for the Bookworms, Showcasing other Creatives

Book Review: 49th Mystic & Rise of the Mystics

(Sidenote thought that has no bearing on the review whatsoever: I have so many questions about how the whole “49th” mystic number works. So many questions. And while we’re at it, I have absolutely no idea why the second book was called “Rise of the Mystics”, besides the fact that it’s a fantabulous intriguing title.)

But onto the reviews. I am thrilled to be part of the Rise of the Mystics launch team, but had to jump back and read/review the first book of the series too.

The 49th Mystic

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The 49th Mystic invites us into the world of the Circle once again. The nostalgia is strong with this one. But it’s not just for Circle fans. It’s a new story, a new character to love, beckoning a new generation of Dekkies I suppose. The story feels familiar and new, all at once. A blind girl who falls asleep and dreams of another world. And the fate of both worlds rests in her hands. See? Familiar, and new. Dekker pulls off a satisfying ending with resolution while also including a cliffhanger that leads into the sequel. Go figure. The good news is, you don’t have to wait. The sequel, Rise of the Mystics, is at your fingertips so you can scoop them both up at the same time.

 

Rise of the Mystics

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Rise of the Mystics starts more or less where we left The 49th Mystic. Oh, except the story is turned on its head. I won’t spoil it, but it starts in a fresh way, not just same old same old. The pace of this book moves a little slower than the first, but it’s still a satisfying read. More than that, Dekker is one of the few (only?) writers who can weave a sermon into story without being preachy. A parable. A riveting story that makes you think, question your beliefs. And Rise of the Mystics builds to a great ending, a wonderful conclusion to the Circle world (although it’s not the end of Circle stories) that every Circle reader needs in their life. Snag this book for that alone, to end the journey with the promise fulfilled!

 

And a caveat to the whole Circle series I don’t know how to introduce…

One caveat I’ll give, something that disturbed me this time around about the Circle world that I wish I’d noticed years before: The representation of the horde and the albino seems racially insensitive, with traditionally black descriptors (for example, dreadlocks) assigned to the stinky diseased horde and typically white descriptors (like the name “albinos”) for those who have been cleansed. The story includes a brief phrase that clarifies the albinos are called that for the smoothness of their skin, not the color, but that felt a little forced when albino has always been about color not smoothness. I wrestled with this a long time, because I like to give honest positive reviews and I appreciate Dekker’s work. I’m mentioning it because it seems insensitive to me, and I’m surprised that no one else has raised this concern (although TV tropes lists the series under “Fantastic Racism”).

 

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