Friday, February 28, 2014

Eyes Wide Open

Ted Dekker has a seemingly endless stash of ideas. In Eyes Wide Open, he tried something a little different, releasing the book in four parts, like TV episodes. That's how I got ahold of the first part called Identity as an ebook a while back. Then, at the time, the second part, Mirrors, was going for only a dollar, so I paid to read a little more of the story. After that, I didn't really want to pay to get the other parts on ebook when I knew I would eventually want to own a physical copy of the book itself. There are very few Ted Dekker books I don't have paper copies of! So, I waited for the paperback to be released, and finally, I got a chance to read the whole thing. It had been awhile since I'd read the first two parts, but I found I only had to skim a little to remember most of it. There are also very few Dekker books that aren't uniquely memorable.

In Eyes Wide Open, seventeen-year-old Christy finds herself in bizarre circumstances when she goes searching for an empty locket that holds sentimental value for her. Unsure of who she really is, with no memory of her parents or the first thirteen years of her life, she's suddenly thrust into a situation where everything she's ever known is called into question. Is the little she thinks she knows about herself even true?

Austin, also seventeen, is brilliant. He relies on his mind for everything, but now it appears something might be wrong. Headaches plague him. Still, his mind is strong. He can reason through anything...except perhaps the fix he and Christy have found themselves in. When they accidentally trap themselves in a mental health institution and are mistaken for delusional patients, Austin and Christy's options quickly narrow until the most important question becomes: Who am I?

As usual, Dekker delivers a thrilling, suspenseful, twisty mind trip, but also packs in a message of Truth, narrowly focused on a single idea. This one is clearly about identity and what makes us who we are. Is it what we do, how we grew up, what we think? (Minor SPOILERS follow.) I don't think I'm spoiling too much to say that Austin's mind isn't going to be enough, but just in case, I did warn you. Interestingly, shortly after finishing the book, I came across a verse in my Bible that meshed really well with this novel. The verse talks about Jesus' "love that surpasses knowledge" (Ephesians 3:19). That might give you a glimpse of where this book ends up thematically (and we're not talking about romantic love, by the way), but there's so much more to it. And I didn't think this would happen, since the book is part of a new series, but as usual in the Dekker-verse, this book relates to some of Dekker's older novels. It's also connected to the separate stand-alone novel, Outlaw, but that shouldn't come as too much of a surprise, considering the title.

Eyes Wide Open is part of a series called The Outlaw Chronicles. Water Walker, the second installment, is partially available now (the first two parts have been released in ebook form), and the paperback will be released in March. I already have my copy on order. Four stars.

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