasy world’s veneration for their goddess Elyon, but it’s virtually fanatical. I’m surprised it doesn’t have a huge impact on the real world, unless it’s supposed to be emphasized through how bad the Raison virus gets in the book. However, I don’t see the connection between how the increasingly-violent actions in the fantasy world really affect how things are going in the real world.

Character Development: 2 out of 5 stars

The introduction of characters such as Justin, Jahon, etc. in the fantasy world was the most interesting part of the whole cast of characters introduced. I also thought that Thomas was more interesting to read this time around. Unfortunately, Kara, Thomas’ sister, and other more-major characters didn’t get much time to shine due to the lack of focus on them. As a result, they barely had any development.

Romance Development: 1.5 out of 5 stars

So, it turns out that Rachelle and Monique are somewhat linked to each other. This makes the love-triangle from the previous book into a not-quite-love triangle. This made the romance very confusing for me a reader. Like last book, the chemistry between Thomas and Monique and Thomas and Rachelle didn’t feel like it had a lot of chemistry. It’s likely due to the plotline forcing Thomas to bounce between worlds so often, so he doesn’t get a lot of quality time with either and/or both Monique and Rachelle. Even with knowing that, however, I was still disappointed.

Overall, I’m rating this book 2 out of 5 stars!

I’ll be reviewing “White” and “Green” in the next weeks, but I honestly don’t know how well this series will go from here. I hope that it will make more sense, but so far, I’m disappointed.

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