Rise of the Mystics

Rise of the Mystics

Some say the great mystery of how one can live in two worlds at once died with Thomas Hunter many years ago. Still others that the gateway to that greater reality was and is only the stuff of dreams. They are all wrong.Rachelle Matthews, who grew up in the small town of Eden, Utah, discovered just how wrong when she dreamed and awoke in another world. There she learned tha...

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Title:Rise of the Mystics
Author:Ted Dekker
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Edition Language:English

Rise of the Mystics Reviews

  • Evan Morgan

    A compelling, revelatory, and emotional journey, Rise of the Mystics brings not only the story that began with The 49th Mystic to an end, but also the story that began with Black fifteen years ago.

  • Amy

    Ted Dekker continues to capture the hearts and minds of his readers with his latest book Rise of the Mystics. It being even better than its predecessor The 49th Mystic. Dekker weaves the truths of The Forgotten Way into a compelling and thrilling story of adventure but at its core love. And not just any love story but the story of true love. His storytelling is phenomenal as he leaves the reader with a greater understanding of what true love means and challenges their beliefs.

  • Rebekah Kopenski

    What an ending to a powerful story! This book gives you the need to take Ted Dekker’s words to heart and truly dive deep!

    Dive deep not only into more if Ted’s writings but into the teachings of Jesus...into Yeshua Himself.

    So dive deep, Beloved.

    You won’t be disappointed.

  • Celeste

    Rise of the Mystics truly elevates Dekker’s body of work, somehow both shattering and fulfilling the core of his Circle series. The issues that I had with The 49th Mystic, namely that the dialogue often felt stilted and that certain elements of Rachelle’s journey seemed too convenient, weren’t present here. I don’t know if there was a legitimate change or if I had just been reading starker prose than normal, but Dekker’s actual writing style se

    Rise of the Mystics truly elevates Dekker’s body of work, somehow both shattering and fulfilling the core of his Circle series. The issues that I had with The 49th Mystic, namely that the dialogue often felt stilted and that certain elements of Rachelle’s journey seemed too convenient, weren’t present here. I don’t know if there was a legitimate change or if I had just been reading starker prose than normal, but Dekker’s actual writing style seemed greatly improved, as well. There was a flow to his prose that has been missing for a while, and the plot seemed to flow more naturally instead of feeling forced to take a certain path. I also really appreciated that this book picked up exactly where the first book ended, and that Dekker provided a quick recap of important events from The 49th Mystic at the beginning. Both of these decisions show a thoughtfulness in regards to the reader that authors sometimes overlook, and I respect authors when they take the time to include things like recaps and casts of characters and glossaries.

    I’m not going to say much about the plot, as even the simplest statements could give away important plot points of The 49th Mystic, this book’s predecessor. However, I will say that I truly appreciated the growth of our main character, as well as that of many of the supporting characters. Both Rachelle and the other characters around her took on a depth of dimension they were lacking in the first book. There was real struggle in this novel, naked doubt and fear and uncertainty. There was real anger and true rage and even truer love. There was premeditated sacrifice of self, which is one of the most meaningful gifts one person can give another. There was immense beauty revealed through the harshest brutality. Above all, there was the decision to completely trust the Creator with every element of life, because He’s the one that designed each one in the first place.

    The reason I have always loved Ted Dekker, even when I was sometimes disappointed in his craftsmanship, is threefold. First, the man is a wonderful storyteller. His prose might not sing, but the story he has to tell is always vibrant and moving and feels somehow more real than those crafted by authors who pen lovely sentences. Second, there is so much spiritual depth to every book Dekker publishes. Each story has a second layer to it, as if the tale we are actually reading is simply a parable, something that explains a deep spiritual truth in a way we can more easily understand. Because of this, the core of these stories resonates and stays with me for years, shaping my theology in subtle ways. Third, I really appreciate the way he ties so many of his stories together. There are only two other authors I can think of who make this much effort to weave their tales together, those being Brandon Sanderson and Stephen King. As someone who beliefs deeply in God and whose faith in Him colors the entirety of my worldview, I am completely enamored by the thought of so many varied elements coming together to create an overarching design of some sort; that’s how I believe God works, so I love seeing that in fiction.

