Forbidden (The Books of Mortals)

by Ted Dekker

Hardcover, 2011

Status

Available

Call number

813.54

Publication

Center Street (2011), Edition: First Edition, 384 pages

Original publication date

2011

Description

Many years have passed since civilization's brush with apocalypse. The world's greatest threats have all been silenced. There is no anger, no hatred, no war. There is only perfect peace... and fear. But a terrible secret has been closely guarded for centuries: Every single soul walking the earth, though in appearance totally normal, is actually dead, long ago genetically stripped of true humanity. Fleeing pursuit, with only moments to live, a young man named Rom stumbles into possession of a vial of blood and a piece of cryptic writing. When consumed, the blood will bring him back to life. When decoded, the message will lead him on a perilous journey that will require him to abandon everything he has ever known and awaken humanity to the transforming power of true life and love. But the blood will also resurrect hatred, ambition, and greed.… (more)

Language

Original language

English

ISBN

9781599953540

User reviews

LibraryThing member MelanieSki
Ted Dekker has brilliantly written this book as a “good vs. evil” book . Where the main character Rom has to learn how to cope with his new life. He not only learns true love, but also true sorrow as he weeps for some of the people he loves most. Meanwhile Saric has consumed an altered version
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of the blood that only brings out the worst of emotions; hatred, jealousy, envy, anger. So that he can rule the world.
There are a few parts where the action gets a little gory especially in fights. Though not any worse than any of the rest of Ted Dekker’s books. Altogether this book has lots of action, surprising twists, and suspense that will keep you interested. Reading this series could more of a challenge to read because the second book is released in 2012, and the third in 2013. But most of Ted Dekker’s books are worth the wait.
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LibraryThing member nlaclaire
What would life be like if the only emotion we were capable of feeling was fear? In Forbidden, authors Ted Dekker and Tosca Lee describe a future society that believes it has evolved from the chaos of experiencing multiple emotions. As the story unfolds, we learn, with the book’s hero, that the
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reality is much darker: a previous world ruler used a virus to change the citizens’ DNA in order to give him more control by allowing only fear to be experienced. Fortunately, a group of people has been tasked these 480 years with protecting the truth in preparation for the realization of a prophecy.

I loved this book. It caught my attention within the first couple of pages and didn’t let go until the end (actually, it still hasn’t – I can’t wait until the next book in the series, Mortal, due out in 2012, is released). Prepare to be riveted. The fast-paced story includes a number of twists and turns that leave the reader wondering what surprise is coming up next. The characters are well-developed and the rich history behind the story is delivered in such a way that the reader isn’t bored by the experience. It was interesting to see the authors’ idea of how one might react to feeling emotion for the first time. The only thing that I didn’t like about the story is how graphic some of the descriptions are. The “extremeness” of some of the violence left me wishing I had seen it coming and skipped over the description. Still, many readers will probably love that about the book – it’s a matter of taste.

The book certainly has spiritual application. Many times I found myself drawing parallels between scripture and the story. I wouldn’t call it an allegory, but I think that there are many morals to be drawn from the story and some aspects might be allegorical.

If you like mystery, suspense, and science fiction and don’t mind a bit of gore, I urge you to read this book. When you do, let me know your thoughts by commenting below.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a digital galley proof of this book free from Hachette Book Group via netGalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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LibraryThing member Florinda
It’s a safe bet that this novel wouldn’t have crossed my radar without the Faith & Fiction Roundtable, which is part of the reason I wanted to be part of that group. Forbidden - the first volume in a planned trilogy called The Books of Mortals - was the subject of our September discussion,
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although it actually didn’t prompt a very active conversation. A fair amount of the talk involved comparisons with co-author Ted Dekker’s earlier Circle trilogy; since I’ve never read those books, I couldn’t contribute much.

The premise of Forbidden is intriguing, although its setup - how the world has changed after a large-scale man-made disaster has wiped out most of its population - is a pretty familiar one for speculative/dystopian fiction. In this particular post-apocalyptic world, the genetic basis of each emotion has been identified. Since emotion is blamed as the catalyst for everything that destroyed the world “before,” genetic therapies have eradicated all but one: fear, which remains due to its power to keep people in line and in Order. However, members of a secret group have safeguarded a precious vial of “old” blood - blood that contains the original human genes and their encoded emotions - for centuries, holding it for the arrival of a child predicted to return humanity to its original state.

