Book review: House by Ted Dekker & Frank Peretti- reviewed 1-21-13

I have never read any Ted Dekker but I’ve read a lot of Frank Peretti and this book has the typical Peretti issues that I have a hard time with. Most of Peretti’s stories have a long drawn-out beginning or middle that is full meaningless events, going from one character to another and back and forth without pushing the plot forward at all. House is the same: you could tear the front half of the book off and still get basically the same story. I always *want* to like Peretti but get frustrated with the way his stories develop. In my opinion House has WAY too many characters. There are 4 “good guys” and then there’s 3 sort of neutral, but ending up to be “bad guys”, then there THE bad guy, but he’s confused with another guy and then there’s one more “good guy”. And to compound all of that, all of them are duplicated at one point in the story. The story is fraught with scary movie/haunted house cliches. The story gets hard to follow, not because it’s deep, but because the 4 main characters get separated and then regroup and move all around the house so much that you lose track of who’s doing what (granted, part of the mystery of the house is that it is confusing the characters too). Each of the characters ends up confronting the sins & fears on an equal level leaving no one to be THE main character. It’s hard to really like/root for them. In the end there seems to be a kind of forced parallel to Gospel, which I respect but didn’t really like how it worked out.
I will say that House in some ways is unpredictable (although the overlying plot was pretty predictable). There were twists and turns that were surprises and some things were mysterious and interesting about the house.
Overall I’d say the authors could have pared the story down to just Jack and Stephanie in the house, and absorbed all the bad guys into just the Tin Man and made the plot sort of arch up to the climax instead of peak & valley to it.

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One thought on “Book review: House by Ted Dekker & Frank Peretti- reviewed 1-21-13

  1. Yeah this was an interesting book. It’s almost like, “What! I am reading a ‘Christian’ novel?!” at least as far as the possible fear factor goes. I did enjoy the book, however, I agree that there were too many characters and the basement scenarios were hard to follow (either too vague of descriptions or maybe too much description). I typically don’t like reading Dekker, but with Peretti’s help it was a readable novel. The best novel by Peretti, in my opinion, is Monster. I highly recommend it. In typical Peretti form, there is a super slow section, but its finale and ending moral/argument is quite interesting.

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