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5.0 out of 5 stars Great.
This is great story. Fictional but yet compelling. The whole story reminds me of Jesus and his sacrifice for us, and makes me think how far would I go if the spread of the gospel would depend just on me.
Published 5 months ago by Shumway the Inscrutable

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52 of 62 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Great Cover, Awesome Trailer, but Story Is Disappointing
Review by Kara Grant

I don't like giving bad reviews and I consider both Ted Dekker and Tosca Lee far above the standard of talented writers, but Forbidden did not satisfy me as a reader. I'm glad so many others have enjoyed this book and given stellar reviews, but I am not one of them.
I was excited about reading Dekker's newest achievement and seeing...
Published on October 25, 2011 by K. Grant


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52 of 62 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Great Cover, Awesome Trailer, but Story Is Disappointing, October 25, 2011
By 
K. Grant (Florida, USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Forbidden (The Books of Mortals) (Hardcover)
Review by Kara Grant

I don't like giving bad reviews and I consider both Ted Dekker and Tosca Lee far above the standard of talented writers, but Forbidden did not satisfy me as a reader. I'm glad so many others have enjoyed this book and given stellar reviews, but I am not one of them.
I was excited about reading Dekker's newest achievement and seeing how his co-author Lee added to the story. Both are extremely gifted storytellers. However, this book didn't grab me until I got to chapter 19. I was disappointed with the first few pages because it was told more like a summary than a story at first. I could not picture a society without emotions, it still doesn't make sense to me how DNA can be stripped of the very quality given to us by God. I get living in fear, but who are we as humans if we don't feel emotions? It's like every human being has become logical and there is no care or concern for others. The very first thing the book describes is a funeral setting, but there is no love or loss mentioned. There is no heaven or hell, only an afterlife. And fear is the motivation for everything; if you obey every law of the Order and live accordingly then when you die your soul will spend eternity enjoying Bliss (the absence of fear). However, if you break any law, cause disorder or you're born with defects then you will end up in Hades because the world's Maker will refuse anyone else. I had a difficult time accepting that even in fiction. Who would want to die under that pressure?

I could understand wanting to live in a society that has no hatred or war, that's ideal, but I don't believe that the authors put the story together very well illustrating this. It's all summarized. I also didn't feel any connection with the characters in the story. Many important characters die in this story before the last page, but I didn't have any remorse for their deaths. I kept thinking about the Pod people from the body snatchers movie or the Eloi in The Time Machine who feel nothing when the Morlocks take them (no emotions, only survival matters). I kept asking myself throughout, what's the point?

The story follows two characters who get access to a vial of blood and ingest it immediately, Rom and Saric. There are also several minor characters, but it's mostly from Rom/Saric's perspectives and the people around them. Rom is the good guy, Saric is a sovereign in the story who becomes corrupted after drinking the blood. The story is mostly about their inner transformations and reactions to having the blood in their system. One cares about finding out the truth and restoring peace to a system that is hypocritical and corrupted (perfect peace being impossible to achieve when the Order is hiding a secret) while the other wants to rule the world and doesn't care what must be done to get there. They both have to come to grips with their mortality and both must face conflicts and doubts along the way.

There is graphic violence in this book, but just as the characters have no emotions I wasn't moved by the killing/fighting. The best thing I can say about this book is that it's not creepy or scary at all. Dekker is very good at making stories symbolic so I tried to see that symbolism in Forbidden. The vial of blood is the blood of Jesus in my mind, once you've accepted it you're forever changed. The only god mentioned in this story is the Maker so there's no message about the trinity or the cross. The blood makes a person die to self so that they can have their minds opened up, there is no preaching or emphasis placed on relationship with the Maker in this book. There is law and everyone must follow the Order or face brutal consequences. The characters come to life with the blood, they have emotions, their perspectives change, they have something to live for other than fear, and they are amazed by the difference. The blood is pure and there is a dramatic reaction once the person takes it. The next book in this series will be Mortals, but I've had enough with Forbidden. It's a good story, but it's not for me.
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48 of 58 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Forbidden, proof that Dekker's best days are behind him?, October 11, 2011
This review is from: Forbidden (The Books of Mortals) (Hardcover)
I kept telling myself Ted Dekker's next book will be better than his last. I kept telling myself that he would not continue to pull the same shenanigans of old and thrust illogical interactions in unbelievable situations and yet again, use love as a gimmick. I kept telling myself that he is capable of writing a great story and that when I finished the book, I would be happy with what I just read. The truth of the matter was self-evident: Dekker's best days are well behind him.