Within this structure, Forbidden explores themes related to what it means to be fully human. As a few people are entrusted with the blood and their long-dormant emotions are triggered, the wonder and danger of their new feelings’ effects on their behavior drive the story forward.

I found the framework of the story more interesting than the execution, sadly. I think Forbidden bites off a bit more than it can chew (although, to be fair, it is the first book in a series and some of the threads introduced here may be further developed in later books). The characters felt underdeveloped to me, and at times the story meandered. Description of some events was excessively graphic, while others seemed fuzzy. It was interesting to note, since we were reading this for the Faith & Fiction group, that the world depicted here isn’t an overtly religious one, and those aspects of the novel are more metaphorical. I don’t read much co-written fiction, so I don’t know whether that’s a factor in the rather inconsistent quality of the writing.

Despite not finding much to praise about Forbidden as fiction, I found its ideas interesting. I don’t think I’d line up for the rest of the series, but if it found its way into my hands, I’d probably want to see what happens next.
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LibraryThing member misshiss
This is a fascinating book about a future medieval world of the dead and the mortals who live in it. I loved the whole idea and am eagerly waiting for the next book in the trilogy.
LibraryThing member highflyer
This synopsis of this book sounds like this is an amazing book. It really does. However, it just didn't blow me away. I found the concept interesting. This is something that hasn't been done before, and it's execution for the reasoning behind how the human body lost all emotions except Fear was
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good. However, the execution of the entire book just wasn't that great. I felt that there were a lot of internal dialogues that were full of questions. Instead of full thoughts we're met with question after question. Sometimes these questions span several paragraphs and even continue onto the next page. It was boring and sometimes hard to read. I feel that the first two chapters were great; they pulled you in and really made you want to read more, but after the opening, the books becomes drab, hard to read and full of thoughts that are disjointed or are full of telling more than showing. Also, some parts of the story were not surprising. They were predictable. I saw things coming before they happened which didn't make for a great story either. Also, the characters were really one dimensional. Sure, you could argue that the characters were the way they were because they lacked emotions, but really, they were not deep reaching people. Saric had only one intention. He behaved only one way. Avra, Rom's friend and love interest behaved one way. I could go on but I will save that for you to determine on your own. The way the characters were written just did not pull me in or make me like them in any way.
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LibraryThing member highflyer
This synopsis of this book sounds like this is an amazing book. It really does. However, it just didn't blow me away. I found the concept interesting. This is something that hasn't been done before, and it's execution for the reasoning behind how the human body lost all emotions except Fear was
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good. However, the execution of the entire book just wasn't that great. I felt that there were a lot of internal dialogues that were full of questions. Instead of full thoughts we're met with question after question. Sometimes these questions span several paragraphs and even continue onto the next page. It was boring and sometimes hard to read. I feel that the first two chapters were great; they pulled you in and really made you want to read more, but after the opening, the books becomes drab, hard to read and full of thoughts that are disjointed or are full of telling more than showing. Also, some parts of the story were not surprising. They were predictable. I saw things coming before they happened which didn't make for a great story either. Also, the characters were really one dimensional. Sure, you could argue that the characters were the way they were because they lacked emotions, but really, they were not deep reaching people. Saric had only one intention. He behaved only one way. Avra, Rom's friend and love interest behaved one way. I could go on but I will save that for you to determine on your own. The way the characters were written just did not pull me in or make me like them in any way.
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LibraryThing member bolgai
When I first saw the galley of this book on NetGalley I was intrigued by the cover. The whole "metal badge on a stone wall" design was appealing all by itself but with the bleeding heart in the middle the concept became that much more interesting. But there it sat, waiting for its time, which
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finally came late last week. I was immediately swept into this odd world where people feel nothing but fear and into Rom's life that's turned upside down when an old man gives him a mysterious box and almost immediately gets killed for it. I felt for this simple young man who didn't ask for anything that follows, who struggles with the onslaught of feelings that couldn't be any more strange. I hoped that the bad guys would fail once and for all and yet I knew that things couldn't be that simple. I recoiled at the twisted and horrific things the villains did and wondered about their leader's apparent omniscience.
There are plenty of dark and terrible things in this book and at first all the violence and blood spilling shocked me a bit but then I remembered that this is not a YA book and kept reading. Everything that happened made sense and I'm not sure that the book would've gripped me as it did had the authors shied away from the blood and gore or even toned it down. Morbid of me? Maybe. Doesn't make the book any worse.
The combination of highly advanced science and hardly any technology accessible to the masses creates a very interesting atmosphere. It kept me wondering what else was possible in this strange society, what else wasn't destroyed and what kind of advancements were actually made in the centuries when the world's population just tried to survive. The last several chapters sure opened up a lot of possibilities.
There are some things that weren't very believable. No matter how trusting people are how many times can the same trick really work? Wouldn't they be on the lookout for that exact thing? Shouldn't they be on the lookout for it? Similarly, if someone knows that something that doesn't fit with their plans is going to happen and they know when exactly it'll happen and where wouldn't they take steps to prevent it? Apparently not in this world.
The book didn't end on a cliff-hanger and I'm grateful for that - we all know what it's like to impatiently wait for a year or more to find out what happens next. The authors tied up the plot threads without leaving any loose ends but making plenty of promises for the sequel and giving an idea of what to expect in the future books of the series. I'm still wondering what will happen next, but at least I can wait without biting my nails to nothing.
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LibraryThing member MichelleSutton
Well... this was one interesting story. I've read Dekker by himself, then Dekker and Healy, and now Dekker and Tosca Lee (whose writing I adore!) I can see bits an pieces of the feminine perspective in this story. The imagery surrounding love was pretty profound. Better to have loved and truly
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live, then to merely exist. That was a big part of the story. It made me also think of the scripture where it says Jesus came to give us life, and not just life, but abundant life. That symbolism is clearly in the story. I loved that.

