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33 of 39 people found the following review helpful
on April 10, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Below is an excerpt of my full review of the Circle Series:

There are not that many things I can complain about when talking about The Circle Series. One part that I did not care for was the amount of romance that was involved. I am not into watching romance movies or stories, and while this book had a decent amount of that, it was not heavy. In Black, a lot of emphasis was given on the beauty of the future world Thomas was experiencing for the first time. I do not think giving readers the impression of this true paradise would have served it justice by simply describing the beauty in brief details, so I can understand the need to expound. This is also the case for the love parts, but in White, Thomas falls in love with the daughter of his greatest enemy in a matter of days after spending just a few hours with her. He was able to see her as Elyon (God) saw her, even though she was physically diseased and reeked, he fell head over heels for her in record time. I guess when it comes to being mushy, time is not your enemy.

I thoroughly enjoyed the series, so much so that I started reading the next book immediately after finishing the previous, unrelenting until I was able to close the story. While I correctly predicted a few surprises the book had in store, overall the story kept me guessing and did not go in the direction I thought it would have gone. The suspense was high and I loved every bit of it. The books are not flawless, but they were minor portions that did not consume a large amount of reading, excluding the ending in Green. As I finished one book and started another, I felt that the richness of the story was increasing, providing a better experience than the last book gave. Green`s story did not deliver the bar raising element until several chapters into the book, but ended up being an emotional read, despite the problematic ending.

One final note. Green starts 10 years after White, and 99% of the book continues this story until the very end. So do not start this series with Green. It flows much better starting with Black.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on October 1, 2010
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
I have nearly every Ted Dekker book and love them all. They teach you a lesson in life while also teaching you a fabulous story. Great for finding yourself since there are so many characters you can see your life in one of them. Ted Dekker is just a pure genius with words.
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45 of 61 people found the following review helpful
on March 16, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Black - This was the book that made me fall in love with Story and how magnificently it portrayed redemptive history in fresh and exciting ways. Dekker's premise and execution is absolutely flawless, setting a standard that is equaled in Red and White.

Red - We discussed the beauty of redemption as Dekker portrayed it. Red is the heartbeat of redemption, and because of that at points this book is simply overwhelming. We think we know the story of Redemption; we think we understand the horror of the Cross. But Dekker slaps us across the face and tells us we know nothing, or that we have romanticized what we know so that the grittiness of the meaning of Redemption has been lost on us.

White - We discussed this denouement from the climax of Redemption, and how it began a new Story. The romance of Thomas and Chelise is absolutely scandalous, and we shocked by it, but how much more scandalous is that love of God for a wretch such as I? But pulsing from the denouement comes the final resounding climax of the Circle being accepted by Elyon as a Groom accepts his Bride--this is the Great Romance, the reason for which we were created.

Green - We discussed whether it worked better as Book Zero or Book Four and how it fits into the Circle Series. My own personal opinion is that, as Green furthers the story of characters first mentioned outside the Circle, it is best seen as a standalone novel that intricately ties in the various elements, characters, and themes created by Dekker.

Before I move on to other books and other reviews, I thought we deserved a comprehensive look at the series. The line of thinking is not just because the series--or at very least, the Trilogy--functions as a whole, but also because Thomas Nelson has published a wonderful edition that collects all four of these Stories into one magnificent volume.

First of all, let it be said that this volume is a masterpiece, not just for its individual stories but for the way it is presented. As a beautifully bound hardcover, it recalls reader's minds to the Books of History and gives the collection a look that is absolutely authentic to the nature of the novels. Almost as if Dekker is a Historian rather than a Storyteller--and perhaps that is not too far off the mark.

This edition also contains an alternate ending for Green, rectifying an issue that many readers saw as keeping the book from an ultimate conclusion. This new ending gives the series a definitive climax (or does it?) and establishes Green as the conclusion of the series. The alternate ending changes the last few chapters of the book, with the original ending being included afterwards for comparison. In Dekker's own words, he found the original intellectually fascinating and mind-bending, but without the emotional payoff that the new ending gives. Dekker also gives an exclusive interview for the book's last pages, and answers some very interesting questions--and as always, raises some of his own.

Whether you're new to Dekker, or want to actually own the Circle Series, or are a hardcore Dekker fan, this is an edition you're going to want to get hold of. Dekkies, this is the collector's edition you've always wanted. It'll look great on your shelf next to the Circle pendant, I promise. (And of course you're not going to miss out on the alternate ending of Green, are you?) And if don't already own the series, what better way to rectify that grievous oversight than by getting this all-inclusive edition?

