Although this book didn’t strike me as strongly as Dark Blue did, it was still a refreshing break from the world of secular books with no hope or redeAlthough this book didn’t strike me as strongly as Dark Blue did, it was still a refreshing break from the world of secular books with no hope or redemption.
That’s what I want to know! Why is it that most YA (fantasy or contemporary) is dark and serious with no ray of light other than the main characters that are 8 times out of 10 unlikeable? I don’t even know if there’s such thing as a happy ending these days. I know authors try to be more realistic on terms of plot—and I’m all for realism, especially in sci-fi and fantasy—but without the hope and purification that comes with Christian fiction or the promise of God always watching over you then what’s the point of living? It’s why Tolkien and Lewis and Francis are so effective because they incorporate siphoning away the darkness and turn a glimmer of light into a sun when it seems like there is no tomorrow.
Melody Carlson does just that but in a contemporary, high school setting.
Just like the first book, when I start reading these I can’t stand the characters and their problems. Jordan was SO annoying and I couldn’t take how she just kept getting deeper and deeper into a hole she convinced herself she wasn’t digging. I felt the same way with Kara in the first book up until Carlson put a little drama toward the end was I really interested at how Jordan and her rival were going to clear things up. Another thing that bothered me was how strangely lukewarm Jordan’s parents were on the subject of God. They aren’t against the idea like Kara’s mom was, but they don’t ground the Word of God into their family either. Her parents say, “I pray sometimes, you know,” and Jordan doesn’t take church seriously because her parents don’t. She has no connection with God because her parents don’t even think twice about how important it is to implement God into the family. That really made me frustrated.
Overall, it wasn’t as interesting to me as Dark Blue but it did end with a little twist just like the first book and was extremely refreshing to get into. I definitely think girls in the ages of junior high (and high school if interested) should read the book of this series that has the subject of their issue they’re dealing with. I would have loved these in my teens and early tweens and I feel that’s what the age the writing style is geared toward—which is weird because they deal with serious, more mature issues such as sex and STD’s which may or may not be what a tween needs to hear depending on their upbringing.
I can’t wait to get the others so I can have a rainbow on my bookshelf. ...more
“Please don’t let the thing He loves so much be fooled by darkness.” --Aaron, Chapter 34, The Choosing
There were a lot4.8 of 5 stars. Almost a full 5.
“Please don’t let the thing He loves so much be fooled by darkness.” --Aaron, Chapter 34, The Choosing
There were a lot of great quotes in this book but that one was my favorite for personal reasons I will explain shortly.
Rachelle Dekker’s debut!!! I used to be way into Ted Dekker in my teens but I haven’t really read a Dekker (Ted) book since community college in 2012 (Forbidden review https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...). Despite me being kind of past her dad, I’m all for Rachelle and was very eager to see how she approached the writing world of YA fiction. She did FANtastic!
This book was SO refreshing from the unending sea of thematic YA tropes and novels!! Reminder: YA is not my genre, but Christian fiction is. Albeit, this is a YA distopia and we have a lot of them, so I went into this not expecting too much of a difference in plot from Matched or The Lunar Chronicles (which I have read); the whole “choosing ceremony” reminded me a lot of Matched but with a flipped point of view on the government--Cassia views her government as a positive thing at the beginning of Matched while Carrington sees it as a negative thing at the beginning of The Choosing. The reason this was a refreshing change is because, yes, it did have a few YA themes that we see in many YA distopians--and the plot was similar to The Giver and Matched, but Rachelle Dekker took those themes and applied Christian themes and metaphors to the formula. Number one, I knew I didn’t have to worry about smutty sex scenes that happen to happen in most of the recent YA books--it gets old, guys. Number two, Christian/religious metaphors are actually one of my favorite things to decipher in any medium.
For example, Remko is the main love interest for Carrington and like pretty much ALL YA books today, he’s the first one she meets when she starts her new path, the first one to be nice to her (or the first to be a jerk if this were a Cassandra Clare book), and keeps conveniently showing up when she needs to be rescued. However, Rachelle Dekker gives plausible reason why Remko follows the similar pattern of most YA love interests. If you’ve read any Christian fiction--or Christian books of any genre--you’d know that the trope of the spiritual-world affecting the physical is common but not always explained. As a Christian, I’m equally yoked with Rachelle Dekker’s belief, and how she integrated it into her story is a no-brainer. Remko’s actions, that may come across as cliche or predictable in the YA genre, make complete and even creative sense when placed in a Christian novel because he is unknowingly being guided by God’s hand to protect Carrington and help her achieve her purpose. *BOOM* Mind = blown. That’s one reason this book is so special. It’s because it is the first book classified with the common YA books in the secular genre but takes the themes that we’ve seen a million times before and put Christian stimulants behind them.