While a bit violent in several parts (I'm a wuss when it comes to gore as I have a very visual mind,) the passion in this novel shines through and overtakes the darkness. Passion is part of life, and with it comes not only joy, but pain. Rom's extreme grief was very well done, as was his anger at "The Maker" for allowing him experience love so profoundly only to feel like his heart had been cut out from the intense loss of that object of his affection, Avra.

I found the symbolism with Feyn quite profound, too. The slow dying of a person's heart back into death is symbolic of those who forget who saved them and thus allowed their hearts to grow cold. But the sacrificial lamb in this book was a powerful message, because she remembered that love... enough to give everything for it. So deep and heartfelt! I loved that about the story. I loved the characters' discovery of love for the first time. It was precious to them, as it should be to us.

There was some similarity regarding betrayal and the reasons behind it (like with Judas in the Bible) that I also found quite thought-provoking. Great imagery there as well. All in all this was a great book. Some parts seemed futuristic, and some seemed like a shadow of the past. It also had a bit of a dystopian feel to it. I am looking forward to the next book when it releases in 2012.
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LibraryThing member stephann64
I think this is a very exciting book to read. Suspenseful .
LibraryThing member FCAHS1954
Read but not particularly engaging. Too many characters to remember and recall to which group each belongs. Had Wal-Mart had a better selection, I would have passed this one up.
LibraryThing member HopingforChange
In "Forbidden," Ted Dekker and Tosca Lee create a reeling dystopia in which every emotion, except fear, has been removed from the human mind. The agent of this removal is Legion, a virus released on the heels of a philosophical reawakening that emphasized the importance of unity, order, and
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restraint. As with many of Dekker's novels, then, the premise is an odd balance of the technological and the metaphysical. Throughout most of the novel, Dekker and Lee maintain this balance, but by the end of the story, details are toppling every which way as the authors scramble to reach their desired outcome, the establishment of Jonathan as Sovereign, without sacrificing Feyn, the previous Sovereign-to-be. Achieving said goal requires Dekker and Lee to write in a false murder, several complicated life-support systems, a band of nomads, and a subterranean dungeon housing an army in stasis. The novel's conclusion seems to be largely Dekker's work.

