Faith and Fiction Roundtable: Forbidden by Ted Dekker and Tosca Lee

ForbiddenForbidden by Ted Dekker and Tosca Lee
Published by Center Street, an imprint of Hachette
Review copy provided by the publisher

In the not too distant future, the leaders of the free world have somehow built a world in which emotions do not exist. The only emotion people have the ability to feel is fear – which is perfect, because it keeps everyone afraid of what might happen if their leaders were ousted, and it keeps them in complete oblivion as to the possibility of living with actual feelings. But one day, a young man named Rom is accosted by an older man and handed a vial of blood that, when consumed, will give him the ability to feel emotions – essentially bringing his soul to life. But at what cost?

I haven’t ever read anything by Ted Dekker, but I’ve been seeing his books around for as long as I can remember. So when the Faith and Fiction Roundtable chose Forbidden as our next selection, I was excited to dive into Dekker’s work (and Tosca Lee’s, of course, although I am less familiar with her previous novels than with Dekker’s). I can definitely say that I enjoyed the experience of reading this novel, and although I won’t count it as a favorite by any means, I’m intrigued enough by the story to  want to read the sequel upon its release.

There were two huge aspects of the novel that I found to be discussion-worthy. The first, which is something that Hannah pointed out too, is that Dekker and Lee did an excellent job illustrating how important emotions are to our humanity. I am, by nature, an extremely emotional person – the kind of person you see described as “wearing her heart on her sleeve”. I tend to get my feelings hurt easily, I tend to care deeply about things that others might not spend one iota of time thinking about, and sometimes my emotions get in the way of what needs to be accomplished in my life (for example, career-wise). I’ve always thought of this as a negative part of my personality, especially in the sense that emotions don’t mix well with the industry in which I am employed. But I was cheered by how clear Forbidden showed how valuable emotions really are. And how, if we were to lose our ability to feel, everything that is essentially human about us would be gone too. It’s true – the fact that we can feel love, pain, sadness, etc., is an essential part of being human, and I loved how much the book reminded me that it is okay to be emotional at times. It makes me human.

The second aspect of Forbidden that was discussion-worthy, and this one I admit I didn’t talk about with the Roundtable participants, is the idea of using fear as a tool to manipulate the public. In this world, there is only one emotion which is fear, but that allows the people to be completely under their leaders’ spell. This reminded me a lot of the way sometimes politicians in the US – and the media, too – will use fear as a tactic to manipulate people’s thought processes and help them make decisions. Fear is a huge motivator for people, especially when it comes to things that are truly important (such as their kids’ education, keeping a job, being able to retire, etc.) and time and time again I have seen politicians use fear to encourage the public to vote their way. It always saddens me, and it saddens me even more that people fall for it. So I have to admit that this world created by Dekker and Lee didn’t seem all that far-fetched to me. The part where people have zero emotions wasn’t realistic, true. But the part where people allowed the fear instilled in them by their leaders to motivate their decisions? So possible. And scary.

Anyway, Forbidden was an interesting novel that gave me much food for thought. I would recommend the book, but keep in mind it’s very dystopian in nature and not exactly the most realistic of novels. And there is a bit of blood and gore. But I did enjoy it and will be reading the sequel when it is released.

Please visit the other participants of The Faith and Fiction Roundtable to see what they thought of the book!

Book Hooked Blog | Book Journey | Books and Movies | Crazy for Books | Ignorant Historian | Linus’ Blanket | My Friend Amy | My Random Thoughts | Roving Reads | Semicolon | The 3 R’s | Tina’s Book Reviews | Victorious Cafe | Wordlily

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11 thoughts on “Faith and Fiction Roundtable: Forbidden by Ted Dekker and Tosca Lee

  1. I read Dekker’s “The Boneman’s Daughters” and it was really really violent. I mean, that doesn’t really bother me, but I did feel he was trying to outdo himself. He spoke at SIBA (and for a moment so did Tosca Lee) and he was very very strange. Intriguing, but scary, like I wouldn’t want to be in a room with him alone.

    1. Yeah there was one particular scene in Forbidden that was just too much with the violence. I mean a seriously gory, gross death scene. And based on the subjects he writes about, the fact that he is a creepy/strange dude doesn’t surprise me at all. LOL.

  2. I do love a good dystopian novel, don’t you? It tells so much about what we’re really afraid of and what we value–or at least, what the author thinks we’re afraid of and value. I’ve not read anything by either of the authors, but I may have to give this a try!

  3. So, I take it they didn’t explain how they managed to remove all emotions but fear? I’d want some sort of explanation for that. But, the book sounds fascinating. I am definitely one of those people who have let emotions get in the way of progress. Know what you mean.

  4. I agree with Sandy’s comment. When we heard him speak, I was totally riveted, but he was very strange and I was wondering what was really going on behind those eyes. I do admit to being very intrigued by this book, and it’s sitting right here on the top of my TBR stack just waiting for me to dive right in. I think the points you bring up are very interesting and very true. Fear seems to be a driving force for some pretty deep manipulations. This was an excellent review. Thanks for sharing it with us!

  5. I haven’t read a Ted Dekker yet either but have heard great things. I have Boneman’s Daughters on my TBR and considered reading that as a near-Halloween book. This one sounds really great, and those discussion topics alone give me so much to think about. And in my career, emotions, and the discussion of them, are vital, LOL! I’m going to read Boneman’s Daughters since I have it but if I enjoy it then I will absolutely read this one next!

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