About the Book
The Calling, by Rachelle Dekker is the second book in her Seer series. Here is a quick rundown of what the book is about.
"Remko Brant had never been so sure of anything as escaping the Authority City with Carrington Hale. But bravado comes easy when you have nothing to lose. Now a husband, father, and the tactical leader of the Seers, Remko has never had so much at risk.
As he and his team execute increasingly dangerous rescue missions inside the city, they face growing peril from a new enemy. Recently appointed Authority President Damien Gold claims to be guiding a city shaken by rebellion into a peaceful, harmonious future. But appearances can be deceiving. In order to achieve his dangerous ambitions, Gold knows he must do more than catch the rebels—he must destroy the hope their message represents . . . from the inside out.
With dissension in his own camp—and the CityWatch soldiers closing in—Remko feels control slipping through his fingers. To protect those he loves, he must conquer his fears and defeat Gold . . . before one of them becomes his undoing."
It would be easy to compare Rachelle to her father, Ted Dekker. Both of them write excellent and unique stories that touch on a spiritual level. One could also compare her dystopian style to authors like Veronica Roth or Suzanne Collins. However, Rachelle has her own clear and individual style. I thought that she really stepped out of the shadow of other authors and wrote her own story.
This book really appealed to me on three different levels. First of all, the storyline of Remko's family. Remko and Carrington are continually fighting for both their ideals and their family. Things are growing more and more dangerous within the city. The stakes are higher and people are being executed regularly. Remko and his team risk their lives over and over to try and turn the tide. For Remko though, things have changed. He no longer has nothing to lose. His wife and daughter now greatly depend on him. He struggles with whether or not Aaron's ideals are worth the risk. As a mom, I really connected with this aspect of the story. I want so badly to provide safety and security for my children. I want to protect them from the world and its dangers. However, the Lord doesn't promise us a comfortable and safe life.
Next the book deals with Remko's own spirituality. He lives amongst the Seers, yet he doesn't really prescribe to their beliefs. His wife and most all those living in his community were called by Aaron himself. This causes him to question why he should fight at all, why not run to safety? Remko doesn't wish to surrender his cares and would much rather rely on his own strength. And he is strong, he is capable. However, when he finds himself in a situation where his own strength isn't enough-- he will come face-to-face with his weakness.
Finally, the book deals with questions of free will and humanity. Without giving to much away, Gold has devised a new way to gain control of society. He and the Scientist are willing to go chilling lengths to achieve their goals. The book asks a lot of questions about what makes us human and the nature of our free-will. The book raises a lot of deep questions, especially in it's final chapters.
The book has a range of characters. Woven into the main story-line are a numerous side plots between secondary characters. The other characters, good and evil, really added a lot to the story. We even get a few chapters from the perspective of Gold himself. The book really picks up speed in the last quarter. Rachelle has quite a few surprises in store for the readers.
As I mentioned, this book is part of a series. The first book, The Choosing, I haven't read. For first time readers of the series, The Choosing is obviously the ideal place to start-- I didn't feel to lost or confused with what was going on though. I do plan to read The Choosing soon, as I really enjoyed Rachelle's style and the characters.
One last thing I would like to mention is the quality of the physical book itself. Sometimes I get a book that just feels good in my hands. This is a thick book with nice quality paper. The cover is printed on a thick pearlescent card-stock and the spine stands out on my shelf. I know this might not mean much to some readers, but I really appreciate a good story and well designed book.
About the Author
The oldest daughter of New York Times bestselling author Ted Dekker, Rachelle Dekker was inspired early on to discover truth through storytelling. The Choosing is her critically acclaimed debut novel. She graduated with a degree in communications and spent several years in marketing and corporate recruiting before making the transition to write full-time. She lives in Nashville with her husband, Daniel, and their diva cat, Blair. Visit her online at rachelledekker.com.
Finally, a little Q&A with Rachelle herself--
In the book you talk a lot about surrendering to fear. What does this look like and how does this help us to not be afraid? I think sometimes the natural reaction to fear is to hide from it, or try and push it away. It’s the idea that if we can’t see it then it must not be there, but we all know that unless dealt with the unseen things often come back to bite us. The only way to face fear is to walk through it; surrendering to Father God and letting Him reminder us of our true identity. Only then do we really see that the light within us is always greater than the fear we face.
Carrington struggles with the pain that comes from watching Remko miss the Truth that was so clear to her. What encouragement would you give to others that have loved ones who do not yet share their faith? Everyone needs to take the journey. For some, truth comes more easily, and others have to struggle to see it. It can be incredibly hard to watch someone you love miss the truth right in front of them, but don’t forget that the Father is still God, and He holds them in His hand. So love those that struggle restlessly and trust that the Father is ever-present, even in the darkness.
Do you relate to any of the characters in The Calling in terms of how you’ve faced and handled fear in your life? How so? Of course, every character I write ends up having some reflections of things I’ve faced personally. You can only write what you know, as they say. I, very much like Remko, have the tendency to be in “my head” too much when faced with fear, and I struggle to let go of the need for control and simply surrender. That’s one of the main reasons I decided to write this story.
What do you hope readers will take away from the story? I hope they take a moment to see themselves as children of the Father. I hope they see that true freedom and fearlessness rest in surrendering, and that when they stand with the Father than nothing can stand against them. There is incredible peace in that truth, and I hope, like I am beginning the experience, that readers feel that same peace.
I received a copy of this book from Tyndale in exchange for my honest review.