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Immanuel's Veins

1 rating: 3.0
A book by Ted Dekker

This story is for everyone--but not everyone is for this story. It is a dangerous tale of times past. A torrid love story full of deep seduction. A story of terrible longing and bold sacrifice. Then as now, evil begins its courtship cloaked in light. … see full wiki

Tags: Book, Cafe Libri
Author: Ted Dekker
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
1 review about Immanuel's Veins

Thin Plot and Bland Characters

  • Aug 25, 2010
Set in 1772, Toma Nicolescu was a servant to the Russian Empress, Catherine the Great. He and his friend Alek were assigned to watch the Cantemir estate where twin daughters and their mother lived. The daughters were rumored to be strikingly beautiful and given Alek's susceptibility to women, Toma had been charged by the empress to not be taken by the Cantemir twins. On the night of their arrival, there was a summer ball at the Cantemir estate and much to his surprise, Toma found himself hopeless in love with Lucine. Trying to remain loyal to his duty, he repressed his love for her and within days a Russian Duke, Vlad van Valerik asked for permission to court her. Having met Vlad at the ball, Toma knows there is something evil about this man and that evil soon becomes consuming. Can love win Lucine's heart or will the allure of seduction and the promise of power prevail?

Immanuel's Veins is first and for most a love story. It has the currently popular vampire element and shares some common themes regarding vampires and blood with Eric Wilson's Jerusalem's Undead series (which incidentally is excellent). It's dark and sensual, but unfortunately unrealistic, with bland characters, and a very thin plot.

For there to be any hope of me liking a romance, I've got to like the characters and I have to believe they're in love--neither of which happened. Toma was undoubtedly infatuated with Lucine, but there was little reason provided for his love and given that the prevailing internal thoughts revolved around her beauty leaves me with the distinct impression this was not love. Additionally, when a character consistently professes their love for 150 pages, it eventually becomes empty and melodramatic. The lack of engaging characters eventually became detrimental, when what should have been a fantastic finish was instead distasteful. The ending was not exactly unique to Dekker's books anyway, but this time, it came off as minimalizing the sacrifice of our true savior, which I know was never intended--only a consequence of non-compelling characters and sketchy plot.

It took me over a week to make it through the first 200 pages. With a slim story line, scant suspense, and shaky characters there was little motivation to continue. The beginnings of a plot started about150 pages in, but the story didn't become engaging for another 100 pages. Even then it was routinely interrupted with reminders of Toma's love for Lucine, which at that point had truly becoming an annoying distraction.

There were parts of Immanuel's Veins that were spectacular. I loved how the role of the church was portrayed. It was some of Dekker's best writing in years. It's been far too long since he has graced us with a theme that wasn't blatantly spelled out in neon writing. I loved this part of the story and as usually he's right on. Additionally the presentation of the pull of evil's seduction was fantastic and reminiscent of parts of Showdown. There were also some sections that had that wonderful feel of watching a movie, where scenes flowed flawlessly and the writing was gripping. Unfortunately, these sections were minimal and often times prematurely ended by a reminder that Toma believed he was madly in love with Lucine.

While I don't expect to connect with every book an author writes, I've been disappointed with Dekker's recent work, feeling as though they were unoriginal and lacking in the subtly that first drew me to his writing. I've kept reading them in the hope that he will once again create books that capture my heart and imagination and that they will contain the fun, fast paced adventures, and insightful thoughts that have made some of his books my favorites. This isn't the one though. It had parts that were absolutely amazing, but overall it was a disappointment.

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September 03, 2010
Fantastic review! Great depth and insight into the story and plot. Too bad that it was a disappointment overall. I've run across books like that...which I hope turn out to be better than they are, especially based on the author behind the tale.
September 03, 2010
Thank you. I appreciate the feed back. I agree--the disappointment's always stronger when it's an author we follow.
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