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From The Giver to Hunger Games, dystopian literature has consistently been a great seller.  So much so, in fact, that sometimes it’s hard to find something that distinguishes itself from the pack.

I was at first hesitant to read Ted Dekker’s Forbidden.  I’d never read his work before, and I don’t like to start with trilogies.  It’s just too big a commitment.  But enough friends were raving about it that I had to give it a try.

The Book of Mortals series, starting with Forbidden, follows a young man named Rom who lives contentedly in society.  Civilization seems suitable.  No hatred, anger, war.  There is peace, yes, but it’s kept in check with strong senses of fear and trepidation.  Perfect?  No, but it seems to work.  But, as Goodreads puts it, “a terrible secret has been closely guarded for centuries:  Everything single soul walking the earth, though in appearance totally normal, is actually dead, long ago genetically stripped of true humanity.”

Of course it is our protagonist, Rom, who soon learns this secret and must decide if he will choose real life.  It seems like an easy choice; true humanity comes with love, emotion, desire.  But life also resurrects the other side–hatred, ambition, and greed.  Maybe even true death.

Forbidden takes place in a medieval yet futuristic setting, managing to touch on grand aspects like royalty and corruption while maintaining a grasp on everyday life.  I was reminded now and then of the Narnia chronicles; both series, at some level, deal with what political power looks like and how it affects the everyday man.  They both also contain strong allegorical qualities of biblical stories (though the story stands well on its own even without this element).

This was one of the first fantasy/dystopian series I read, and I was immediately enthralled–even though that’s not normally my first choice.  Give it a try.

Thanks for reading!

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