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The Circle #1

Black: The Birth of Evil

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Enter an adrenaline-laced epic where dreams and reality collide.

Fleeing his assailants through deserted alleyways, Thomas Hunter narrowly escapes to the roof of a building. Then a silent bullet from the night clips his head...and his world goes black.

From the blackness comes an amazing reality of another world-a world where evil is contained. A world where Thomas Hunter is in love with a beautiful woman. Then he remembers the dream of the chase as he reaches to touch the blood on his head.

Where does the dream end and reality begin? Every time he falls asleep in one world, he awakes in the other-both facing catastrophic disaster. Thomas is being pushed beyond his limits...even beyond the limits of space and time.

Black is an incredible story of evil and rescue, betrayal and love, pursuit and death, and a terrorist's threat unlike anything the human race has ever known.

Some say the world hangs in the balance of every choice we make. Now the fate of two worlds hangs in the balance of one man's choice.

432 pages, Paperback

First published December 25, 2003

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About the author

Ted Dekker

153 books8,849 followers
Ted Dekker is known for novels that combine adrenaline-laced stories with unexpected plot twists, unforgettable characters, and incredible confrontations between good and evil. Ted lives in Austin with his wife LeeAnn and their four children.

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5 stars
15,640 (46%)
4 stars
10,747 (32%)
3 stars
5,128 (15%)
2 stars
1,342 (4%)
1 star
593 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,055 reviews
Profile Image for Caressa.
68 reviews1 follower
August 12, 2011
This falls into my category of Brilliant Idea Executed Poorly. I have always had wicked vivid dreams, so novels about dreamscapes, dreams vs reality, dreams portending the future, etc, fascinate me. "Black" intrigued me enough that I forced myself to read six or seven chapters, then I was so irritated that I ranted about it to my poor husband for 20-30 minutes.

What didn't I like? Characters who are at once both ridiculously unbelievable AND flat (our protagonist can't focus long enough to maintain a steady job, but is a karate prodigy. He's dependable enough to financially support his mother & nurse sister, but blew tens of thousands of dollars smuggling crocodile skins in exotic Asian statues rather than paying off the NY Mob loan shark. The apt he shares with his sister is full of said statuary and masks because his import/export business didn't work out. Hey pal, I have one word for you: Ebay. Frickin' idiot). The action reads like a poorly designed video game, the dialogue is clunky and unnatural, and the fantasy/future reality is like a bad episode of He-Man & the Masters of the Universe. When the giant white bats started talking like Jewish grannies at the corner deli, I had to either return the book or be put on suicide watch.
Profile Image for Tim.
2,110 reviews193 followers
April 21, 2019
I was reluctant throughout this tale due to Mr. Dekker's constant reference to religion. However, the plot and nature of the story was intriguing enough. 4 of 10 stars
Profile Image for mary liz.
213 reviews18 followers
May 28, 2017
HELLO WORLD, I'VE READ A TED DEKKER BOOK. At last, now I can be a Normal Person because I've read the Decidedly Abnormal Books that Ted Dekker writes.

This book was...interesting. I'm really not sure what I think of it. All in all, it was kind of a "meh" read, in my opinion.

Lovely Things:

- The plot. Okay, the plot was pretty cool. *nods* The way Dekker intertwined two worlds with two plots that meshed together?? THAT WAS PRETTY DARN COOL. I wasn't a huge fan of the fantasy world, but we'll get to that. As a whole, I really really liked the overarching plots.

- The sibling relationship. Kara and Thomas had a realistic, believable relationship; and I genuinely enjoyed reading their interactions. I just wish there had been more of those because UM YES SIBLING RELATIONSHIPS FOR THE WIN.

- Kara. Yesyesyes. For some reason, I actually really liked Kara. DON'T ASK ME WHY. She just seemed the most interesting/relatable to me.

- Some of the fantasy elements. (Note the qualifier "some" *cough*.) I have to admit, Dekker wrote up some interesting fantasy stuff. From the rainbow forests to the Roush (which I always picture as owls, for some reason??) to the different fruits (WHICH I WANT PLEASE). It was really creative! I like that.

- The action. I liked all the excitement in the modern world! Perhaps it was just because I was in the mood for a thriller, but I usually found the action scenes to be pretty exciting.

Not So Lovely Things:

- The violence. I NEVER thought this would be an issue for me...BUT GUYS. This book made me squirm a lot. I'm not very sensitive to violence normally--so long as it isn't overly descriptive. But the stuff in this book had me over in the corner gagging. All the descriptions of the bats eating humans alive and everything?? *shudders* And every time someone got hurt, blood was going everywhere. NO THANK YOU. I had a really hard time stomaching all the violence in this book.

- The fantasy world. URGH. I wasn't that much of a fan, honestly. Some of the fantasy elements were cool, but I wasn't overly interested in the world overall. It just seemed boring to me, and I was tempted to skim over those chapters.