    If you couldn’t tell from the gushing above, I really loved this book. Dekker has always been one of my favorite authors because his concepts resonate with me so deeply, though in recent years I’ve been disappointed in the technical side of his books. I don’t know if this is because I’ve read so much more as an adult and have thus experienced far better writing, or if Dekker had just slacked in the craftsmanship department for a while. Whatever the case, it was such a relief for me to pick up this book and just disappear into the story without being distracted by my inner critic. While this duology can technically stand on its own (though you do absolutely have to read The 49th Mystic before this book, or you’ll be completely lost), I highly recommend reading Dekker’s other works first, especially his Circle series. The Paradise trilogy and The Outlaw Chronicles also have multiple tie-ins within these two books, but you could absolutely read them after the duology should you choose. If you’ve read Dekker’s work in the past, I can’t recommend these two novels strongly enough. They do a fantastic job of weaving together almost everything Dekker has written. Even if The 49th Mystic was a bit weak in places, it’s absolutely worth reading just to get to Rise of the Mystics. The Circle will never be the same.

    Dive Deep, my friends.

  • lisa elis

    Even better than the first one!! this is a marvelous duology and I love the role Thomas Hunter played in here and how it's a kinda alternate ending to Green ... and out main character goes through so much. My only problem was wondering how to read the allegory/fantasy aspects into real life ... sometimes I wasn't sure that I agreed with Ted Dekker, and then I wasn't sure if I was translating things correctly for the real world but oh well. A wonderfully wild ride this was anyway!!

  • Jerry

    Another impressive allegory from Ted Dekker. Hope to see more of these characters.

  • Natasha

    I am super grateful to have received Rise of the Mystics as an Advance Reader Copy, and as requested, I’m offering my honest review. I am a huge fan of Ted Dekker and have read most of his books. Having said that, Rise of the Mystics is not my favorite, and some of the reasons I’ve liked Dekker’s books in the past are part of the reason this one didn’t work as well for me. What I’ve always liked about Dekker’s books is how he interweaves Truth into these gripping stories in such a way that I’m e

    I am super grateful to have received Rise of the Mystics as an Advance Reader Copy, and as requested, I’m offering my honest review. I am a huge fan of Ted Dekker and have read most of his books. Having said that, Rise of the Mystics is not my favorite, and some of the reasons I’ve liked Dekker’s books in the past are part of the reason this one didn’t work as well for me. What I’ve always liked about Dekker’s books is how he interweaves Truth into these gripping stories in such a way that I’m entertained AND take home a new understanding of God without feeling like I’ve been preached to. The story of Rise of the Mystics is fascinating, and the Truths are important, but I do feel like I’ve been preached to, which takes a little bit away from the story and the whole reading experience for me.

    Now, Rachelle’s whole journey centers on learning these spiritual Truths about herself and the world. So, there kind of have to be didactic parts to the book. I think I might have been more awed by those teachings if I was not already as familiar with Dekker’s nonfiction The Forgotten Way as I am. On the other hand, this practical approach to those Truths, as lived out by Rachelle, does help them stick better in the mind. Like Rachelle, I’ve been on my own journey to let go of grievance and fear. It’s not easy, and like Rachelle in the book, I need lots of reminders. So, this book was good for that for me, particularly as she got closer to the Fifth Seal. By then, I felt like there was more gentle revelation and less textbook information.

