I would like to let you in on a conversation I had with a friend after I got to page 200 of this book.
Friend: so how’s the book coming up?
Me: Fine I guess.
Friend: like what’s the book really about? What’s going on in the story?
Me: Honestly I really don’t know yet.
I don’t mean to sound cheeky but at page 200 (out of 367 pages) of multiple New York Times best-selling author Ted Dekker’s Immanuel’s Veins I didn’t really have an idea of what I was into. Alright maybe I should start from there, the cons of this mind blowing novel.
Before that, the story is set in ‘ancient’ Russia in a place near the popular (at least popular in vampire fiction movies) Carpathian Mountains called Moldavia. The story starts off with two warriors (Alek and Toma) under the authority of Her Majesty, Empress of Russia, Catherine the Great, sent out on a mission to protect the estate of the Cantemir Family and the inhabitants. On their way to the Cantemir estate, they meet a mysterious old man with a black bird perched on his shoulder warning them of an approaching evil. The warriors are cynical about the warning, shrug about it and move on. The main drama starts at the Cantemir castle when evil appears in a form so alluring that one of them finally embraced.
Now the cons. Ted Dekker is known for imagery that could get one’s blood frozen which can be a good thing when writing the suspense genre but my question as I read through the pages of Immanuel’s Veins is ‘How far is too far?’. I’m a Youth/ Teenage Church co-coordinator and personally, I’m very open with my media (i.e. the music, movies and books I’m into) with my youth group but the ‘sexual’ imagery in Immanuel’s Veins got me thinking ‘would I really be bold to give this to anyone in my youth group’. Now don’t get me wrong, the theme (which was in a part ‘deception’) was well portrayed but do the readers’ imaginations really have to be dragged in the mud?
On to the next, the setting of the novel is meant to be of a much archaic one but little is said to reflect that leaving the readers to wonder if this is a typical allegory or a fantasy. At the end we find out it is none of that.
Another pitfall of this book the first person view in which it is partly written. It sort of drags the story in a way and the reader is faced with a sort of boredom in no time. Ted Dekker should leave writing in the first person view for authors like Angela Hunt and Francine Rivers who know how to carry out this art pretty well.
I personally love how Ted Dekker gives us a new perspective on vampires (though the word ‘vampire’ isn’t mentioned once through the novel) with all the jumbo jumble fiction of the lifestyle and origin of vampires around. Series like the popular Twilight would come to mind. Ted Dekker does a good job stating a theological basis which sounds correct of this ‘creatures of the night’ as he refers to them. I tell you, you will be captivated.
With all this said, one of the pros is that the major theme explored in the novel which is the path of redemption is worth looking into. By the time you turn the last page, you would be reviewing your redemption story and if you don’t have one might just be falling on your knees saying the sinner’s prayer to start one.
As I read the last pages of Immanuel’s Veins some deep questions about my faith started spurring to the surface of my heart: Why did it have to be his blood? Did Christ go through all this just to give us a religion?
Not only old fans of Ted Dekker would want this in their hands. There are new categories of lovers. Lovers of the Romance genre, lovers of Vampire stories, lovers of sword blazing fiction in the likes of the mask of Zoro, and new fans searching for ‘at the edge of you seat’ suspense, embrace this new addition to the Dekker thriller collection cause beyond the tunnel of cons and pros mentioned above you would find a light shining bright on a fountain filled with blood drawn from Immanuel’s Veins.