Many spoilers follow.

So what exactly was wrong with the book? Though the book was not downright awful, it was bad enough for me to be happy that I finished it so I could move on to something more meaningful and enjoyable. Those are not details, so let me begin. The entire premise is destined for problems and was evident from the opening chapter when Rom did the illogical thing and went against everything he ever knew and trusted a crazy old man he only met seconds earlier. Many characters felt like rehashes of previous Dekker novels and one distinctive scene read like it was ripped straight from Green. In typical Dekker fashion, one person confesses their love in record time. Cities, countries and continents are given names in a cheap effort of creating a new world unlike any we have ever seen. I can appreciate the effort in creating a unique setting, but it all combined to make little sense. Brahmin, who are royalty, felt like vampire knock offs without the fangs, and by the end of the book, you still do not know why there are people who have translucent skin (Brahmin) and regular folk like us. Once the symbolism of the world being "walking corpses" was introduced, the reader is overloaded with the concept to the point of annoyance because of the way certain characters kept treating it as a physical death, not an emotional one.

A cryptic message written in Latin is decoded, giving some insight into the blood Rom is given in the book's opening chapter. Here's an excerpt:

I have a sample of purest blood of unknown origin marked only "TH," which proved resistant to the strain.

Readers of The Circle Series should immediately note the TH being Thomas Hunter, savior of humanity in the year 2010. Based on the timeline of when Chaos occurred in Dekker's Lost Books Series, Forbidden probably takes place in the year 2550, possibly closer to the year 2600. Would the man that saved humanity really be that unknown roughly 40 to 90 years after saving every person from certain death? Seems unlikely, but this is hardly a primary point of emphasizing the book's numerous problems.

Murder is illegal and security is overly lax (if not non-existent), yet there are well trained killers working for the Order who strike with deadly precision and leave a mess of evidence without making the slightest effort in covering their tracks. If this is the case, surely there would be rumors of such atrocities (since they exist to hunt down and destroy the Keepers) and would not be as unbelievable and unheard of as portrayed. The Order's alchemists are always conducting experiments (the details of which remain mostly vague), one of which is the ability to restore some emotions. Rom is able to sneak into these lairs in a disguise, yet despite the Order being aware of this trespass, several main characters successfully repeat this two more times using the same method. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me thrice, shame on Dekker and Tosca. The icing on the cake was the book's terribly flat ending. I do not think the events leading up to the shocking moment could have been more monotonous and ill conceived. It is pretty clear not a lot of thought went into it because it truly plays out without much sense.

Ted Dekker has written some great novels. Unfortunately, I believe his last great novel was BoneMan's Daughters, which came out in 2008. Since then he has pumped out two books a year and each one progressively worse than the others, with an exception to Immanuel's Veins, which still remains tied as my most disliked Dekker book, along with Lunatic and Elyon. I do believe this book is the straw that broke the camel's back. I am a completionist at heart and there is only one book that I have stopped reading. I considered doing it again, but I can finish a book this long in two or three days, so I stuck with it, trying to enjoy the book but failing. Forbidden (The Book of Mortals) is the first book of a trilogy and while there are some decent parts, it suffers as a whole and I have no intention of reading the rest of the series. I can only suffer through so much whimsical, immediate love before I find myself clawing at my eyes to make it stop. If this is the first or one of the first Dekker books you have read, I strongly recommend sticking with his earlier works as they are, hands down, far better than anything he has put out recently.
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38 of 46 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Horrible first half and ok second half, October 12, 2011
This review is from: Forbidden (The Books of Mortals) (Hardcover)
I am having a hard time reconciling with the fact that most of the reviews are good!. I am giving it 2 stars because of the last 40% of the book. The first 60% is worth just about 0 star. Overall I am extremely disappointed. What's wrong with the book?. Here are a few blatant examples (warning some spoilers).
1) A few hours after being handed a package containing a vial full of blood he decides to drink it. There are no instructions as to how much to drink but he drinks only the correct amount. 3 other people also drink the blood and they also have no idea how much to drink but they also drink just the right amount. But this is beside the point. There is not a single human being (especially one who only knows fear) who would drink blood for almost no reason as is the case in the book. That part is utterly unbelievable and as avid readers you know as well as I do that believability is one of the fundamental rules of good writing. If you don't have believability then your writing is in deep trouble. This is only one example. The main characters in this book do many other things that people would simply never do (normal or not).

