Friday, May 27, 2011

Book review - House by Ted Dekker & Frank Peretti

I had finished reading Ted Dekker and Frank Peretti's book "House" a while ago, but was not sure if I wanted to review it here.  I decided that, ehh, why not?  Now for the stars-

Valary-Mac's Overall Rating: 3-4 stars
Young Reader/Family friendly: 1 star
Readability: 4 1/2 stars
Realistic Characters: 5 stars
Portrayal of Bible Truths: 4 stars
Foreshadowing/Relating to characters: 5 stars
Well rounded story 3-4 stars
Strong focal point and finish: 3 stars

Frank Peretti,
author of
"This present
darkness"

Extremely well written.  This book is not for the faint hearted, though.  It reminded me of "Hotel in California" by the Eagles a little bit.
Being used to read-all-in-one-night-epic-thrillers, and some warnings of wide-eye-novel writers, I was ready to expect a whirlwind of light and darkness, good and evil.  That's what I found... basically... in a nut shell.  But I'm not one to put something in a nutshell and leave it be without prying it back open again.

Violence: 
 This book is about showing the vast difference between good and evil, and why it matters.  Showing mankind's perpetual and un-killable (almost) nature includes a bit of violence.  Nothing too graphic.  But some, I am inclined to think, is needless. Personally, I think Ted and Frank could have gotten away with less of it and still made their point loud and clear. But these two authors don't shy away from a subject just because its controversial.  They show it in its intricacies, and its relevation to the Truth.  In short, (ha! nothing about me is short but my height, and that makes up for it all :) if the though of death makes you squeamish, if you faint at the sight of blood, which happens to be a very Biblical subject, this book is not for you. 
Possotive Elements:

Ted Dekker author of
the "Circle trilogy"
It wouldn't be a Ted and Frank book without the Christian positive elements, although I do wish they were a little stronger on that.
We see a struggling couple.  One plagued with guilt and denial, the other afraid and angry.  We see a self-server to the end, and a women who turned her own abused past into a way to control others out of self-preservation.  We see these things worked out in good and bad ways, and, unlike most "Christian" novels, we see clearly which are the good, and which are the bad.
The need for a perfect Savior is what this book is about, and only then can sin be conquered, no matter how hard we try.
Negative/unneeded Elements:
I'm not Ted or Frank, so I don't know what went into the editing, so I cant really say much on that level.
Sexual Innuendo:
Up front I'll say there is nothing explicate, and nothing inappropriate. But, needless to say, with the portrayal of the sinful nature, this subject too will show itself.  A few snide remarks, but nothing pointed or suggestive.
Giving credit to the sharp brains of the authors, they were smart enough to show this subject coming mostly from a mentally-ill twenty something, to whom we have mixed feelings about.  He doesn't have the feelings of a grown man - more like a 5-year-old's crush - but, nonetheless, he is a man. Otherwise, a kiss is the only other thing, which is refused by the receiver.
The Movie:
I haven't watched the movie because, frankly, I'm not allowed to watch R-rated movies.  Yep, its R-rated.  Speaking with one who has seen it, though, he says it doesn't stay too close to the book, and, says "Christian Miles" from a writers blog I follow (www.fictionfire.blogspot.com), it tries to make itself into more of a horror movie than the "house" movie.  I say I wouldn't recommend it.  Also, I wouldn't even recommend watching the movie trailer, which I have seen, because its too disappointing after reading the book.


Now, for my opinion on The Plot.
Great progression of events; building great.  Whoever has the degree in psychology put it to good use.  How do various people-types of various backgrounds respond to various things in life?  The answer?  In various ways!  The problem is, which way?  That's where knowing this comes in handy.  Better yet, not just knowing, but putting it in a book so its both interesting, progressive, and realistic; in a way the reader can relate to.  Tall order, and one that has been completed in the book "House".
One thing that left me unsatisfied with this book, was that it seemed uncompleted; unfinished.  Like, "that's it?  Isn't there something more you were gonna say before 'The End'?"  As the plot masterfully worked itself into its "organized frenzy", the big peek, when the conclusion is drawn, yet before the end, seemed a little lame.  Not to say that it was at all, but after working yourself through the engaging steps of... house, all of a sudden there is a room full of... what?... and they are all destroyed by the perfect-person/maybe-angel/nobody-really-knows-besides-Dekker-and-Peretti... maybe, because she dies and her blood is weird.  Then the house is defeated, Tin-man is gone, and the cops appear.  The house is normal and evil is (almost) defeated.  The young couple is safe and in love again, and the couple who you didn't like from the very beginning were conveniently killed.  And then - drum roll please - the book ends.  Say what?
And then, from the standpoint of being a Christian, I also thought it seemed unfinished, in that way too.  This book effectively portrays the need for a perfect Savior's blood.  Susan, the undefined girl-being, positively, absolutely states that "the Son of Man" is the only One able to be this Savior.  Period.  But then when she is killed, evil is conquered.  We also see her raised, so to speak, from the dead.  OK, so is she the Christ?  (I'm not even gonna go into my indignation if Jesus is even portrayed as a women).  Susan did not even remotely elude or hint that she was.  Then, in the very short conclusion after the climax, Stephanie seems to think she is an angel.  Even after receiving the light, and remission of evil, bold and convicted proclaiming that she "is the Light".  So... is she a Christian now?  Who knows!  The demonically-possessed house dwellers are scared silly by the sight of her, and she seems pretty cool with that.  Book ends.  Huh?  You wanna mention a church, plant the thought of a Bible?  How about bringing up that perfect Savior again?  How about telling us what that even means for all the non-Bible-bashers out there.  Dear authors, thank you for the amazing book, and I really do mean that, just let me finish it now.  :)

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