Monday, May 20, 2019

Review: "Rise of the Mystics" by Ted Dekker

Rise of the Mystics continues Rachelle Matthews' story ... a story that really began with Black oh so many years ago.

Some say the great mystery of how one can live in two worlds at once died with Thomas Hunter many years ago. Still others that the gateway to that greater reality was and is only the stuff of dreams. They are all wrong. 

Rachelle Matthews, who grew up in the small town of Eden, Utah, discovered just how wrong when she dreamed and awoke in another world. There she learned that she is the 49th Mystic, the prophesied one, tasked with finding five ancient seals before powerful enemies destroy her. If Rachelle succeeds in her quest, peace will reign. If she fails, the world will forever be locked in darkness.

In The 49th Mystic, Rachelle found the first three of those five seals through great peril and mind-altering adventure. But two seals remain hidden, and the fate of both worlds hangs in the balance.

As Rachelle sits deep in a dungeon, Vlad Smith is just getting started. Thomas Hunter's world is about to be turned inside out.

So begins the final volume of high stakes in one girl's quest to find an ancient path that will save humanity. The clock is ticking; the end rushes forward. 

Ready? Set?


When I reviewed The 49th Mystic, I said that I really enjoyed the book, which, in a way, felt like a return to the Dekker of old, but I had some concerns about the theology presented in the book. That concern wasn't lessened by what I read in Rise of the Mystics, and the plot didn't feel as engaging, which made the book a bit difficult to read.

In the first book of this Beyond the Circle series, I was completely engaged in the action in Eden, Utah, and in Other Earth. When Rise of the Mystics begins, the Eden experiment has ended, and Rachelle and her father are the only survivors who factor into the book. DARPA, the organization behind Eden, still factors into this book, and Vlad is still Rachelle's nemesis, but the suspense level wasn't as high. And the portions in Other Earth didn't keep my attention at all.

Other Earth is where most of the theology is discussed, and it really feels like a retread of The 49th Mystic. The mystic Talya has Rachelle repeat what she's learned a few times, and it just feels like Dekker is trying to hit us over the head with it. Also, at one point, Talya tells Rachelle that she can always trust her heart ... which flies directly in the face of Jeremiah 17:9, but maybe Rachelle can trust her heart because she is "Inchristi"—Christ is her and is in her. And the ending of the Other Earth story certainly seems to be promoting universal reconciliation. (These are but two examples of the theology that seems "off" to me.)

I could look past some of my theological concerns in The 49th Mystic because the story was so good, but I can't do the same in Rise of the Mystics. I didn't particularly enjoy the story, which made the questionable theology stand out even more. 2 stars.

Note: This book will make zero sense if you haven't read The 49th Mystic. Also, I don't claim to be a theologian; Dekker may be closer to the truth than I believe him to be, but I would definitely say to read and examine Dekker's words carefully. Normally, I'm not so critical of the way faith is presented in fiction, but this feels like it was written specifically to teach Dekker's view of faith, God, and the gospel—a theology textbook wrapped in fiction.

Buy the book.
Read my reviews of Dekker's The 49th Mystic (3 stars), A.D. 30 Abridged (5 stars), A.D. 33 (4-1/2 stars), Green, Immanuel's Veins, Forbidden (written with Tosca Lee), and Tea with Hezbolla (written with Carl Medearis).

Ted Dekker is the award-winning and New York Times bestselling author of more than forty novels, with over 10 million copies sold worldwide. He was born in the jungles of Indonesia to missionary parents, and his upbringing as a stranger in a fascinating and sometimes frightening culture fueled his imagination. Dekker's passion is simple--to explore truth through mind-bending stories that invite readers to see the world through a different lens. His fiction has been honored with numerous awards, including two Christy Awards, two Inspy Awards, an RT Reviewers' Choice Award, and an ECPA Gold Medallion. In 2013, NPR readers nationwide put him in the Top 50 Thriller Authors of All Time. Dekker lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with his wife, Lee Ann.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Revell through the Revell Reads program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Also, some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase an item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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