- The characters. *laughs uncertainly* Oh boy...with the exception of Kara and (maybe) Monique, I really didn't have an emotional attachment to any of the characters. Thomas was okay (though he annoyed me at times), but Rachelle? She was downright AGGRAVATING. And the romance between her and Thomas = ugh. I just...didn't like either of them that much, and putting them together makes them worse. :P

- The overall "feel" of the book. I don't know how to describe this, but I just didn't like the overall "feel" of the novel. It was weird (but not in the way I liked), disturbing, but also boring? I DON'T KNOW. Some books I just click with and some I don't.

Overall? I'm not exactly dying for more Dekker books. BUT that doesn't mean I won't be giving them another try. After all, he's written plenty of them to try out. ;) And maybe I'll enjoy his books that have less fantasy stuff in them. Surprisingly, I didn't like the fantasy aspect all that much.

3 stars
Profile Image for Angela R. Watts.
Author 28 books195 followers
February 2, 2017
This book was absolutely amazing. It made me laugh, made me mad, surprised me, got me thinking, and wonderfully showed a side of Elyon that I really needed in my life lately. Jaw-dropping book.
Profile Image for Charles.
70 reviews10 followers
May 27, 2008
Few books have such an immersive world that you actually feel like you're living in it when you read it. Although this is true about the first book in the ring trilogy (being Black) by Ted Dekker, the book has some major flaws.

Characters sometimes seem unrealistic and do absurd things for seemingly no apparent reason. I am constantly reminded of this by the stupid comments that the main character constantly throws out in serious conversations. Such as "If they don't help us we should nuke them," perfectly logical :(

I've read other pieces by Ted Dekker (House and Saint) and they have had half way decent writing and amazing plots. Overall his books have been extremely well put together, or so I thought. You can tell that Black was written early on in his career. The writing is really not that great but the plot does still hold up amazingly well. I'm going to call this the "Harry Potter Syndrome" because JK Rowling's series is very well put together, but terribly written.

Also the theology in this book seems to be kinda wack. I know from being a Christian that God loves us, but Ted Dekker's portrayal of God randomly hugging people and telling them how much He loves them dosen't seem like the greatest way to present God. I know he loves us, but he does more then just give us hugs and say nice things to us. Last time I checked the bible, God did a lot more then just say "I love you" which seems to practically be the only thing that ever comes out of his mouth. Some actual wisdom might be nice for a change.

I'll also mention that the last third of the book picked up an insane amount and a large portion of things were left unexplained. It seemed like the author went "Hhhhmmmm, I don't feel like writing this anymore so I'm just going to skip all the detailed explanations I've been giving so far and sum up the novel in ten pages."

Despite my ranting and raving complaints the book is amazing and plain simple good fun. I think Ted Dekker should have spent more time developing this or maybe started this series down the road after writing a few other stories. It's a shame they were written as badly as they are considering the plot line's amazing twists and turns. O well, I'm looking forward to the sequel Red and Ted Dekker has ounce again proved that there is a reason why his name hovers above other modern day authors.

Take a star off is you don't enjoy fiction (this novel is very fictiony I guess) and add a star if you like action packed suspense
Profile Image for Noel.
242 reviews142 followers
October 22, 2017
3.5 stars

I love the concept of this book. It’s one of the most unique books I’ve read in awhile. But it was not without faults. The characterization was kinda bad in the beginning, sometimes the writing was a little eye-rolly, the situations a little too convenient. Despite the faults, I just couldn’t put it down. In fact, I started on the second book immediately after finishing (which is something I almost never do).
Profile Image for Jerry.
4,631 reviews56 followers
April 2, 2020
I first read this all the way back in 2006, and it still holds up today. An exciting, fantastical thrill ride that grips you, this is a wonderful book. Even though I've read them before, I can't wait to try Red and White again!
Profile Image for Bill.
614 reviews12 followers
January 24, 2010
Ted Dekker is supposed to be a pretty good writer. I would not assent to that proposition based on this book. Based on the high ratings and good reviews of this work on Amazon.com, I had hoped this would be a good introduction to the author and a fun, but challenging, read. I could barely finish it.

The one thing Mr. Dekker does well here is create two distinct worlds and keep the protagonist and the reader wondering which one is real. Is it the world that seems to be our own, with all of its wars, disease and crime? Or is it the land the protagonist visits when he is sleeping (or in a coma), where evil is decidedly black and good is innocent and naive?

The problem is that I don't care. The fantasy world is not rich enough and things are too black and white. The allegory is both too obvious and too dense to penetrate. I'm not sure what the author is trying to show. Events in the real world are either too coincidental or too dependent on an almost omniscient and omnipotent antagonist. No one has that kind of power and insight. And the protagonist is too laid back for a novel. Things just happen to him, even when he's trying to be a bit assertive. I made it all the way to the end of the book, looking for something to really happen or be explained. It never was. And I don't care enough about it to pick up the other two books and spend the hours needed to read them.
Profile Image for Sarah Grace Grzy.
629 reviews826 followers
April 27, 2019
W.o.w. I don't think mere words can actually encompass my thoughts about this series, but I will do my best.