That alone should prove that Rachelle Dekker matches up to the greatness of her father. But wait! There’s more! This book had EXTREMELY intense feels at a few parts. So, if you’ve followed my reviews, you’d know that I have an unhealthy love/hate relationship with the Star Wars: Republic Commando book series. That has to be the number one book series that will always catch me emotionally off guard. For some weird reason, I started having Republic Commando flashbacks whenever the book was in Remko’s point of view. There’s a particular scene that caught me off guard and I was gripping the edges of the book with turmoil as Rachelle Dekker made me feel every bit of pain that Remko was feeling. Remko’s superior officer Authority Dodson has much of General Kal Skirata’s personality in Republic Commando and something about the CityWatch Guards just got under my skin and started bringing up emotions I haven’t felt since reading Republic Commando. I cried, my heart was torn, and I found I really loved Remko as a character He has a speech impediment, a heart of kindness, and killer instincts--that already makes him a tons more interesting than Will Herondale from Infernal Devices! I also cried because I pictured Carrington’s little brother as my 4-year-old nephew in order to better connect with the characters. That was a big mistake :(
The reason I gave this 4.8 stars out of 5 is because it didn’t exactly blow me away with the overall effect of the plot or ending and I wouldn’t say it’s one of my favorite books. The writing was excellent--no typos or redundancy whatsoever unlike many YA books out there--but, as I said, YA isn’t my genre so I don’t think I got as much out of it as those who appreciate YA would. These feelings may change over the course of the next few months as I let the story and characters percolate in my brain. Oh, and the quote in the beginning was my favorite because one of my own characters in the Christian book I wrote said almost the exact same thing. Great minds think alike, I guess. But I definitely and glad I have it on my shelf and I am indeed invested into the characters as I have already ordered the second one. I can’t wait to see what else Rachelle Dekker can duke out during her writing career. ...more
Okay, there are a few things you need to know before reading this book. One, you will most likely enjoy thisI almost gave this book a very low rating.
Okay, there are a few things you need to know before reading this book. One, you will most likely enjoy this book if you find high school drama and/or redemption stories interesting. And two, if you don’t like Christian-themed books or stories then you probably won’t like this one. I usually wait till after I’ve read a book to check out its reviews on Goodreads, and after scanning through the reviews on this series, I saw that the ratings were a jumble of highs and lows, but the issue with those who hated it and called it “bull”, among other things, is because of its genre. This is a Christian, YA novel for Christian girls going through high school. If you’re not a Christian but are a teen looking for guidance in your life, this might just be the book for you. But, Holy God, if you don’t like Christian books, don’t read them! There’s too much hate in this world already.
This was a blind date for me. I grabbed it off the shelf in my library’s YA section (honestly, it was because I liked the cover but had no idea what it was about) and was more than pleased to find that it was a Christian fiction after walking out the door. But less than pleased when I got to page 40 and we were right where we started at page 1.
The majority of this book is pretty much a girl (Kara) sludging through a potent mix of this-is-the-end-of-my-life teen angst and depression because her best friend since kindergarten ditched her to become a cheerleader in their first semester of high school. Up until page 140 or so I couldn’t figure out how this was a Christian fiction and I was getting pretty frustrated reaching a new chapter only to find Kara going through yet another situation with her depression. I wanted to give it 1 star. I was even thinking of not finishing the book altogether—until the dull suspense let way for the reveal and the main point to all this Debbie-downerness gave the book a whole new meaning.
I can’t recall a book a book that’s played that twist card recently. I’m not talking about a Ted DekKer or Shyamalan twist. Melody Carlson kept me in a storm of adolescent emotions for the majority of the book to a point that I was sick of it, so when the clouds parted, and a remedy was found for our protagonist it was all the more relieving. An interesting and even refreshing feeling.
I am a Christian. I’m not the super kind that pray over 100 times a day or see worldy things as pure sin (some of my favorite bands are Die Antwoord and Five Finger Death Punch) but I do believe that going to church regularly honors God and I do believe in the Holy Spirit and that we can have a personal relationship with our creator, so I was completely comfortable with the salvation story that turned this book around; I also believe that what Kara experienced with God is a true thing that can happen. But I say again, if that makes you uneasy or you reject that idea then don’t read this book. Several stringed reviews commented that they didn’t like Christian-fiction and that this kind of thing couldn’t really happen. Why did they read it if they didn’t like the genre in the first place? Of course they’re not going to like it.
