A.D. 33

A.D. 33A.D. 33 by Ted Dekker
Genres: Biblical Fiction
Published by Center Street on October 6, 2015
Pages: 384
Also by this author: A.D. 30 Abridged Edition

 

About A.D. 33 (from the back cover):
They call her the Queen of the Outcasts. Maviah, a woman whose fate was sealed on her birth by this world-unwanted, illegitimate, female, a slave-subject to the whims of all. But then she met a man named Yeshua who opened her eyes. She found strength in his words, peace from the brutal world around her. Because of what he taught her, she has gathered her own traveling kingdom of outcasts deep in the desert, wielding an authority few have seen. But when her growing power threatens the rulers around her, they set out to crush all she loves, leaving her reeling as a slave once more. She must find Yeshua to save her people, but when she does, she will be horrified to discover that he faces his own death. 

Enter a story full of intrigue, heart-wrenching defeat, uncompromising love and staggering victory-one that re-examines everything you thought you knew about the heart of Jesus’s stunning message and the power that follows for those who follow his easily forgotten way. 

Having read almost all of Ted Dekker’s work, it has become easier to recognize when a book reflects a time of personal growth and spiritual discernment. Such is the case with A.D. 33, and Ted makes no secret about this (see Waking Up). This book is as much the author’s journey as it is the characters and there is a certain amount of enthusiasm and passion that comes through on the pages. From a reader’s perspective, I appreciate when an author pours their heart onto the pages of their work and when Ted does this, I’m rarely disappointed in what he has to say.

I appreciate when an author pours their heart onto the pages of their work and when Ted does this, I’m rarely disappointed in what he has to say.

While overall I enjoyed A.D. 33, there were a couple of aspects I didn’t particularly enjoy. So let’s get those out of the way first. Throughout A.D. 30 and again in A.D. 33, I was never able to warm to Maviah’s character. She wasn’t balanced enough to be likable. The reader sees her flaws and struggles, but not much else. As a result she feels very dramatic and oftentimes causes the story to sag.

However, the biggest issue with her character is that she’s the main narrator. Though I realize some people struggle with the first person POV, I tend to enjoy stories told from this perspective. It normally gives the reader insight they would not otherwise be privileged to. But in A.D. 33, there were many times in the scenes involving Yeshua, I was mentally telling her to shut up. Especially in the Garden of Gethsemane—the scene is amazingly powerful and then Maviah inserts herself and the spell is broken. Some of this is the inherent ‘risk’ of first person POV, but some of the problem was simply I didn’t like Maviah’s character enough to want her input. I wanted to take the journey with Yeshua, not with Maviah.

I thoroughly enjoyed the dream sequences with both Talya and Maviah. The imagination, passion, and tension are captivating, teleporting the reader back in time and seeing the fall of man in a slightly different light.

Aside from these two issues, the rest of the book is really quite fantastic. I thoroughly enjoyed the dream sequences with both Talya and Maviah. The imagination, passion, and tension are captivating, teleporting the reader back in time and seeing the fall of man in a slightly different light. The visual representation serves to enhance scripture while connecting the events in Genesis to Jesus’ death. These scenes are incredibly powerful and some of the best Ted has written.

 A.D. 33 is not a self-help book, so there are no trite answers. But it does offer the reader food for thought and numerous opportunities for self-evaluation.

Both A.D. 30 and A.D. 33 have addressed some important issues with modern day Christianity. I thoroughly appreciate that Ted is not afraid to point out what most of us know—many times, as Christians we do not seem to love or have more peace or mercy than non-Christians. I love that these challenges facing Christians are front and center in this book. A.D. 33 is not a self-help book, so there are no trite answers. But it does offer the reader food for thought and numerous opportunities for self-evaluation.

While this book has many quotable lines and ideas to ponder, this one is perhaps my favorite. “In the first garden, the first Adam, me had said, ‘Not your will, but mine’, and eaten of the knowledge of good and evil, which was judgment and grievance. In the second garden, the second Adam, Yeshua, had said, ‘Not my will, but yours’, and surrendered his life.” These little nuggets are tucked through out this book and open the door for some great discussion. A.D. 33 is definitely an excellent choice for book clubs.

Though I struggled with Maviah’s character, A.D. 33 manages to overcome this obstacle and ultimately I enjoyed this book. There are parts that I could truly read over and over again and still be captivated by them. But the best aspect of this book is in the truths that speak deeply to the reader, challenging them to understand what we could be if we believe in Jesus.

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