After reading this book over a month ago I finally got my thoughts together and wrote a review. This was a difficult book to review, it was very oddly written and just a little bazaar to me. It has taken me forever to review this book mostly because I wasn't sure what I thought about it, and I definitely didn't know what to write about it. So I am sorry for the delay, and I hope you all enjoy! :-)
Immanuel’s Veins is the story of Toma Nicolescu, a warrior commissioned by Catherine the Great of Russia to protect the Cantemir family of Moldavia. Toma and his friend Alek are to protect this family, a women and her two twin daughters, from the threats of the encroaching war. Toma is a well known warrior and is a man who takes himself and his orders very seriously. However, very soon after meeting the eldest Cantemir daughter Lucine, Toma realizes he is in a situation he is desperately unprepared for. He has fallen in love with Lucine and he struggles with the love he carries for her and his loyalty to the empress. He hides his love from Lucine and in return Lucine begins a courtship with a Russian duke named Vlad van Valerik. Toma is instantly put on guard after meeting the duke, and is convinced Vlad is not what he seems. Toma is determined to reclaim the women he loves and expose Vlad for what he truly is, but what Toma finds will test not only his love for Lucine but his belief in a higher power.
There is a quote written on the back of this book and I find it to be very relevant to this story. “This story is for everyone but not everyone is for this story.” I can honestly say I was not for this story at all! This is the first book I have read by Ted Dekker and I am afraid it is probably my last. My major problem with this story was the inconsistency of the language. The story is set in the 1700s, but the conversations are mixed with colloquial phrases from centuries later. Phrases such as "hunk of a man" and "party pooper" seem out of place in the conversations. I also noted that early in the book there was a part that said “Toma showered and shaved”. Now, this just seemed odd to me, I cannot say with 100% accuracy that they did not have showers in the 1700’s, but I have never heard of this. Another issue that bothered me was the lack of character development. To me the characters were flat and boring. I felt nothing for the main character and on more than one occasion asked myself- should a warrior be this wimpy?
Now, this leads me to the love/Romance part of the story. There were a few uncomfortable moments for me in this department. For example, Toma’s love for Lucine. Yes, while sacrificial in that he would die for her, it was for the most part a purely physical attraction. I really wanted to see Toma learn what love really was, but in the end the love story was as shallow as the characters themselves. The redundancy of this book also made it difficult to read. There were multiple chapters that seemed to repeat themselves. It felt as though the author rehashed previous chapters but placed the characters in different roles and locations. All in all it really made the reading of this story drag on forever!
As a Christian I see what Mr. Dekker was trying to do with this story, and I did enjoy the message at the end, and for that I am happy I read this book. Having said that I do feel as though the spiritual lesson in the book was an after thought. I was two-thirds into the book before I felt like this was a Christian based story. This book was just an odd read, and frankly very difficult to finish. I guess when it comes right down to it, I was one of those people that just wasn’t for this story.