Black: The Birth of Evil (Circle #1) by Ted Dekker
If you die in your sleep, do you die in real life?
Thomas Hunter is a man split between two worlds, but the problem is he can’t figure out which one is real, and which is the dream. If either is a dream at all.
In the modern world, Tom is a struggling writer with a shady background littered with poor choices, but when he goes to sleep, he awakens in a future, fantastical world where Good and Evil are separated, and the presence of God (by the name of Elyar) is a revitalizing, real element. The problem is he has no memory of his existence in this world.
Both worlds feel real (both to Thomas and the reader), and he must save both, though in different ways. His choices in one world affect what happens in the other.
While it took me awhile to get into the story and accepting of the weird “colored forest” land with fuzzy bats and magic water, once the plot picked up in both worlds, my attention was hooked.
I prefer the “modern” world, in Bangkok, to the magic one, simply because it’s easier to picture, relate to, and I prefer the story of a mutating virus and how Thomas must, against all odds and everyone’s disbelief, stop it.
The story in the “colored forest” world is more about temptation, the nature of good and evil, and employs strong religious undertones (i.e. allegory of the events in the Bible, complete with religious symbols). The fantasy world is very black or white, the representation of God is a little boy who hugs everyone and tells them he loves them, and everyone is very innocent and playful; whereas the Evil, black, side of the world is filled with killer bats, a deceiving Devil figure, and death and destruction. Dekker, is, however, a Christian author, so be forewarned if that isn’t your thing. As someone who is not super religious, the representation was too obvious at times and somewhat distracting, though I was able to still enjoy the story as a whole.
This book is part one of a four-part Circle series, and the ending is definitely a cliffhanger and doesn’t leave the reader with any major answers.