This isn't the type of book I usually read, but, at the insistence of several friends, I decided to give this series a shot. A strangely gripping combination of sci-fi, thriller, and fantasy, The Circle series is unlike anything I've ever read, and, I would guess, unparalleled in its genre. (Whatever genre that is.)

First off, any expectations you may have when you start this book, just throw them out of the window right here and now. Black completely turned my expectations on their head, and not completely in a good way. It was just so different from what I expected that I struggled a bit. Certain elements were so bizarre they were too bizarre\creepy for me.

That being said, I was too far into the story to just put it down. Thomas is such an incredibly unique character. He's so very human, which is what I think makes him so fabulous. I also loved Kara. I could definitely relate to some of her sisterliness.

The plot . . . what do I even say? The premise of this book is so unique and unusual, it gripped my attention right away. Dekker's writing style is also very unique and captivating and definitely fits well with the story.

Altogether, while I wasn't a fan of certain elements of this book, I did enjoy it overall. One can't deny the brilliance that this book is!
Profile Image for Micaiah.
155 reviews
January 29, 2019
Ted Dekker's Black is mind-bendingly brilliant.

I always say Dekker is a writing genius - which isn't something I think often. He weaves messages into his thrillers, adds suspense to every page, creates villains you despise and characters you can get frustrated with and yet root for simultaneously. And honestly? What blows me away are his plots. Consistently, they leave me wide-eyed, flipping pages in emotional angst (late into the night, if I can).

BUT BLACK IS SO. DARN. GOOD. Full of suspense, wonder, creativity, realism, dread (the good kind), believable characters, a page-turning plot, gripping writing… It’s stocked with the stuff that makes Mr. Dekker a bestseller. This is some of his best.

I’ve read Black twice now - the first, a few years ago. And I liked it quite a bit. Enough to give it four uncertain-stars and not reallyyy think twice about it. But coming back to it, rereading it, has left me with a whole new appreciation for Dekker’s work. One word description: Incredible. I don’t hesitate to give this gem 4.5 stars now. (Feel free to have a chuckle at my expense.)

What I liked:

Every character is fully capable of leaping off the page and walking around in everyday life. // There are character arcs - not so much as in other books by other authors, because that doesn’t seem to be Dekker’s forte/writing style, but realistic, definitely believable (fictional) humans that make decisions like realistic, definitely believable (real life) humans. Especially Thomas Hunter, your casual barista and failed novelist-turned-world-hero. (And not just one world - two starkly different and yet interwoven worlds.) Thomas is engaging. He’s funny. And his courage and guts are sometimes astounding and laugh-worthy. The villain is disturbing enough to make you blanch. Kara and Monique are just the right kind of heroines I like to read about. And the plethora of other fictional people is basically as realistic as those previously mentioned.

The world-building. // So we have two worlds, which I mentioned above. Two different realities. Interwoven. Somehow unique and yet tied together. It’s massively creative and mind-bending. Dekker’s skill at world building is to be commended. It’s detailed and yet not drowning in details, colorful and interspersed. Talking white bats and trees made in color and lakes you can breathe in no longer seem like oddities. At least in the novel. It’s so vivid and cool and JUST. I CAN’T GET ENOUGH.

The plot. // Need I say more? The plot is full-blown suspense, breathtaking, eye-widening action and intensity on pretty much every page.

The writing style. // Engaging, witty, realistic, and honestly, laugh-out-loud funny when called for.

Elyon. // Beautiful beautifulness! I can’t say that enough! The author’s take on God is so unique and genuine and BRILLIANT (I think I’ve used that word quite a bit...). It gives you a new perspective on Jesus, and I loved that. So much. It touches my heart in a way most books can’t.


What I didn’t like:

IT GETS KINDA VIOLENT. // And there isn’t a ton of violence. But it is there and some of it is bloody enough that I cringe thinking about it even now. It isn’t detailed, but you get the picture quite clearly. (Examples: gun shots, broken bones, a crucified man who’s badly disfigured, characters being nearly eaten alive by creatures, etc.) Again, it’s there, but it’s interspersed - and I enjoyed the book immensely despite all that!

It’s just...different. // This isn’t even really a negative. But besides saying Dekker is a writing genius, I also tell people he’s an acquired taste. His stories are mind-bending, and yes, brilliant, but not everyone is going to like them - and even some of his that I’ve read, while I’ve always been at least somewhat enraptured in the book, have been strange or frustrating enough that I took a step back from his novels for a bit. But now I’m back, and loving them more than ever, so…

OVERALL, pick this up! Give it a try! It’s probably my highest recommended Dekker book to date, and the one I would recommend the most for readers who’ve never devoured a TD book before - because, trust me, you WILL BE devouring this one.
Profile Image for J.S. Bailey.
Author 22 books227 followers
January 31, 2013
More epic awesomeness from Dekker. Since this novel ended on a cliffhanger, I do believe that I will be purchasing the next book in the series very soon; else I might go mad with anticipation!

(Update 1/31/2013)

Slowly closes book. Wipes sweat from brow. Pauses briefly to reflect upon the meaning of life. Reaches for recently-acquired copy of Red.

I'm glad that I decided to reread this before picking up Red because there is soooooo much I forgot about!

