fun fact: there are publishing companies that will send you a free copy of a book if you will post a review of it on your blog. woohoo! i signed up for booksneeze, which is a part of thomas nelson publishers …. i actually went there looking to get a copy of anne jackson’s ‘permission to speak freely’ but it was already gone 😦 so i got ted dekker’s book ‘immanuel’s veins‘.
let me preface this by saying that this is only the second of dekker’s books that i have ever read. the first was ‘three‘; i picked it up several years ago as a beach read. i wasn’t overly impressed, so even though people rave about his books, i steered clear of them. but immanuel’s veins sounded interesting, and it was free, so i decided to give it a shot.
the storyline follows a russian solder in the army of catherine the great, so it is set in the 1770’s. the soldier is supposed to guard a wealthy family (a mother and two daughters) as they spend the summer at one of their estates. the trouble starts when some new neighbors show up to the first gala of the summer and gets more involved from there.
- some of the characters lack depth.
- there was a point about 1/3 of the way through the story where i nearly wanted to put it down- vampires? really? if that doesn’t scream ‘christian response to twilight’, i don’t know what does.
- i didn’t have to think about anything until the last major scene in the book- for me, that qualifies it as a ‘beach read’, and not something i read to enrich my imagination.
- statistically, i need to get hooked in the first 20 pages if i’m going to like a book … the statistic held true here. i had to push myself to keep reading.
- the whole story had this ‘its been done’ feel to it … and that someone else did it better. i’m not a huge fan of christian authors piggybacking on the success of secular trends anyway, so this definitely wasn’t a plus for me.
- the story moves pretty quickly.
- dekker did well at portraying sensuality without edging into pornographic description. (you’ll see what i mean if you read the book)
- the story actually resolves.
- it sounds historically accurate, based on other period books i’ve read.
- he gives just enough ‘vampire history’ and legend to make it sound legit. he obviously did his homework.
- a few of the characters have good depth.
- the attempt to make the story about redemption was an interesting turn. while i could see where he was going, i wasn’t completely sure how he was going to get here. he did a pretty good job at tying in the gospel as it was understood at that time in history and making it the climax of the story.
it wasn’t terrible, it just wasn’t great. i wouldn’t read the book again; in fact, if you want it, leave a comment on this blog, and we’ll work something out. i think most of my dislike for this book stems from stylistic differences- dekker just isn’t my style. you may disagree- you’re entitled to do so! please don’t take my thoughts as gospel- read the book yourself! it definitely had some redeeming factors- like i said, the way he tied redemption through blood into the story was a great picture of atonement.
overall grade: B-