Let me move from a discussion of this actual volume to exactly what the Circle Series has meant to me. I made mention of this in my review of Black, but I'd like to elaborate on that more here and now. It is no hyperbole when I say that the Circle Trilogy changed my life. I can't claim, as some, that it brought me to faith, but it certainly served to deepen my commitment to and freshen my perspective on Christianity. The Trilogy made redemptive history--the epic saga of man's fall and salvation--come to life. It tore the veil of Christianity off of Christ and left me staring into the very heart of God. In a spiritual sense, it helped me understand that the Church isn't as much dead as it is lethargic and tired of the same old platitudes and two-dimensional spirituality it has been fed. It served as the catalyst for me--a young teen when I first read the Trilogy--to seek out ways to revitalize the people of God to a living faith, an active faith, a transformational faith that really understands and gets the mind-blowing implications of our salvation.

The Circle Trilogy was also what made me fall heels over head in love with Story. Without it, there is no way that I would be a Storyteller or a book reviewer today. In fact, it was Dekker's novel Kiss, coauthored with Erin Healy, that served as my very first book review. From there I hit the ground running and have been stumbling forward ever since.

It was also through the Trilogy that I learned the power of Story. Way more than just entertainment and fun, Story could be meaningful, insightful, and challenging while still being entertaining. Didactic teaching may fill one's head with facts, but Story gives them context, flavor, purpose, and power. Tell me God loves me and I will agree, show me His love through Story and I will be weeping with the sheer joy of it all. Story provides the best way for ideas to be considered and for learning to be accomplished. After all, did not Christ often speak and teach through Story?

And I still find this absolutely wild to believe, but the Circle has also left me changed socially. My best friends come not from a common geographical location, but from a common perspective on faith and the teachings of Jesus--and we were all brought together through the Circle Series and Ted Dekker. What began in 2008 as a message board in a contest and role-playing game that promoted Dekker's young adult spinoff of The Circle, The Lost Books¸ has now developed into several deep and intimate friendships that by all statistical and logical accounts should never have been possible. For me, they represent my true Church--the people I go to discuss faith and unmask my own brokenness while still engaging in fellowship and fun. When we manage to actually get together in person, it is very much like the Gathering celebration portrayed in the Circle Series.

I'll just conclude here by saying that there have been two collections of books that have served to radically transform my life. The most predominant of these is a collection of ancient texts, inspired by God, known as the Holy Scriptures. The second is a collection of more modern texts, inspired by God but not in the same way, called the Circle Series. Surprisingly, or perhaps not so much, they hold very similar--well, identical--themes. One is the old, old Story of God's love for me; the other is fresh, new Story that, using metaphor and imagery from the first Story, tells me the very same thing.

The Circle Series is the redemptive mythos of this generation. Like Lewis and Tolkien, Dekker combines spiritual symbolism with engaging Story. Fiction simply does not get better than this.

Thank you, Ted, for showing the world the heart of God through your Story. And thank you for the effect that has had on me. It means more than you'll ever know.

*as posted on the website [...]
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18 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on January 5, 2012
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
This Series is, probably, the best series of books I have ever read. Not only is the writing (particularly with the use of pathos) brilliant, but the narrative gave me a fresh perspective of the Gospel - a life changing perspective might I add. Honestly, this story is perfectly crafted. Furthermore, though I thought my knowledge of the Gospel and Scripture would "spoil" the unfolding of the plot, I was consistently surprised by the story's development. These books are truly fantastic!

NOTE FOR KINDLE EDITION - This is especially a great purchase because it includes PAGE NUMBERS and BOTH Green endings (unlike the "Complete Circle Series: Box Set (Books of History Chronicles: Circle) [Kindle Edition]")
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on June 4, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I am so happy that I didn't realize this was a series when I purchased Black by itself. I usually don't like sereies and would have passed on it. But I bought Black and placed it on the bookshelf for a year. Then I read it and was super pleased. At first it grew on me slowly. Before I was half way through, I was hooked. Then I was thrilled to death to discover that Ted Dekker wrote many more novels. Now I'm on a quest to collect them all.

I liked Black a hundred percent. Red is even better. Now I'm almost at the end of White. The Novel White is as good as Black, but Red is better. But really, it's hard to even judge them that way because it's the same continuing story.

One thing is for certain, Ted Dekker is not predictable in these novels. You never know where the story is going to go, and when you think you do, Ted makes a quick right turn or goes off into left field. Sometimes he spins into a 180. He is an expert with the unexpected.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on August 18, 2014
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
Love every read I have had my hands on by Ted Dekker. By far my favorite writer out there. The way he keeps you on your toes throughout his novels is amazing. The Circle Series is my pick out of his collection. The way he twists religion in with a supernatural and dream-like state of mind is very interesting. It definitely keeps the tale going with two different viewpoints happening throughout the series. I would highly recommend this to any reader looking for an action-packed adventure and journey with Thomas Hunter, the main character in the series.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 15, 2014
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
I should start by saying that I don’t think this book was written for me. I’m a Christian. I was looking for a book that was written by a Christian, but wasn’t necessarily a “Christian book.” These are Christian books.

