Author: Ted Dekker and Tosca Lee
Genre: Christian fiction, dystopian fiction
Publisher: Center Street
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: ARC from the publisher
First line: There was never a body.
Goodreads blurb: A terrible truth has been revealed to one man: the entire human race has been drained of every emotion except one — fear. To bring life back to the world, Rom must embark on a journey that will end either in his own demise or a reawakening of humanity. But to bring love and passion back into existence will also threaten the powers of the world with the revolution and anarchy that had nearly destroyed them previously.
After happening upon a journal through strange circumstance, Rom’s world is shattered. He learns that humanity long ago ceased to “live,” that it exists today in a living death of emotions. In a terrible risk, Rom exposes himself to the vial of blood folded into the old leather of the journal. His change is fearful and fraught with mind-bending emotion. A once-pious observer of the Order’s passionless statues, he is filled with uncontrollable impulses. He is filled with love.
He is undone, terrified, and alone in the desolate world.
Among the Faith and Fiction Round Table bloggers, those of us who liked Forbidden seem to be in the minority. The characters and story took a while to grow on me, but by about halfway through, I was hooked. It is dystopian fiction, and I think this is not a genre typically read by a lot of the others. I still expected it to provoke some great discussion, but it seems like people were less engaged in our discussion this time – me included, even though I enjoyed the book. I’m not sure if that is just due to the time of year – school starting, things getting busy, etc. – or because of the disconnect with the book itself.
The aspect of the book that provided the most discussion is the role of emotion in our lives. The future that Dekker and Lee write of is truly terrifying. Can you imagine living in a a world where the only emotion you ever experience is fear, and all its variations? Anxiety, stress, terror, worry…. you experience these every day, but without joy, peace, love, happiness, elation, anger, sadness. As someone who has previously struggled with panic attacks, this is a future that scares me deeply.
However, as a Christian, I can understand why it would be tempting to want to get rid of extreme emotions. So often, it is my emotions which lead me into temptation. By giving in to them, I often hurt myself or others. And yet God created us, and he created us with the capacity for great emotion. As with everything else He created, our emotions were damaged in the fall. Our ability to control them and to respond to them correctly was hurt, and so we must wage a daily battle between our flesh and our spirit. Emotion is a beautiful gift, and like all good gifts from our Creator, our enemy seeks to pervert them and use them to his advantage. Would I want to live in a world that got rid of rage and hatred and greed? Yes, and one day I will. But if it was offered to me now, with the understanding that it would cost me other emotions like love and joy….that simply wouldn’t be worth it.
I loved the scenes that described Rom’s first experience with other emotions – they were beautifully written. Some of the other bloggers were bothered that there wasn’t more of a concrete ending, but since I knew that this was the first book in a trilogy before I ever started reading, I wasn’t bothered by it. It ends in a logical place, without a huge cliffhanger, but leaving it obvious that the story is far from over. I have added this book to my Series Reading page, and look forward to the sequel.
Faith and Fiction Round Table Partcipants:
~ Heather at Book Addiction
~ Julie at Book Hooked Blog
~ Sheila at Book Journey
~ Jennifer at Crazy for Books
~ Ronnica at Ignorant Historian
~ Nicole at Linus’s Blanket
~ Amy at My Friend Amy (our gracious hostess)
~ Thomas at My Random Thoughts
~ Liz at Roving Reads
~ Sherry at Semicolon
~ Florinda at The 3 R’s Blog
~ Tina at Tina’s Book Reviews
~ Brooks at Victorious Cafe
~ Hannah at Word Lily