2) Another fundamental rules of good writing is to make sure that what you write has at least a secondary purpose so as to be less boring. So if you describe a street lamp, for instance, then there must a reason that goes beyond just providing you with a mental image of the surroundings. When you describe the lamp you should, for instance, indicate that the dim light emanating from the lamp is illuminating only some of ROM's face leaving his eyes in shadows, enhancing his determined look (something like that). This book does very little of that and I found myself starting to skip the descriptive sections more and more because I realized that those would not add anything useful to the book.

3) I am no psychologist but instinctively I found myself thinking that the way people were often behaving in this book was not consistent with the way people who know only fear would behave. I can't give you concrete examples but believe me when I tell you that you will have those thoughts yourself when you come across those situations.

It felt like the book was written by a 12 year old and then was revised by an adult writer. I really had to force myself to get past the first 60% of the book and the only reason I did was because many of the other reviews had mentioned the fact that it was better after the first half (and it was!). I only hope, if you decide to buy the book that your experience with it is not as disappointing as mine.
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34 of 44 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't Make Sense, September 21, 2011
This review is from: Forbidden (The Books of Mortals) (Hardcover)
I just couldn't get into this book because it has a major flaw in it's premise. The more I read and tried to suspend my disbelief, my mind kept saying, "It STILL wouldn't happen that way."

You see....this book purports a civilization that can only feel ONE emotion: fear. IF that's the case, Rom would NEVER have accepted the old man's package in the very beginning of the story. He simply would have run like crazy away from him. Why? Because he was afraid! He doesn't do that....or there would be no story. The fact that he DOES accept the package...means the premise is flawed and the story makes no sense.

You see....to accept the package means Rom is automatically feeling other things, like curiosity, courage, confusion, etc. If you TRULY had a world where people could ONLY feel fear...everyone would be running around like a bunch of paranoid schizophrenics. Society would be in chaos. People would be completely unproductive and terrified of everything from a housefly to their own reflection. The world would have to be institutionalized. This concept is completely ridiculous. I've never seen a book that creates such an unworkable and impossible premise for itself. I just couldn't convince myself that this was real. There is a rule in fiction writing that a story doesn't have to be possible, just "plausible" for it to work. This wasn't even close to being plausible.

So...all emotion except fear was eliminated because it's believed that "passion of opinions and creativity" caused the world's problems like war, etc. Again, this is absurd. It's very clear that FEAR, which gives rise to ignorance is the cause of all the world's ills. If you want a world of peace, how can you expect to achieve that through FEAR? How could this world have been free of war, murder and violence with a people that can ONLY feel fear. Not possible. Not even plausible. I'm still in shock at how ill-conceived this plot is.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Did not live up to other reviews, August 9, 2012
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I bought this book based on the number of positive/glowing reviews and was pretty excited to read. The book has a great central concept that could have made for an excellent story. Unfortunately the authors spent more time rushing through the plot and very little time fleshing out the characters. I just didn't really care what happened to the characters which completely deflated some of the bigger reveals/twists in the book. The authors rely too much on telling you why a character did or felt something, instead of building the reader's understanding of the characters motivations via a well told story. I found it a bit of a chore to finish the book though I did finish. The ending was underwhelming and I will not be reading the rest of the series, just not interested enough. Not a horrible book, just did not live up to the hype.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars What happened to Ted Dekker?, July 24, 2013
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Forbidden features a brilliant premise but unfortunately the execution is disappointing. Many of the characters aren't terribly interesting, nor is the world they inhabit. The story had promise but the pacing is off - some moments plod along, others pass in an instant, with little time for reflection (likely due to the Tosca/Ted combo). The writing is competent but the themes explored are a little tired-Dekker. The story doesn't have a patch on The Circle Quartet, to which it shares some similarities. It features moments of graphic violence but the details are left to the reader's imagination. Curiously, I found some of the violence distracting - it seemed a little extreme, but more silly than offensive. I thought the Tosca Lee/Ted Dekker combo would be fantastic. They both write in similar genres and their writing styles gel better than most previous co-authoring Dekker efforts. Ted is the better storyteller and Tosca is the better crafts-person but here I think they held each other back. All in all the story just doesn't sing like it should.

5/10
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars One Has to be Gullible to Enjoy the Story, May 20, 2013
The story takes place in Year 471 after the present day or Null Year. Null Year belongs to the Age of Chaos. Centuries later, it is called the Age of Order. The people then do not have emotions except fear. All other emotions are thought to lead to destruction of mankind and have to be wiped out. Science in the Age of Chaos (present day) is so advanced that a virus can be developed to selectively wipe emotions including love out of the DNA of people.