Other than the rushing chaos at the end of the novel (an appropriate description as the book describes humanity's rise from the Age of Chaos), "Forbidden" reads as a convincing and fast-paced dystopian drama. The novel's strongest writing appears when Dekker and Lee describe character's conversions and resulting emotions. The authors describe emotions rolling in, one after another, love and fear and pain and loss, and they make the reader believe that this cacophony exists, which is no small accomplishment.

While he certainly tends toward extremes, Dekker writes stories that capture readers' attention and always chooses co-authors who somehow temper his sometimes overstated plot lines. "Forbidden" is no exception to this rule, and I would definitely recommend it to fans of fantasy fiction, dystopian stories, or other Dekker or Lee novels.
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LibraryThing member ragwaine
So I've never read anything (as far as I remember) that was labelled a "thriller". To me when someone says "thriller" when referring to a book, it means a book you pick up at the airport because you forgot/didn't have time to bring something. So you buy this book by someone you've never heard of
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and hope that it's mildly enjoyable but if it's not then you'll just leave it on the plane.

This sounded like it might have zombies in it so I got it from my fiance. Then I thought it might be fun to listen to it at the same time. So I loaded it on my iPhone and gave her the CD's for her car. Surprisingly we finished it on the same day.

Unfortunately it didn't have any zombies. This book wasn't terrible but the writing just to be pieces being moved around on a board. The characters were mere skeletons of people. There were only two that I enjoyed at all and one was pretty minor. The world was never really described so I had a hard time picturing what the city looked like or even their clothes or hairstyles. There are horses and swords and dungeons and alchemy but then suddenly toward the end there's TV (maybe I missed it in the beginning). I don't think there were any cars.

The whole thing had the feel of a "summer blockbuster" movie. It felt like it was written expressly to appeal to as wide an audience as possible. Maybe I'm a book snob but that did't work for me.
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LibraryThing member debs4jc
Intriguing, fascinating, and vivid would be the words I would use to describe this fantasy from Christian authors Dekker and Lee. The premise is that years ago humanity invented a way to wipe out all human emotions except for one--fear. But, as Rom discovers when a vial and a piece of parchment are
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placed into his hands, there is a way to reverse this curse. A group has for years been guarding the blood and the secrets that can reverse the curse and restore life to humanity. But of course, there are powerful enemies who will stop at nothing to stop this from happening.
I liked this a lot better than Dekker's recent novels, which were too dark and full of pointless violence for me. Of course this is most likely because it is co-written with Tosca Lee. I liked the exploration of characters who could only feel fear, it was quite interesting to mull over how that would affect a person's motivations. The story was full of scenes that were vividly described, when I think back on the book it is scenes that I remember more than the characters. This works quite well for a fantasy novel exploring an unusual premise which turns into a quest story. I would read more of these adventures. I suggest this for those who like fantasy stories with strong good vesus evil plots.
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LibraryThing member LRitte
I had a ying/yang relationship with this book. Some of it reminded me of Firefly and what the government tried to produce on Miranda. Now that the geekiness in me is showing...

A world with emotions aside from fear erased, because you need fear to rule, but is this living or a living death?

The end
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picked up and turned things around a bit, I am more excited about seeing where it will lead now... until the last bit I was contemplating not reading the next book in the series.
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LibraryThing member heidip
Forbidden is the dystopian/allegorical story of Rom who acquires a vial of blood supposed to give life to humans. You see, hundreds of years ago, the Order purposely spread a virus that killed all emotion except fear. Humans, essentially dead, live with fear, but not love, anger, hatred, joy, or
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peace. The society is strictly controlled through fear. The vial of blood can return humans to full life again. However, the alchemists have another plan. Fast-paced, Christian Fiction, and the first in a series.
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LibraryThing member DarlenesBookNook
I received this e-book for review from the publisher, Hachette Book Group, through NetGalley. I did not receive any compensation for my review, and the views expressed herein are my own.

I thought this book was very interesting!

