Disclaimer: I voluntarily received a copy of The Girl Behind the Red Rope by Ted and Rachelle Dekker, from Revell. All opinions are my own.
I’ve never read anything by Ted Dekker before; all I know
about him is that he’s a fairly popular Christian author. He teamed up with his
daughter, also an author, for The Girl
Behind the Red Rope, a book that initially seems to simply be about a cult
that separates itself from the world, but then delves into Frank Peretti
territory with ghosts/beings called the Fury and a Jesus-like child named Eli.
Honestly, I think I would have preferred this book simply to
be an exploration of a cult—I probably would have been far more interested.
That’s not to say the book was bad, but I’m simply not a fan of angels and
demons materializing and talking to people (or attacking them). And the fact
that I wasn’t prepared for the supernatural aspect of this book meant that I
was really confused by a lot of things that happened at the beginning until I
realized the true genre of the book. Perhaps that’s something I would have
expected going in if I knew more about Ted Dekker’s works, though.
The Girl Behind the Red Rope is hugely allegorical, to the point of repetitiveness at times. There’s the demon creatures “the Fury,” whom the cult at Haven Valley have cut themselves off from the world to avoid. There’s the mysterious being Sylous, who appears to Rose, the leader, and gives ominous advice. Then there’sEli, who I think isn’t supposed to be Jesus, but is also supposed to be Jesus…it’s a bit confusing. All the allegory/metaphors are compounded at the end by everyone talking about love, light, darkness, and fear for pages on end—that’s where the repetitiveness comes in. Actually, the whole thing reminded me just a little bit of John Bibee’s Spirit Flyer series, which used similar ideas of demons, chains, and captivity to illustrate biblical concepts. Just like in this book, though, Bibee also went a bit overboard in capturing his image.
I suppose I can see why Ted Dekker is popular, but for me,
I’d prefer a book that tones down the symbolism explanation and is a bit less
on-the-nose in regards to theme. The Girl
Behind the Red Rope is far from terrible, but my expectation of it was
“cult novel” and I got “cult novel but with demons and angels,” which isn’t
really my favorite thing to read.