The story has the elements of a number of well known classic fictions but lack the glue to make a coherent and convincing story: George Orwells' 1984; Isaac Asimov's Foundation and something from the movie Gladiator.

Similarity to 1984: The citizens live in fear and have to report violation of the Order to authority. The people do not believe in gods or God.

Similarity to Foundation: A scientist in Null Year is able to compute and predict an event 471 years later. In Foundation, the background is maybe hundreds or thousands of years from the present day so it may not come as such a surprise that the mathematicians are able to compute and predict events hundreds of years later. In Foundation, the calculation allows for a reasonable margin of errors in terms of years. In Forbidden, the prediction is accurate up to the day. It is far-fetched that the mathematics is so developed as of the present day. Why not set the Age of Chaos to be sometime in the future?

Similarity to Gladiator: An evil son commits patricide to get to the throne or sovereignty. He also incestuously adores his sister. The similarity ends here. The son in Forbidden plans to kill his sister.

Back to the story. There are no gods but there is a Maker. There is no heaven but Bliss. However, there are priests. The thrones are inherited. It sounds like a medieval age. The country does not tolerate physical defects such as scars or cripples. People of upper class are of fair or even translucent skin. It is superior to be able to show one's blue veins through the skins. Scientists are called alchemists (again a throwback to the medieval age). There is no love (already wiped out by virus) however there is marriage and it has to be arranged and approved by parents. The people are described as dead not in the sense that the people are zombies or walking dead - they are just stripped of emotions. They are flesh and blood, no less.

Technologies exist to manufacture (not train but manufacture them like toys) an army. There are underground trains and even airplanes but there is no security, surveillance or monitoring equipment like CCTV in a palace where the sovereign lives. The sovereign-to-be (a princess to be exact) can be kidnapped without being noticed and no traces can be found.

The story starts when the protagonist Rom meets an old man (a Keeper of the secrets) who risks his life (and finally gets killed) to give him a vellum and vial of blood. Without instructions and with enough audacity, Rom drinks the right portion of blood and becomes aware of humanity which means possession of emotions. He loves every young woman he meets hereafter. He feels rebirth and takes it upon himself to save the people from deprivation of emotions. He is not the savior and he has to find out and protect the savior. He embarks on a strange journey to find the savior whose presence is predicted 471 years ago.

The savior turns out to be a nine year old boy who can dream of what is happening and will happen around him.

The vellum contains a script written in Latin and needs a mathematician (conveniently the princess whom he will kidnap happens to know both Latin and mathematics) to decrypt it. The script is written by a scientist of the present day who also develops the virus. The script describes the virus and what can be done to save the people. Who in the modern day in his right mind will write a script in Latin and expect it still to be practiced 500 years later?

There is a last surviving Keeper kept in the prison or dungeon which also doubles as a lab where experiments (including manufacturing of the army) and tortures are done. It is supposed to be a max-security prison. However, it is easy to go to the dungeon to visit the Keeper or even sneak him out. All one has to do is to dress like a priest by donning a robe and a hood and keeping his head down.

Rom is an artisan by profession. He works in a church by doing some crafting work. He is son of yet another Keeper. He has not ridden a horse before but can ride one when the opportunity presents itself. He is not trained on using sword but can pick up one and use it handily to fight a guard. Can't the authors think of a better profession for Rom so that his is better equipped to help save the world?

Similarly, his friend Triphon is a guard still on training but can fight off five veteran guards who are hunting them single-handedly. One has to shake his head when reading this.

Unfortunately, I have also bought the sequel Mortal. In order not to waste money, I will try to read it and see how bad it can go. I hope I will be wrong.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars This is the first Dekker book that I couldn't finish...too slow, little interest in the story. Not typical Dekker book, December 27, 2012
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I am truly bothered that I couldn't finish this book, I have read his books and really enjoyed them. This book is slow. They could have done so well with this premise, but missed the mark.
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15 of 21 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars uninteresting, August 17, 2012
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I came into this series with high hopes after having read his Paradise books, Circle Trilogy, and Lost Books. Yet I could hardy force myself to read this because it was utterly vapid and uninteresting. Plot development dragged on and no matter how hard I tried I couldn't relate to the characters. It was really a disappointment and money wasted ultimately
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars plot a bit naive, June 22, 2014
The premise of the book is interesting, but the execution is not superb - this looks more like a first raw version.....
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Forbidden (The Books of Mortals)
Forbidden (The Books of Mortals) by Ted Dekker (Hardcover - September 13, 2011)
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