Book Review: “Black” by Ted Dekker

Cover of "Black" by Ted Dekker.
Cover of “Black” by Ted Dekker.

I’m back with another book review, and this time I’m reviewing “Black” by Ted Dekker! Yes, I’m finally reading this book and the rest of the series it comes from, “The Circle.” It’s been on my to-read list for a long time, and it’s about time I finally read and reviewed these books. Expect reviews for the next three books, “Red,” “White” and “Green,” to come during the next few weeks! Here’s the summary so we know what “Black” is about:

“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.”

Content Warning:

This book contains mentions of Biblical elements throughout the story and worldbuilding, somewhat-graphic violence, and situations involving hostages and kidnappings. If any of this content is unsettling to you, you may want to skip reading this book.

Plot Development: 2.5 out of 5 stars

The plot itself encompasses elements from many genres. You have the protagonist travelling between a fantasy world and the real world, while trying to stop a man-made virus from being loosed on the world. Yes, you read this correctly—a manmade virus is involved in this story and serves as a major plot point. It was interesting enough to read overall, but it suffered from dragging on for so long inbetween main events. The pacing could be a lot tighter.

Worldbuilding Development: 2.5 out of 5 stars

The worldbuilding contained interesting concepts such as going between alternate worlds via sleeping and dreaming of them. I thought it was a bit slow to develop at first, but it made more sense the more I read through this book. Unfortunately, I felt that the alternate, fantasy world was not nearly as developed as I hoped, especially with how Thomas’ actions in the real world affected the fantasy world throughout the story.

As for the virus-related worldbuilding, I understand that some readers (including me) could be and/or were off-put by the concept of manmade viruses, especially considering the current pandemic. However, the thought the author put into writing how the main villains planned to use it was detailed-enough to make sense.

Character Development: 3 out of 5 stars

Despite Thomas being the main protagonist, I found his sister, Kara, to be more interesting to read. Imagine being the sister to a brother who wakes up and claims that he has all these odd dreams that somehow connect to the reality that you’re living in, and knows of top-secret knowledge before anyone else. It was really fun to read her. Unfortunately, I wish there was more of her point-of-view in this book, since she had the more interesting sections.

Thomas, the main protagonist, is both interesting and not interesting to read. I enjoyed reading the wacky adventures he got into with him travelling between worlds every time he sleeps and dreams (which is often). However, I didn’t feel him develop much as an actual character. In fact, he felt more like a plot device than a fleshed-out character.

As for his love interests Monique and Rachelle, I’ll elaborate on them more in the romance development section. As individual characters, neither of them felt very-well developed. I did like Monique more than Rachelle, but that was because Monique served more to the overall plot than Rachelle did. Neither of them were very-well developed outside of their plot relevance (their romances with Thomas is another story).

Romance Development: 1 out of 5 stars

Neither of the romances were well-developed at all. Monique, as a love interest, was very quick to fall for Thomas. When one considers that Thomas did actually-and-briefly keep her hostage, it makes the romance come off as at least a bit icky as a reader. They didn’t have many scenes together, either. I felt that their relationship felt too quick for either of them to fall for each other.

Rachelle, as a love interest, came off as very instantly-in-love with Thomas. However, Thomas’ attraction towards Rachelle was much more reluctant. I understand why for early plot reasons (he’s not used to being in the fantasy world and knowing that someone he just met is attracted to him). Later in the book, the relationship between them felt very unhealthy. Rachelle’s love for Thomas felt more obsessive and fueled by jealousy than genuine love, and Thomas going along with her in the fantasy world felt very reluctant and unwilling. This made the romance feel not romantic. I hope their relationship either gets healthier in the next two books, or the two of them just break up already.

Overall, I’m rating this book 2.5 out of 5 stars!

I think that “Black” has some good concepts, but just not a great execution. Don’t read this book for the romances, either—the plot and the worldbuilding are much more interesting.


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