Like this little snippet from Thomas's dive into the lake:

The water forced his eyes open and new images filled his mind. His mother, crying. The images came faster now. Pictures of his life. A dark, terrible nature. A red-faced man was spitting obscenities with a long tongue that kept flashing from his gaping mouth like a snake's. Each time the tongue touched another person, they crumpled to the floor in a pile of bones. It was his face he saw. Memories of lives dead and gone, but here now and dying still.

And he knew then that he had entered his own soul.

I think this passage bore a little more significance to me this time around since I recently had a similar awakening...but we won't talk about that here. :)
3 reviews5 followers
January 28, 2008
I would highly recommend this book to anyone I know. This was written about the Chronicles of Narnia on wikipedia.org but applies to the Color Trilogy as well: "The series contains many allusions to traditional Christian ideas,... however, the books can also be read purely for their adventure, colour, and richness of ideas."
Even if you are not a Christian, I believe you will enjoy this book because it IS a metaphor. In fact, even as a Christian, I didn't understand what the metaphor was until the end of the book! There is no preaching, if you have a Biblical world-view you will just have a deeper appreciation for the story and Dekker's amazing writing.
Although I have been a Christian my entire life and have read the Bible cover to cover, I was surprised when I finally understood the plot-line of this book. I actually wept as I understood Christian truths in a fresh and impactful way.
Profile Image for Jill Williamson.
Author 55 books1,428 followers
November 25, 2008
Someone is shooting at Thomas Hunter. He runs for his life—zig-zagging, hiding, and executing some awesome martial arts—as men chase him through the streets of Denver. But when a silent bullet grazes his head, his world goes black and he wakes up somewhere else.

In darkness. He doesn’t know where he is. Hideous bats chase him, clawing at him until he loses consciousness again and wakes up back in Denver, in an alley. He manages to get to his sister’s apartment, clean himself up, and lies down on the couch.

Only to wake up in the strange place again. He finds his way out of the scary, dark place and into a perfect land, somewhere in the distant future. He meets kind people who embrace him, a beautiful woman, and embarks on an amazing adventure.

But still, every time he falls asleep in one world, he wakes up in the other. And as the stories weave together, Thomas discovers that the past, and his life in Denver, was destroyed by a deadly virus. He wakes in Denver and enlists the help of his very skeptical sister. The two set off to save the world, with Thomas traveling back and forth looking for clues and trying to convince everyone of his sanity.

Woo! What an amazing book. From page one, Black, by Ted Dekker, captivates, taking the reader on a journey of cunning wonder. It’s no surprise of this trilogy is such a huge success. The book ends on a cliffhanger, leaving the reader one his own adventure: off to buy book two. Nice job!

Highly Recommended.
Profile Image for Mike (the Paladin).
3,145 reviews1,806 followers
March 22, 2012
I tried to read this book once before, and just couldn't get into it. I put it down, didn't try to review it, didn't comment, I just hadn't gotten into it. BUT, I have friend to whom this is an important book, so I set out to read it again. My take on it is that it could have been a much better book than it is.

Throughout this book I'd say that my estimation of it's rating moved from 2 to 4 stars. It took me FOREVER to care about the characters. I know I should have. I know I was meant to...but it just rambled on. the set up on the 2 worlds within which the action takes place just seemed to stumble along and worse, at times was silly.

In the end there were parts that really started to catch my interest and draw me in. They were a sort of come and go affair and I wish the book had been done better, still, I plan to find Red and follow the series. In the end I split the difference between very good and poor and went with 3 stars. be aware that it does start (in my opinion) slowly.

Okay below there will be a couple of minor spoilers, so if you don't want to find out anything don't read beyond the line. I don't plan to spill a lot, but to discuss why I rate the book as I do I need to reference a couple of things in the book.

I am by the way a Christian and I know this is a much loved book among many Christians. I have great concerns with it, and wish it could have been better. I hope the series gets better.
Profile Image for Kris.
1,265 reviews169 followers
November 28, 2022
Okay, you guys. I really wanted to like this one. Friends had recommended it to me. It's one of Dekker's most popular series. I should be the right audience for this. The fictional version of Christian-living books? Left Behind-light? It's all more drama than scripture, but I'm here for the drama! I missed the Ted Dekker train when I was younger, and I was ready to take the plunge.

Aaand sadly, it was a hard landing. I couldn't buy into it. From the very beginning I wasn't invested in the premise. I don't know if it was the setting, the characters, the plot, or his writing voice that didn't connect. But nothing felt... real to me. It wasn't immersive. It wasn't exciting. It felt plain and rudimentary. But Dekker puts down so much on the page, I kept telling myself there had to be something... worthwhile?

I couldn't help but wonder if I would have enjoyed this in my younger teenage years. Have I grown to be a curmudgeon in my 20's? Have I read too many books to enjoy fun, light entertainment such as this? But no, I think simply, dear reader, it isn't very good.

I could definitely feel the The Chronicles of Narnia influences throughout this work. I just wanted to be reading Narnia instead.
Profile Image for Ariannha .
989 reviews
August 3, 2020
“El mal y el bien residen en el corazón, no en árboles y agua.”