But to me, after being stuck in a rut of reading dark fantasy and adult fiction for a long period of time, this was a refreshing reminder of how God feels about me and wetted my appetite for getting back into this genre. I don’t know if I’d continue with the series naturally, but maybe I’ll grab the next one when I feel like an uplifting YA. I’m going to be honest, I liked this way more than The Fault in our Stars--not because it was more interesting, but because it had hope. There definitely need to be more positivity in YA instead of the cold hard face of reality leading you nowhere with your life. Thanks, Melody Carlson for reminding who I am. ...more
(I'm not being ritzy. I mean this review with every honest part of my heart). This book was a very pleasant, and rewarding surprise. Full of moments (I'm not being ritzy. I mean this review with every honest part of my heart). This book was a very pleasant, and rewarding surprise. Full of moments of genius and a dark sense of realism, Forbidden gets a spot on one of the most memorable books I've ever read. It takes a really good piece of work to impress me, and I didn't think that a story about emotionless people gaining emotions in an emotionless world was all that interesting when I read the synopsis. But, I was wrong--in a good and surprising way. Authors Ted Dekker and Tosca Lee do a fine job merging the classic format of storytelling with a flavor of both their personalities into a perfected and key-driven plot for the palate of curious readers. I found myself reaching for the book again and again every time I put it down, needing to be satisfied by where this slightly familiar yet mysterious story would take me. I was extremely pleased and utterly grateful for the constant flow of the story from chapter to chapter. Nothing is dragged out or stretched for filling the the pages. It's all straight to the point but done well rather than abruptly. The only thing that is stretched is the climax which is obviously for good reason, though it doesn't feel dragged out at all. That specific part of the book is done VERY well as you are placed in the perspective of four different characters through an incredible moment of silence. The only negative comment I would have for this book is the violence along with the gore that accompanies it. I'm not a stuck up old lady who disapproves of violence (uh, District 9 is my favorite movie), it was just a surprising move for both Dekker and Lee. I was reading this in the library with my motor running all the way through Chapter 38, and I had to keep an eye on the time because of a math class I had to get to. Ironically, I ran out of time right at the end of a very gruesome and emotional scene. The only thing I could think of the whole way to class was, "Jeez-frik! I have to sit in class for two hours and I just saw someone get hacked to death in front of my eyes!" However, I enjoyed the book very much, especially the classic conclusion ending in a threatening whisper that presented a stunning realization of what had really been done to one of the darker characters, making the unpleasant figure likable in a sinister even sympathetic way. To conclude, Forbidden doesn't exactly take place on the "Books I have to read before I die" list, but it is a good read. Even if you aren't a fan of the dystopian-future genre, I encourage you to give Forbidden a go. You might be surprised....more
Very good. So gentle but powerful at the same time. I definitely grew closer to God while reading this book and recommend it to people who doubt that Very good. So gentle but powerful at the same time. I definitely grew closer to God while reading this book and recommend it to people who doubt that God has love--because God IS LOVE! The only thing I have to object to is that there was no mention of the devil or any mention of fighting against him at all. I mean, I know this book is one of a kind because it's a representation of God's love for us and it's meant to reveal God's gentle healing and relationship process. But they're a lot people who believe that there isn't a devil there's just a God (or vice versa) and that's not true because at children of God we are automatically soldiers of Christ, and because we are soldiers of Christ we are inclined to fight on the spiritual battlefield for God and everyone on this planet using prayer, scripture, and faith in God as our weapons (just look up Ephesians 6:10-18). This book is the closest thing to the Bible that reflects God's nature on his love and sacrifice for us and the world. Great job Mr. Young!...more
AWESOME!! This was recommended to me by a friend and she said I HAD to read it. I did and it was CRAAAAZY! I'm like, expecting this historical romanceAWESOME!! This was recommended to me by a friend and she said I HAD to read it. I did and it was CRAAAAZY! I'm like, expecting this historical romance--and that's in there--but out of nowhere, within the first couple chapters, I get a BAM!! of awesome AAAAction! This woman knows how--to--write! Must...finish...trilogy!...more
Not what I expected. It was one of those books where I didn't know what to expect and when I finished it I thought it was "okay", but then after a fewNot what I expected. It was one of those books where I didn't know what to expect and when I finished it I thought it was "okay", but then after a few months I looked back and actually liked. Made me want to read it again....more