    [Spoilers follow]

    It was the end of the book, though, that confused and worried me a bit: the part where a wave of love washes over everyone in Other Earth and changes the hearts of even the most hardhearted humans. Miraculously, everyone is changed and saved to live in Justin’s new realm of peace, want to or not, arguably. This only happens in Other Earth, where the rules have always been a bit different. On Earth, everyone still has to make the journey on their own, so the picture given on Other Earth is confusing. It’s a powerful picture, yes. Everyone can be saved by God’s love, even cruel Ba’al. Sadly, it’s hard to believe everyone would choose that love, and in reality, we do get to make the choice on our own, though in the story, it doesn’t seem like it. Is Dekker trying to say everyone will be saved, no matter their beliefs or actions? I know love is the key, but throughout Earth’s existence, people have purposely turned their backs on God’s love time and time again, thinking they knew a better way. On Other Earth, they did, too. It just doesn’t ring true for the whole of Other Earth to have a wholesale change of heart. If the road from blindness to sight isn’t straightforward on our Earth, why is it presented in such a way in Other Earth? There’s some confusing theology here, which matters because Dekker is sharing his thoughts on real theology (it’s not just fiction).

    It’s hard to present an entire picture of the truth in a story that’s fiction. There are bound to be theological discrepancies or exclusions, even errors, on the part of the writer and misunderstandings on the part of the reader. After all, we live in a world bound in polarity, as Dekker puts it. We can’t see the whole picture, the real picture, if you will. The Bible does that for us. I enjoyed Rachelle’s journey and enjoyed unraveling what it means to really love one another. I saw through new eyes some of those wonderful Truths Dekker presents. But I’m also a little sad because what I believe isn’t completely reconciling with my favorite author’s beliefs. I just think it’s important that each of us read the Bible and make sure that wherever we are gaining revelation from, it checks out.

  • Rachel

    I'm a mess of conflicting emotions -- confusion and disappointment uppermost. I might one day write a longer review, but for now I'll just copy some points across from my updates as I read.

    Too many now-common YA Tropes (Eerie Pale Skinned Brunette, Love Triangle, Insta-Love, Small Town With Secrets, Chosen One, Mary Sue, I could go on...), too much telling instead of showing,

    I'm a mess of conflicting emotions -- confusion and disappointment uppermost. I might one day write a longer review, but for now I'll just copy some points across from my updates as I read.

    Too many now-common YA Tropes (Eerie Pale Skinned Brunette, Love Triangle, Insta-Love, Small Town With Secrets, Chosen One, Mary Sue, I could go on...), too much telling instead of showing, too much winking and kissing knuckles and cocking eyebrows and spitting.

    The Eden storyline in the first book was the only one I was at all interested in; the Real Earth plot in the second book was average at best; and I still struggle to even name the main thrust of the events on Other Earth, which were both boring and confusing.

    Talya's chapters were yawn-worthy and seemed to be a transparent excuse for ongoing Author Theological Tracts, which sucks when Ted's theology has changed to the point where I can no longer agree with parts of it (more on that later).

    From updates:

    * "I heard little Maya speak beside me." Oh for goodness' sake. WHAT ABOUT THAT SENTENCE NEEDED "I HEARD" INSERTED IN IT?! COME OFF IT, DEKKER, YOU'RE BETTER THAN THIS."

    * "Okay, I had to skip back two pages and re-read a section because of the oddly amateurish mistake of describing someone multiple times as "the mother" instead of by their name, which made me think Person A was dead when it was really Person B."

    * "All the Other Earth plots seem a) really slow and b) like transparent excuses for Ted to sermonise about the ---Five Truths--- sparklesparkle, which is c) disappointing given his past stance on story being paramount and d) a letdown because I don't agree with all of his theology."

    * "Words we really don't need: "I thought," "I saw," "he heard", "somehow sensing," and any variations of. Especially in first person POV. Also, "he knew," example, "By the long look on his face I knew Tom didn't like whatever his thoughts were." Crikey, that's a convoluted and needless sentence. Tom didn't like whatever Tom himself was thinking? And Protag has to explain that overtly for the reader? Really?"

    * "Ted, you're describing a lion that is LITERALLY named Judah. Give the darned cat some texture and weight and colour, for pete's sake, especially when said lion is HUGGING A MAN. #CSLewisDidItBetter"

    There was a lot here that was good, but there was also a lot that I simply didn't agree with, not helped by the fact it was couched in terms that were part-Fantasy, part-Science, and part-pseudo-Mystical (ha, geddit) and fully deserved the in-text-accused label of New Age Crap. The reasoning was chaotic and circular, the terms used were confusing at best, and biblical statements like "Christ is all; Christ is in all" are acknowledged, unpacked, and then added to, i.e. "Christ is me; Christ is in me," which changes the meaning and, to my view, perverts the whole thrust of the message.