Descubrí al autor a través del libro Blink y me encantó su narrativa y estilo. Comencé a leer esta Serie (que inicialmente eran 3 y maravillosamente después nos encontramos con Verde, el cuarto que la completa) con muchísimas expectativas, y su primera entrega no me defraudó.

“Negro: El nacimiento del Mal” nos sitúa en una noche de invierno en EE.UU donde Tom Hunter tratando de escapar de un grupo de hombres que lo quieren matar sin razón aparente, se cae y golpea la cabeza contra una roca perdiendo el conocimiento, al volver en si, ya no se encuentra en el callejón, sino en el ''bosque colorido' con seres sumamente extraños: murciélagos que hablan, leones blancos, arboles brillantes, entre otros… y no, no entró en Narnia.

Pasado o futuro, diferentes realidades o simplemente sueños... Thomas no sabe qué creer, en qué versión confiar. Ambos mundos se sienten reales, ambos mundos son producto de sus sueños. Dos mundos que comparten una historia, en el que está por suceder algo bastante catastrófico. Y ambos dependen de un solo hombre.

“Negro”, es una historia diferente por donde se la mire, narrada en dos tiempos/realidades que te hacen dudar de cuál es el/la verdadero(a), y hasta donde juzgas en cada momento la cordura de nuestro protagonista.
Es un libro que te hace detenerte y reflexionar, sobre las fuerzas del bien y el mal (no importa de qué religión hablemos). La trama engancha por completo, y aunque quedan muchas cosas que explicar... (se que debo esperar a leerlos demás libros de la saga) es una historia que lo tiene todo: descripciones maravillosas, personajes fantásticos y muy bien desarrollados, y subtramas interesantes.

Dekker tiene una habilidad genial para escribir escenas de acción y suspenso espectaculares, ya desde las primeras páginas, te deja en vilo.

“Negro” es un libro 100% recomendado, pero no para todo tipo de público. Sin embargo si puedes leerlo, analizarlo y entenderlo más allá de una religión, es una novela apasionante y sumamente adictiva.

“Porque el mal proporciona una alternativa a su creación [...] Y porque sin él no podría haber amor.”
Profile Image for Bill.
921 reviews298 followers
August 6, 2013
Black has been on my to-read list for almost as long as I have been on Goodreads.

A couple of weeks ago, totally out of the blue, my girlfriend asked me about the series and if I had read it. She had somehow stumbled across it, which is odd because genres of the fantastic aren't usually her thing (although I have been feeding her some of Stephen King's greats, and she's loved them, so I guess all bets are off now).

Anyways, I told her I hadn't read it but it had been on my list for years. She loaded it onto her Kindle and burned through it. Then she downloaded the next two and burned through them.

I told a colleague about this, and so he got Black and also burned through it.

Okay, I was getting excited and moved this way up to my next-to-read.

I started reading it and was really digging it. I've now finished it, and while I really enjoyed the book and how the story was alternating between our world and Thomas' dream world (and wondering which was really the dream world!), I will not be continuing the series.

Why? Well, although the GF did enjoy the whole series, she did show signs of tiring through the second book. Too many battles, she said. And I hate reading battles. And, my colleague couldn't take Thomas' crying any more in the third book, and did not finish it.
These are two people's opinions who I greatly value and respect, and their warnings are good enough for me. Besides, I've yet to find any series, no matter how riveting, that does not become long in the tooth after a thousand pages.

So, not much of a review on the content, eh? Okay, take this: this is a very well done novel. Dekker's pacing is impeccable and it makes for a lightning fast read. He keeps the unknown dangling in front of you and this keeps leading you headlong through the pages. Definitely approaching five star worthiness, but I am frustrated that this is a story that needs another two books to tell it. Heck, I loved The Hunger Games, but that would have been even better if she had tidied things up in book two. So you know where I'm coming from here.

One last gripe: the Kindle edition had issues with the font occasionally morphing to a squashed format that had me wondering if I was having a stroke.
Not cool.
Profile Image for Jenny Jo Weir.
1,545 reviews77 followers
December 31, 2021
Wow! I don't know where to start. There is so much going on in this book, yet it's actually simple and easy to follow along. It goes through two worlds, time warps and different characters all while being one continuous flawless story. The traveling between worlds makes sense the way Dekker writes it and I'm looking forward to continuing this journey.
Profile Image for Amanda.
246 reviews
April 16, 2012
This book was part of a survey class and as such, I was looking forward to it. I've liked reading books from different genres and discovering the different types of appeals they have for their selected audience and myself. This book was my least favorite of the entire class.

To begin with, the story's premise slowly introduced and never fully explained. Tom is waking up in two different worlds in two separate times; ours and an Eden-like place in the future which is, for all intents and purposes, perfect. No real reason behind this is given, though it's hinted that Elyon (God) has some kind of purpose for this. Changes are mirrored between the worlds and it falls to Tom to prevent the destruction of both by learning about and interacting with both worlds.

