As I said in a previous post, I was given the opportunity to be an Advanced Reader for Ted Dekker’s newest 2 book series, Beyond the Circle. Book 1 was title “The 49th Mystic”. Book 2, as you may have guessed from the title of this post, was “Rise of the Mystics”. Here’s my review (it’s a rather wordy one!) –
First of all, you will definitely need to start with “The 49th Mystic” for this book to make sense. “Rise of the Mystics” picks up in the middle of Rachelle’s story and you will be more than a little confused and lost if you don’t read the books in order!
From a strictly “storytelling” perspective, this series is Ted Dekker at his best! There were times I had to put the book down and catch my breath. Other times I stopped reading because I could tell that what was about to come was going to place the characters I had come to love in a precarious, even dangerous position and I wanted to avoid the stress for a moment! But ultimately this story is about identity. As I, the reader, followed Rachelle’s path to finding the five seals, I was challenged to examine everything I had been told about matters of faith. I wasn’t just reading about Rachelle’s journey to finding the five seals. In my own heart, I took the journey with her. Yes, I enjoyed the story, the characters . . . all of the necessary pieces are there that make this a quality novel. But as a woman of faith myself, I was impacted at a personal level in ways I didn’t expect. This one will stick with me for quite some time!
This book will challenge you to look at how you define yourself – what things/people/titles do you hold most dear? What would be left of you if all those identifiers were taken away? How would it impact your life if you could truly cease to fear what others might to do your earthen vessel, knowing that they can never harm who you truly are?
“Rise of the Mystics” will challenge you to redefine your concept of the word “fear” and how it contrasts with a real, unconditional love that is pure, untouched by frustration, and never dimmed by the actions of others. This statement, written as though Rachelle herself had said it, sums up what impacted me most in this book – “One thing was certain: the power of Christ made manifest was far, far greater than anyone, even the most devoted follower, could imagine.”
Dive in and see for yourself.
**Side note – Those who enjoy study guides should check out “The Way of Love”, also written by Ted Dekker. This Bible study (with a companion journal!) addresses the same concepts covered in the novel from a more personal application approach.