    From updates:

    * "The same 'there is no death' blanket statement carried forward from the last book. Hoping for some explanation there but no. No explanation. Just: there is no death, Verbatim. Multiple times. Ugh. Come on. No. Jesus died, man. If there is no resurrection of the dead then Christ was not raised, etc..."

    * " "The Seals [Mystical Truths sparklesparkle TM] are easily forgotten until you have all five."

    Ugh, Narnia/ Silver Chair's "Remember, remember, remember the signs" was so much clearer and more simple than this melodramatic, enigmatic mysticism -- and I feel like they were far more accurate because of that, too."

    *" "Judgment of yourself and others -- I am naked, naked is bad, she is cruel, he is Horde -- casts you out of the garden...."

    Wait wait hold up. The 'garden' is Eden. So, in context, Ted is saying that all sin is judgement and all judgement is sin (original sin or otherwise)? Ehhhhhhhhhh I don't know. I'd need to unpack that a little more. Or a lot."

    *" "...my practice is to align my sight to love. This is how my binding to the world of judgement falls away."

    These books have been over-steeped in language that is as far beyond Christianese as Christianese is beyond plain English -- and I don't mean that in a good way. I feel like I need to go read Mere Orthodoxy to cleanse my brain. If I'm struggling with it as a Christian, how much will a non-Christian understand?"

    * "Wait, what? So everyone gets saved at the end anyway? What about hell? The outer darkness, wailing and gashing of teeth, depart from me, I never knew you? All that? Hello? Ring any bells?"

    * " "All practical good was useless if done in the energy of fear rather than the energy of love." And then you wonder why other characters label it New Age Crap..."

    It's a terrible thing to fall out of love with an author. I've changed as a reader; Ted has clearly changed, not just as a writer, but in his beliefs. I still love his early books; I still love the original trilogy. But I can't say that I look forward to reading his next book, if he ever writes another one, which he has implied that he won't.

    The big three overall thoughts, taken from my updates as I read:

    * "The depth of the author revisionism in this chapter [or duology] is a little ridiculous."

    * "I could make a drinking game out of the words "earthen vessel" and (especially) "polarity", but I would have been completely sloshed before I was halfway through the first book.

    e.g.,

    "Earthen vessels. But you can use your own terms."

    "These clay bodies."

    WOW THAT'S SO DIFFERENT. Bingo, check, take a drink!"

    * "Okay, classic Red Lake encounter! I should be crying. I should be bawling my eyes out, and I'm not. I'm sitting here feeling nothing. Have I changed that much as a reader? Has Ted changed that much as an author? Is it that I can't trust the emotional stuff because I see too many problems with the theology behind it? I'm sad...

    ...I should care about these characters, and I don't. I don't remember what they look like, I don't really care what happens to them, and the sad thing is I can see this happening every time Ted's theology changes again, now. The Circle was fine at the end of White, they'd found their resolution, they were the Bride awaiting the Groom. Now? I don't even know what they are now, because these books are so bogged down in...

    ...circular, confusing philosophy and theology that seems to take five times as many words as needed to get to the point, and still stumbles over itself. Will this happen again? Will our characters get a resolution at the end of Rise, and then Ted decides in another ten years that he was wrong and another trilogy comes out featuring another magic mental-button-push to show Thomas & Co how misled they were?...

    ...I still love the original trilogy. I love the emotion inherent in it, and I trust the logic and theology that underpins it. But 49th and Rise? I don't trust the logic and theology here, so I don't trust the emotion it produces. A Red Lake encounter should leave me bawling, but I'm cold. I just don't care, and that makes me sad...

    ...Ted has aways been strong in two areas: story and theology. When the story simply isn't there and the theology is a sprawling, conflicting mess, what remains?"