The books writing was a huge problem for me. The story and pacing of the book are EXTREMELY slow and this made it difficult for me to get caught up in the action when it does happen. All of the characters in this story felt really one-dimensional and I didn't really empathize with the lead, much less anyone else. The dialogue also feels horribly stilted/cheesy at times, making it hard for me to really sink into the story. This one-dimensionality holds true with other plot concepts like the "Great Romance"; I understand it's importance but there's no description of its appeal (and why I as a reader should desire it) and I don't really care about it. The premise is just really frustrating since NO ONE in either world believes Tom for the majority of the book until something horrible happens. Meanwhile, all Tom does is lament that one believes him despite his proof and he's forced to wait until ALL those around him see the error of their ways. Not a lot happens in this book in terms of larger plot development and combined with the lack of character development, the story falls flat.

The major flaw of the book, though, is its failure to successfully mix genres. Instead of sticking to one, Dekker attempts to mix his Christian allegory with romance, science-fiction, and bio-thriller. He succeeds with none and the story feels like one giant mess. The book also ends in a cliffhanger, without any of the major plot points or questioned resolved. While series books should have larger arcs, individual titles require that at least part of the stand-alone have some resolution; this didn't have enough for me.

I can understand why this book has such a strong appeal; it reflects a strong Christian worldview and allows the reader to engage in a story that possesses the same outlook and framework they do. Dekker does a good job of displaying the relationship between God and man and the love and communication that can exist between them when is man is open to it. Overall, the story attempts to explain the Fall to modern audience and how man has a chance to be redeemed if we can remember God and hold onto Him.
Profile Image for Steven.
1,052 reviews383 followers
June 25, 2013
The Circle series is a great read. For a religious writer, he's not preachy. Love the fantasy world, love the main characters, and love how long the series is as ONE big story that intertwines with his other book series.

Read them all.
Profile Image for Meli.
613 reviews390 followers
January 11, 2016
Si bien el libro maneja conceptos geniales y me agrada el estilo del autor, la historia se volvió demasiado reiterativa y me estanqué de una forma horrible. No poder avanzar con este y que sea una serie, no me entusiasma a concluirlo. Probablemente sea forzarme a terminarlo para nada, ya que dudo que la historia termine en este tomo, y no sé si quiero leer los demás libros cuando ni siquiera me siento capaz de leer este hasta el final.
De momento, lo abandono.
Profile Image for Adam.
92 reviews3 followers
July 29, 2011
I've been trying to think about what I could say about this book. And I know that's a horrible way to start off a review. I also think that it hits at the core of what could be said. Do I tell you, that as a Christian, I actually dislike a great deal of Christian books? That even though I did like this book -- that I really don't mind this series too terribly much -- that it does nothing to change my opinion of the state of Christian publishing. Should I tell you that while Ted Dekker holds true to his renown as a action-packed best-selling adrena-author persona and that this same persona undermines a potentially epic story? And that despite all of that, I'm tearing through these books like a mad man.

The originality of the story -- well, to be more precise -- the concept of the trilogy is what kept me going. I had an idea of what Dekker intended, the direction he was headed, but there were parts that had me stop to think; but then of course my instincts were right. I tried to keep my expectations even keeled on this read. I knew it wasn't going to be that great but enough people who's opinions matter had enjoyed it so it couldn't be that horrible. And rather it come through as a three star, Dekker's tale rose a rank if only for his ability to describe what life before sin must have been like. The use of the water works out cleverly.

I wasn't so keen on Thomas, though. Albeit, this is more of a problem I find at the root of most Christian fiction. He's a decent character for best-selling adrena-thrillers. But what I don't understand is how these protagonists who don't believe in God come waltzing onto the scene embued with any number of supernatural gifts and yet they lack any real flaws. I don't understand how Thomas can be given the inkling of a backstory in which he's clearly made a hard detour away from God, yet he can so casually put all that aside to believe in Elyon. It's weird how he jumps between realities, is so certain God is real in one and doubting in the other, and then before you know it -- he's reconciled his belief with no more than a shrug. There's no inner turmoil over what to believe, no sudden epiphany. The only hint of promise is Thomas's realization that he may have died and come back to life. But he doesn't want to think about it. He's got to save the world. There's no time to struggle. He's the hero. He accepts whatever's put in front of him and saves the day. Which is good, because I might have slowly my adrenaline induced page turning. I might have had time to process something beyond a thrill. I might have even waited to pick up the next book (had the series not been given to me as a gift). And might I ask when a trilogy came to mean that the story screeches to an abrupt halt until the next book comes out? Sorry.

I really did enjoy this book. I'm currently reading "White." I have a lot to decry about the books, but it really has more to due with the style and its systemic lack of substance. But to his credit, Dekker does a great deal with what substance there is.
Profile Image for Jonathan Terrington.
593 reviews559 followers
October 7, 2011
This simple looking cover and basic title was my introduction to the world of Ted Dekker. I picked it up off the shelf of my school library and brought it along with me on an excursion. Without any idea of the powerful wow factor of this novel I began reading and would not have put the book down had it of been for the fact that the bus had to stop and let us out.

