Hey, it’s Alexa! Now, I’ve been a fan of Ted Dekker for a while; I love his suspenseful style of writing, how he blends terrifying elements of fantasy and faith to create the most superb supernatural stories.
But this one, this Water Walker, it’s on a whole other level. When I picked it up, I was expecting another awesome adrenaline rush, some frightening mental images, and scary situations that the charries eventually escape from but are forever changed by. I wasn’t expecting to receive none of that (well, except the last one), but to love it anyway. To be utterly swept off my feet, to have my entire worldview flipped.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Back Cover Description:
My name is Alice Ringwald but the man who kidnapped me says that’s a lie. he calls me Eden and says he’s taking me to be with my mother.
But my mother, like everything else in my past, is dead.
Or so I thought.
Thirteen-year-old orphan Alice Ringwald has no memory beyond six months ago. The only life she knows is the new one she’s creating one day at a time with the loving couple who recently adopted her and gave her new hope.
That hope, however, is shattered one night when a strange man comes to her door. Her real mother is alive, he says, and begs her to return home. When Alice won’t leave with him, the man forces his way into the house and abducts her.
In a frantic manhunt, the FBI pursues, but the man slips through their fingers. He and Alice vanish without a trace.
So begins Water Walker, a modern-day parable that examines the staggering power of forgiveness and reminds us it’s possible to live free of the hurt that keeps our souls in chains.
Water Walker had a wonderful, intriguing, and confusing beginning. For the first 60 pages or so, I wasn’t really sure who to root for. Yeah, Wyatt and Kathryn were kidnapping the girl, but in a book like this, you have to leave some room for the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they had a really good reason, like she’d been stolen from them in the first place. Maybe someone was after Alice. Maybe somebody was trying to kill her. Maybe they’d been searching for her forever, were at their absolute wit’s end, and had no idea what else to do.
I don’t know. It could happen.
Around 60 pages, though, I started to get a grip on what was happening and therefore whose side I was on (not gonna tell you, of course. You’re just going to have to read it for that). And from that point, we were off. It was a supremely awesome, twisty-turny, enthralling ride, and I enjoyed every second of it.
Like I said at the beginning, though, Water Walker is different than most of Mr. Dekker’s books, at least the ones I’ve read. I mean, if you’re looking for a scare-you-silly story with a thoroughly fantastical feel, you’re not gonna find it here (don’t leave yet! I’m about to tell you why you gotta read it anyway). This book deals with more real-life issues and has only a hint of the supernatural stuff, which I’m not going to describe because spoilers.
Plus, it’s not scary. At least not in the oh-my-gosh-demons-are-coming-after-me kind of way. I feared for Alice because of the situations she was in, but I myself wasn’t scared, didn’t feel personally threatened, by anything that happened. If that makes any sense.
Anywho, it’s still one of the most well-crafted, compelling books I’ve ever read. The writing draws you into Alice’s story as thoroughly and completely as any of Mr. Dekker’s other books.
Plot: 5 stars out of 5.
These characters were fantastic. Even the ones I didn’t particularly like were written such that I at least understood them and the motivations behind their actions. All the mains were real, engaging characters with difficult, complicated backstories that constantly popped up in their present, all of it twisted and twined together to shape everything about who they are.
While we obviously didn’t get into the supporting characters’ heads as much, they were all still interesting, real-feeling people. Especially Bobby, Alice’s adorable little brother. That child was just precious. You could read the book just for him.
The only character I wish I’d gotten more on was Zeke. I really don’t think I can say more than that because spoilers, but I do wish his motives and beliefs had been a bit clearer.
Characters: 4 3/4 stars out of 5.
The language of this book is just beautiful. I love how Mr. Dekker gave a special voice to each character when in her POV. Like I said in the character section, you could see the things that drove them, the things that made them each true and unique in their own way.
The book is set mostly in a swamp area, and that came alive in a style I’ve rarely seen. Because Alice had a fear of water, it made the idea of spending years of your life surrounded by mud and marshland that much more terrifying. In fact, the swamp, and the idea of the swamp, came back in a remarkable way to help Alice get past her past and the wrongs that were done to her. To help her forgive and become a Water Walker.
Also, the message of this story is very thought-provoking. It’s the sort of book you just want to read again and again until you somehow glean all the impossible truth from it. Like you just wanna sit back and bask in everything that you’ve read, not till you understand it, but till you feel it.
Writing Style/Setting: 5 stars out of 5.
Overall, we come in at slightly less than 5 stars out of 5, but we could just round it up to 5 if it makes everybody feel better. Water Walker was as thoroughly riveting as any of my favorites, but in a completely different way than most of the fantasy and sci-fi books I adore. It’s shocking and awesome and amazing and beautiful, and I can’t even say I completely understand it, but I can say that I was utterly blown away. The ending totally transformed the way I saw the story, maybe even the way I see life. Water Walker is a phenomenal book about the power of God’s love and what forgiveness truly means. And trust me, it’s probably not what you think it is.
Well, after that rather long ending, I’m going to finally close with this: I don’t just recommend it; I put Water Walker on the rank of like two other books I’ve ever read and call it a must-read. I’m serious. You have to read this book. Go pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble for $13.46.