As stories go, the Circle series is fairly engaging, where you want to keep reading to find out how the story progresses. Sadly, I found the story to be incredibly predictable. Many characters have one-to-one parallels with figures in Christian salvation history, so as soon as you figure out who a particular character is in one of the books, you already know how it’s going to turn out.

The characters are very thin. Thomas is the most believable of all the characters, but everyone else is pretty binary, either good or evil, with the occasional conversion or fall thrown in to switch things up. Kinda boring.

One of the weirdest things to me is the blatant reproduction of salvation history in the “other reality” with virtually no recognition of actual Judeo-Christian history in the crisis on earth. Everyone depends on Thomas—whom they’re not really sure they believe—but no one prays, visits a chapel, or fumbles with rosary beads. It’s like the other reality is the only one that is redeemed. That’s the author’s choice and normally I would be okay with it, but here, because the because is so clearly a Christian book, the omission is jarring.

There’s a bit of creative play with “what if God were X” (I’m being discreet to avoid spoilers), kind of like you see in parts of Narnia. It’s a neat exercise but feels forced, like the character is all caught up in elation, but you’re not there with him.

I see a lot of 4 and 5 star reviews on here, but I have trouble seeing what the other reviewers like so much. The story of redemptive history in Christianity is beautiful, but I don’t like the way the Circle series tries to tell it. Maybe some readers pick up this book because they would prefer reading secular fantasy but don’t like the crap that comes with some secular writing. I get that, but I don’t think book presents a great solution to that problem.

As for each individual book, Black was my favorite and Red was my least favorite. White was okay (but very predictable) and I only read the first part of Green before looking up the summary on Wikipedia. I just wasn’t interested anymore in a story where I felt I already knew the ending.
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14 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on March 23, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Ted Dekker has re-released his fantasy series in one book. This thing is huge when you consider, you're reading 4 full length novels in one hardback book (Black, Red, White, Green).

With this edition, you will find a few alterations to Black in which Ted adds some clues from Green as well as a new alternate ending to Green. This new ending provides closure to the series instead of the mind-altering original ending.

Thomas Hunter is heading home when someone begins firing a gun at him. As a bullet grazes his head, he wakes up in another place. It feels like a dream until his dreams and reality blur causing him to question which is a dream and which is the real place.

A great evil is threatening both realities and it seems as if it's up to Hunter, alone, who can provide the answers.

This saga is the beginning of a mind-bending thrill ride.

At the end of this edition, there is a Q & A with the author about the creation of this series, the possibility to more books dealing with The Circle/Books of History Chronicles and what else he has in store.

If you enjoyed these books the first go around, this collection is well worth the read as you get a new ending to the entire saga. While some may not justify spending the money on books you've already read, Ted Dekker books are well worth the duplication!

This book was provided for review, at no cost, by Thomas Nelson Publishing
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
I bought this collection for my 18 year old daughter for Christmas! She has read these books and Ted is her favorite author! She is constantly telling people that they need to read Ted's books but this set of four are her all time favorites.
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11 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on April 10, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Below is an excerpt of my full review of the Circle Series:

There are not that many things I can complain about when talking about The Circle Series. One part that I did not care for was the amount of romance that was involved. I am not into watching romance movies or stories, and while this book had a decent amount of that, it was not heavy. In Black, a lot of emphasis was given on the beauty of the future world Thomas was experiencing for the first time. I do not think giving readers the impression of this true paradise would have served it justice by simply describing the beauty in brief details, so I can understand the need to expound. This is also the case for the love parts, but in White, Thomas falls in love with the daughter of his greatest enemy in a matter of days after spending just a few hours with her. He was able to see her as Elyon (God) saw her, even though she was physically diseased and reeked, he fell head over heels for her in record time. I guess when it comes to being mushy, time is not your enemy.

I thoroughly enjoyed the series, so much so that I started reading the next book immediately after finishing the previous, unrelenting until I was able to close the story. While I correctly predicted a few surprises the book had in store, overall the story kept me guessing and did not go in the direction I thought it would have gone. The suspense was high and I loved every bit of it. The books are not flawless, but they were minor portions that did not consume a large amount of reading, excluding the ending in Green. As I finished one book and started another, I felt that the richness of the story was increasing, providing a better experience than the last book gave. Green`s story did not deliver the bar raising element until several chapters into the book, but ended up being an emotional read, despite the problematic ending.

This book is massive! Very difficult to hold it long term and sit comfortably. The alternate ending that completes the series left much to be desired. It didn't feel like Dekker really put much effort into it, and instead simply appeased those of us that didn't like the fact that he tried to make it circular.
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