  • Victoria Vogt

    Ted Dekker takes the dive with his readers yet again into the world of the Circle series. The Rise of the Mystics is the conclusion to a spin off series that features new faces and many of the beloved characters from the original story arc in Circle. Now, to be clear you do not need to have read The Circle or it's YA fiction companion The Lost Chronicles to grasp the concepts in this book, but I would highly recommend reading the Circle series first in order to have a firm understanding of some

    Ted Dekker takes the dive with his readers yet again into the world of the Circle series. The Rise of the Mystics is the conclusion to a spin off series that features new faces and many of the beloved characters from the original story arc in Circle. Now, to be clear you do not need to have read The Circle or it's YA fiction companion The Lost Chronicles to grasp the concepts in this book, but I would highly recommend reading the Circle series first in order to have a firm understanding of some of the main concepts that shape the world you would find yourself traveling.

    In this sequel to The 49th Mystic, our heroine Rachelle continues her crusade to find the Seals on Earth, while learning the Truths of Elyon on Other Earth. Talya, Jacob, and a few surprise guest, both Horde and Albino, continue to help shape Rachelle in her journey of revelation to prevent the fall of not just one, but both worlds into darkness. She finds herself clashing with the shadowman Vlad as he continues to cast darkness and devour the Light at every turn.

    Since high school, Ted Dekker has been my favorite author. My favorite books, the books I remember fondly are written by Ted Dekker. To say I should be biased to favor his writing would be a correct assumption. But. This was probably my least favorite piece that Ted Dekker has written. My style of reading is very straight forward. If I love it, I read it and I can't put it down. If I don't love it, I close the book, put it away and then maybe in a few months to years try again if I think about it. This book was one that I would have put down and walked away from, but I received it to review so I felt as though I suffered as I suffered through many a required reading in highschool AP English.

    This was a stereotypical Dekker novel. Protagonist, spiritual warfare, and metaphors to explain Biblical truths about our faith and standing with the Lord. It had traces of his previous work, A Child Called Blessed. But unlike that book (which I highly recommend to anyone struggling with finding who they are in Christ), this book fell short. The discussions, that were meant to guide the reader to the Seals instead, in my opinion, were lacking. He uses a multitude of metaphors to come to the same conclusion, it was difficult to read and honestly took away from the story and the ultimate conclusions, the Seals (which will not be disclosed here). This was an emotional journey, driven by emotions, maybe since I'm not inherently an emotional person I had trouble with the dialogue. The reasoning was circular, repetitive, and honestly exhausting to read. To be frank, it was like a cow, chewing the cud, swallowing, digesting in the stomach and then regurgitating it up to chew on again. Ted did make good use of Scripture to support his points and I definitely appreciated that. Also, Tayla's journal helps the reader decipher the cacophony of the subjects being taught. I usually enjoy the banter that Ted uses to make a point in his conversations, but this was too much.

    The story, on the other hand, was done well. The emotions and reactions that Rachelle had were relatable, as her character was meant to be. Though Tayla was not my favorite, I did appreciate his consistency and tenacity in working Rachelle to a conclusion. The meshing of the worlds, if you would, holds true the original story of Circle I so fondly remember. This journey, though chaotic, was something relatable to the journey we all take in life, with the need of constant reminders from those around us and gentle prodding toward the truth.

    I probably would not recommend this book to anyone who was not already a Dekker reader. Due to the confusing banter and an ending I honestly did not agree with theologically. I would say that Dekker and I usually line up quite well with our beliefs, but there were a few things in this particular book that I could not agree with Biblically. Salvation is offered to all mankind, but not all mankind choose to receive, because true love wants you to choose Christ and His Father, not have it forced upon you. Not everyone will be embraced by the Lord at the end of their lives, because not everyone chooses Christ. It's not love because no matter what you decide you still are a Child of God, it's love because you get to choose to be His child.

    I would give this book 2.5/5 due to circular and repetitive reasoning cuppled with the fact that there are serious theological errors, especially the ending.

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