Kyle's Reviews > Saint

Saint by Ted Dekker
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's review
Jul 27, 2009

liked it

The book starts out with this guy, Carl, waking up, no idea who he is or where he's at. He sees that he is in a room chained to a bed with his wife. A man walks in the room and gives Carl a challenge. Carl must assassinate two targets in one hour with only two bullets without killing any one else. He fails, the man kills him, his wife, and their son. This covers the first few chapters of the book, it ends up going crazygonuts. The thing about the plot is that you have to read Showdown before you read Saint. Yes, this is set in the Books of History universe, or the Dekkerverse as I like to call it.

The story starts out normal enough, but it gets to be extremely weird by the end. Not Eternal Sonata/ makes no sense weird, more like speculative fiction kind of weird. I personally didn't change the overall quality of the book, but I know that some people don't like it. Then again, if you've read Showdown, you can expect the same level of oddness in Saint.

Belief is the main theme of Saint, belief in God to be specific. I'm all for allegories, but not at the expense of the main character. Half the time Carl is an awesome action hero, but towards the end he becomes a whiny punk "that just wants to be a normal boy". I realize that Carl is confused by this point, but it doesn't make sense that an assassin that's specifically trained not to have any emotions suddenly becomes angsty. Plot convenience?

Dekker also introduces a great idea in the middle of the book where some one could plan exactly what some one was going to do on an emotional level. I suck at explaining it, but trust me, it's interesting. Unfortunately, Ted must not have liked the idea as much because it doesn't get mention again until the end of the book, and only then to say that it doesn't actually work. Oh well.

Ted writes in his usual style for Saint. If you haven't read any of his books before, that means a really straightforward third-person narrative. And of course it has the mandatory chapter from the antagonist's perspective. Also, Ted continues to write terrible, cheesy love scenes. The simplicity of the writing is actually beneficial for the action scenes. I can finally understand what awesome things are going on in these scenes (unlike in Snow Crash).

Which leads me to my next point, the action scenes, Saint's biggest achievement. The moments where Carl is a crazy action hero are great! Of course, as I've said before, these moments are countered when Carl is an enormous wimp. It's not so much that he's being a wimp, it's that his entire character is changed, just so Dekker can have his allegory.

Despite the bad things I've said about Saint, I don't regret reading it. The action scenes are insane, it's short enough to read in a weekend, and it continues Showdown, my favorite book ever. If you read Showdown and can borrow a copy from your library or a friend, then go for it. I'd hesitate to buy it, but it's still a fun ride.
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