Black is the story of a man caught between two worlds. When he dreams in our everyday world he wakes in another world of fantasy apparently set years in the alternate future. In this alternate world evil exists only in the form of the black forest and the evil bats which lurk there. The citizens of the land have been warned not to venture into the forest and eat from its fruit. Sound familiar? Gradually you become aware that this other world is an allegorical land that mirrors Biblical story.

Now I'm sure some people would think that including Christian themes into a story lessens the impact of the novel. I am sure for some they'd see this as a way for Christians to throw in their own beliefs. The irony of course being that I'm certain those same people don't question the beliefs thrown into novels by other writers. The truth is every writer has a set of beliefs as a part of humanity and those beliefs will impact his writing. In Black the Christian themes are simply more prevalent than in other novels. The same can be seen in the Narnia tales. Yet those who are set against such beliefs or see such beliefs as structurally weakening don't have to worry. Like any good writer Ted Dekker creates a tale that can read two ways. The first is as a solid thriller adventure and the second is as an allegory.

And when I say thriller I mean thriller. These books are loaded with suspense and action and so many interweaving threads. Grand themes such as the conflict between good and evil are explored along with romance, gunfights, fistfights, fantasy adventure, prophesy and a race against the clock. I wrote earlier that The Scarlet Pimpernel is a novel loaded with everything. Here is a novel to rival it. Well almost...

Black is the beginning of one of the strongest series or should I say trilogies that I have read. The storyline is edgy, tense and not at all soft. Some may find the first book starts slow or that the beginning is too unbelievable however I did not find this to be the case. This is a solid, hard hitting read that reads almost like a film. Okay so maybe I'm a little melodramatic but hopefully you get the point.

Before I end this let me give a brief synopsis of the brilliant idea that is the novel: 'Black'. Thomas Hunter is a man who's lived his whole life on the edge and as afore mentioned finds himself living on a different edge after a bullet clips his head. Basically he ends up caught between two worlds - when he sleeps in one he wakes in the other. And as a result of this new ability the normal world becomes under threat of a new supervirus which Thomas must act to stop. All of this becomes a hunt for a cure against the clock and across multiple worlds. Incredibly fascinating stuff really...
Profile Image for Kasia.
398 reviews272 followers
October 10, 2011
Ted Dekker is a magician when it comes to creating a book this astounding, this addictive, and this breathtaking. It held a strong grip on me and has left me spellbound from the beginning to the very end. There is no relief at the last page; instead it left me begging for more. The story ends on a high note and only promises a more delectable part 2 that I can't wait to read.

The book starts innocently enough; Thomas is on his way back home in Denver when a shooting brings him down into another reality. A bullet that grazes his head opens a portal to an alternate world, more magical and enticing than his ours has ever been. This prohibits him from sleeping when he goes to bed; instead he wakes up in a black forest inhabited by black bats with strong wings and with magic water that would give him some unforeseen knowledge and power. It seems to mirror his own world in more mysterious ways that he can imagine. A great plague is about to be unleashed and he must use his wild dreams to find a solution and salvation on Earth, his mother planet and all its unaware inhabitants. Unable to choose which world is really real, the lush green forests with and opposite black side or the threat of biological warfare that is somehow timed to him, Thomas must suspend his entire knowledge of science and reality and swim into an unknown world that somehow knows him.

What is real and what is fiction, who amongst the characters is God and who is really evil? Ted Dekker takes an enormous plunge with this novel and delivers something that is beyond reading, this book shook me to the core and left me panting for more, wonderful, strong and fast and well thought out. The Circle trilogy starts of strong, with the creatures of the black forest and the inhabitants of the colored ones that only seem to exist in dreams, but they know about life and death to the point where Thomas starts to doubt humanity and it's existence, is it all a dream? Part of the book seems like folklore and others are very depend on those imaginary parts, this tale is a fantastic ride for those who love to read.

Very profound and thought invoking this book is a force greater than I can describe, it simply has to be experienced! Ted Dekker should be on top of everyone's list, his books reach into the subconscious lever and bring out the questions and fears that force us to look deep into the limits of our minds and space; it forces us to acknowledge the infinite possibilities of what life really is all about. This book is the first chapter in a whole set of tales so out of this world that they are almost indescribable. This is what reading is all about, juicy stories with non-stop adrenaline pumped action.
Profile Image for Josen.
293 reviews10 followers
July 31, 2018
3.75……….The first thing I liked about this book is that its storyline was something I’d never read before. That, alone, bumps it up a notch. You have a young man, Thomas Hunter, who is living with his sister and just kind of trudging along in life. The book starts with him being chased by thugs in Denver (that he owes money to), he gets shot, falls into a trash heap and gets left for dead. When he wakes up, he finds himself in another……world? Place? Reality? Not sure at first. He thinks he’s dreaming and in this dream he is dressed differently and is surrounded by giant black bats in a black forest. On the other side of the lake the trees are colorful and look almost fake, bearing fruit he’s never seen before. Once he realizes the black bats are the bad guys, he runs across the bridge to the colorful forest. There he comes across white winged creatures that take him to the village and help him. At this point Thomas is thoroughly confused and convinced it can’t be real. As the story goes on, each time he falls asleep, he wakes up in the other reality, either Denver or the fantastical forests. Whenever he wakes up in one reality, he thinks the other one is a dream because he can’t distinguish which one is his real life. It also turns out that the events that happen in each reality affects the other. In both, world threatening events occur and it’s interesting to see how they intertwine.