The book takes place at some point in the future. Geneticists isolate
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the gene that causes fear, and they unleash a contagion on the world that destroys every person's emotion except for fear. By taking away someone's ability to love or hate or covet or a myriad of other emotions, you can ultimately predict how they will act. In this case, because fear is the only emotion that individuals are permitted to have, you create a society that will bend and yield to power out of fear, thereby controlling them. As a result, you have a peaceful society that is oppressed...only they don't realize it!

*SPOILER WARNING!

Rom, the protagonist, is a 24-year old young man whose father died when he was a child. On his way home one evening, he is approached by a strange elderly man who hands him a package and claims that Rom's father was killed for the secrets contained in the package and that all the other "Keepers" were killed as well. Rom is confused because he thought his father died from fever, but this man tells him that what he has always been led to believe is untrue. He instructs Rom to find a man called "The Book" and to give the parcel to him. Just as he pushes the parcel into Rom's hands, the Citadel Guards (aka the people who keep the peace in their society, what we would call the police) find the old man, who tells Rom to run and to protect the contents of the package. As Rom turns to leave, he witnesses the old man slaughtered before him and then he realizes that he is now no longer safe, as the Citadel Guards turn to come after him.

It turns out that the package contains a vial of blood, which has five marks on the side showing five doses. The blood is pure, and any person who drinks of it will have his full range of emotions restored. There is also an ancient vellum that contains a message. Whether it was out of curiosity or doubt or a bit of both, Rom drinks a dose of the blood. Once his senses are awakened, his life is never the same and he knows that it is his destiny to protect the vial with his own life and find the man called "The Book."

This is very much a story of "good versus evil," and there is some religious symbolism throughout the book if you are type that likes to analyze that sort of thing. I thought Rom was a fantastic character, and I loved watching his development in the novel. Other characters that I really enjoyed include Avra (Rom's beloved), Triphon (Rom's friend), and Feyn (the Sovereign).

This is the first book in a planned trilogy, so the ending sets you up on a bit of a cliff-hanger for the next installment. I enjoyed the book very much, and Forbidden has hooked me into seeing where the story goes next!

I have only read one other Dekker novel (Boneman's Daughters), which I also enjoyed. Lee is a new-to-me-author, and I plan to look into her other works.

MY RATING: 4 stars! I really enjoyed the book, and I look forward to the next in the series! Thank you, Hachette Book Group, and NetGalley!
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LibraryThing member impactwriter
Another good read from Dekker & Lee. This book kept me interested all the way through, though it wasn't quite as compelling as the first. It has left me yearning to see how book 3 could possibly turn out. Looking forward to "Sovereign."

Media reviews

“Forbidden” by Ted Dekker & Tosca Lee Byzantium (once known as Rome) is the greatest city on earth with half a million citizens. It’s considered the center of the earth where all things political, religious, social and economic are found. Since the end of the Age of Chaos, it has been the
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seat of power that all authority acknowledges. Directly below the city’s assembly hall of the senate is another vastness all its own, and only a very few, including Saric, Vorrin’s—the current ruler of the royal family—son, knows of its existence. It is here where the Book of Orders was canonized, the command to destroy all other works of Chaos was given and Sirin—martyred father of the Order—was assassinated by his devotees no less. Rom, Sirin’s son, is twenty-four years old and finds himself in possession of a vial of serum which is believed to have the blood of his father inside. Said to bring back full-life and restore all human emotion, the serum is doing a serious job of ending a few lives, as well as heightening the only emotion they do have…fear. Pravus, an elder, chose fear to be the emotion everyone keeps. He felt it was the only one needed for survival in the Order. Feyn Cerelia, Vorrin’s daughter, was to be inaugurated as the new sovereign in five days. The city was bulging with nearly twice as many people, one million to be exact, for the festivities. Imagine that many people and the roads aren’t only bad, but automobiles are extremely rare, too! I hope they have a Reeboks somewhere. Dekker brings on the thrill of suspense full-throttle in this attention-grabbing novel of rationed electricity and protein-ridden diets. There are many details, which at times are hard to keep track of, but it’s so worth it! This glimpse into Dekker’s make-believe future will have you thinking about your real present. Reviewed by Terri Ann Armstrong, author of “Morning Menace” & “Medieval Menace”
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