Wednesday, January 8, 2014


Sovereign is the third book in The Books of Mortals, a series Ted Dekker and Tosca Lee are writing together. It began in Forbidden, and Sovereign wraps things up pretty well but leaves room for future books. (I cannot tell from this book if more will definitely be written or not.) If you have not read the first two books and think you might, don't read this review. SPOILERS from the first two books follow. Instead, start with my review of Forbidden (above).

If you are familiar with Dekker's Circle series, these books are similar. They are fantasy but hint at the modern world we know as being ancient history. This third book focuses on some different characters than the first two books did. Rom, the main character from the first book, is still in play (though others from that book have died), but we don't get into his thoughts. Instead, the story focuses on Jordin, a warrior from the second book, who took Jonathan's blood into her veins and lost her powers but supposedly gained something more, something that seems to be leaving her with the passage of time, filling her with doubt. The story also focuses on Feyn, the Sovereign of the land and the new villain of the story after the preceding Sovereign, her brother Saric, killed Jonathan and then disappeared into the wild.

Jonathan is this world's version of Jesus, in some ways. He's not exactly the same, the most notable difference being that he loves Jordin as a man to a woman while he's alive. But he does sacrifice himself at the end of the second book, and his blood has all sorts of powers, both before he dies and after.

Jordin is one of a group of dwindling believers who received Jonathan's blood in their veins after his death and call themselves Sovereigns. His blood before death gave powers such as quick reflexes and heightened eyesight, invaluable things for a warrior. His blood after death takes those powers away but seems to come with a deeper insight into life and a bit of precognition. Now, however, six years later, Jordin hangs onto her beliefs with dwindling conviction as the powerful Immortals (those who took Jonathan's blood before his death but not after) and the Dark Bloods (warrior slaves of Feyn's, completely loyal to her, fearless, and also powerful to a lesser degree than Immortals) seek the annihilation of those who call themselves Sovereigns.

When a new virus is threatened to be unleashed, one that will kill the Immortals and Dark Bloods and return the Sovereigns to the emotionless beings they were before Jonathan's blood ever touched them, Rom and Jordin know they must go into the heart of enemy territory if they hope to save their people and discover Jonathan's true purpose.

The plot and setting are a little complicated for me to reiterate here in a succinct manner that doesn't sound completely chaotic. Dekker and Lee do a much better job unwinding the details for you. This is not my favorite series of Dekker's, but it's still fascinating. I kept wondering, along with Jordin, who was wrong and who was right. I missed her superpowers along with her, and I thoroughly enjoyed her side of the story as she ventured into the unknown (I can't reveal too many spoilers!). I found it a little hard to buy into the romance at the end of the book. It seemed a bit contrived and forced. Maybe it just needed more time to develop, because I do like the result of it. And don't worry, I haven't given anything away about it in this blog.

Overall, though, the story is not a romance, at least not in the stereotypical sense, though it is a tale of a higher love. It's a dark story of doubt and living on the edge of life, wondering if you missed the point. It's a story of warriors battling an evil so terrible it takes all love and hope from your being. It's a story of death and life and what it really means to live. And it's a story of redemption, even for what seem to be the vilest of souls. Perhaps that, more than anything, separates it from most fantasy battles of good versus evil. But nobody expects Dekker, or Lee for that matter, to do things the normal way.

Ted Dekker and Tosca Lee make a good team, and I give them four stars for a fantasy story that delivers high entertainment with a deep and true message.

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