I’ve always wanted to read Dekker even though I didn’t really know any of his books. I only knew like his bio on GR says, his books have “incredible confrontations between good and evil.” It wasn’t until a friend pointed out to me that he was a Christian writer. Reading this book I could definitely see that now. You’re practically hit over the head with the symbolism of God and heaven. I’m fine with that but I think I was just surprised by it.

Beyond that, I found this book to be an easy read. It’s definitely plot driven which made for some excitement and sets a good pace. I also liked the fact that for a while you start to question yourself, which of those dreams ARE real? This book is one of four of the Circle Series. You have Black, White, Red and Green. The series does have an order to them but apparently you can either start or end the series with Book Zero, Green. I thought that was a pretty cool concept. Because of that and the absolute cliffhanger at the end, I will definitely continue the circle.
Profile Image for Jamie.
1,390 reviews1,103 followers
May 1, 2018
What would happen if you had a dream that informed you the world was going to end? Or what if you lived in a world after the world we know ended but you were reliving those historical times in your dreams. What if you didn't know which was the dream and which was real? Or are both real? Time0-travel? Alternate dimension? An afterlife? Not only does our main character Tom have to question these things but so do we as the observant readers! The possibilities raced through me faster than I could devour this. And the closer to the end of the book, the more intense it all grows! I got really into this book. Although I am as huge a fan of the government/science parts. Those pulled me from the fantastic questioning of things. A mix of science, fantasy with special fruit and mater and talking bats and a pending doom! It is quite a ride! Must read the next book NOW kind of ending . Have book 2 ready to go!
Profile Image for Michelle Hankes.
Author 3 books32 followers
June 10, 2010
This book is tough for me to write about. There are elements I liked and elements I didn't. His writing style is easy to engage with and is compelling, but it is the first half-fantasy, half-mainstream fiction I've ever read.

I don't really know what to say.

Yes. I do.

This book is intriguing because Ted Dekker has taken an idea and catapulted it into a whole other spectrum of writing. I can see why he is so well loved and has done so well.

The story is about a man who finds himself living in two worlds - the "real" world (aka - the mainstream fiction writing) and a "dream" world (aka - definitely fantasy genre). He passes back and forth between these two worlds, never knowing which one is the real one, but the author has a definite agenda in where he wants to go with his writing.

This is a Christian Fiction book and at first look, I would never have known. However, as the book progresses, the connection to Christianity becomes increasingly clear and what Dekker feels he wants the message of this book to convey.

This book is also part of a four-part Circle series - four books that begin and end with the same book. You can read any one of them and go around the circle and they will end where it began. I have not tried this, although I do have the next in line - Red - and I am undecided if I would like to go the circular distance. There was enough about the way the fantasy particulars were written that did not keep me interested to make me unsure if I am willing to venture into the next one.

We'll have to see.
Profile Image for Martha.
424 reviews2 followers
July 15, 2011
I've listed this as Christian fiction, but it really doesn't fall in that category. I'll give this some thought and maybe come up with a new shelf. I did enjoy this book and would have given it 4 stars except for some parts that I found a bit boring and a little ridiculous ... even for this type of story. The pseudo Garden of Eden was a bit hard to take at times ... at least for me. At one point I though these must be the bad guys because they are just too good to be true. Since this is the first in a trilogy, I'm reserving judgement for the time being. I did not care for his rendering of God. Must be my Baptist upbringing. Anyway, enough of that. The story was exciting and the last 100 pages (1/4 of the book) kept me awake most of the night. The story begins with Tom being chased and shot at. His head is grazed by a bullet and he loses conciousness. When he comes to he is in a totally different reality. Each time he falls asleep or loses conciousness, he wakes up in the other place to the point that he doesn't know which reality is real and which is a dream. It is also a "world is coming to an end" story and Tom is the only one who knows and he has to convince others. This part of the story is very exciting and well written. It has a great cliff-hanger ending and I could start the next book right now. A solid 3.5 stars.
Profile Image for Andy.
2,360 reviews186 followers
May 22, 2019
Black is a very strange story. The circular logic that pervades the narrative is quite fascinating yet confusing simultaneously. Thomas Hunter is shot in one world, only to wake up in another where a great evil is contained. This second world is chronologically past the first world. As Thomas takes information he learns in the second world to the first world, different threats awaken in both.

This was a really cool idea, but also a very confusing idea. I am quite fascinated with the back and forth of Thomas's decisions and the implications each one has. However, at times it was boring to hear Thomas explain what was happening to the inhabitants of each world multiple times. The timing was a bit off as well, especially in the beginning.

Overall, a very interesting premise and hopefully I can find time to finish the rest of the series.
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