I'm going to do this book review a little differently: I'll list the pros and cons separately, in bullet-proof format, instead of in paragraph form.
Title: The Circle Series (Black, Red, White, Green)Author: Ted Dekker
* The series was an excellent mix of fantasy and thriller.
* It was well-written and hard to put down. It accomplished the hard feat of putting vivid images in the reader's mind without bogging him down with descriptions.
* It was a very original type of fantasy. It did not have the feel of classic Tolkienesque fantasy with dragons and knights and wizards and elves, and weird names that are hard to pronounce, and dark mysterious forests with giant spiders, and an ancient flowery elvinish-like language to make the story more "cool", etc., etc. It's not that I'm opposed to that type of fantasy, but to be honest, I was really starting to get tired of it, and it was quite refreshing to read something more original.
* Dekker keeps you very grounded in reality throughout the book (because the main character is constantly switching between our world and the other world), so much so that it doesn't feel like you're reading fantasy at all. The other reality becomes just as real and believable as our reality in the book.
* Not only is it a gripping thriller and convincing fantasy; it is an awesome story that revolves around the powerful them of redemption. In the book Black, evil and sin arrive, and humans are separated from God (Romans 3:23). In Red, we witness the great sacrifice; God offers His Son to die, and restores the relationship between humans and God (John 3:16). White highlights how the relationship between God and mankind is like a Great Romance; He is the groom and the deliverer, and we are His precious bride (Revelation 21:9, Song of Solomon). And the color Green represents how anyone who is in God finds new life, and an eternal home in Heaven (John 14:2-3).
* Anyway (continuing the thought from the last point), I thought the story on its own -- take out the page-turning plot, well-developed characters, originality, etc. -- was absolutely beautiful, and it was what truly made the series. Otherwise, they'd just be another collection of entertaining but generally pointless thrillers; instead they are entertaining thrillers that also have a moving portrayal of redemption. You will come away from this series seeing God in a whole new way and desiring a relationship with Him even more... at least, I certainly did!
* Warning: The books are bloody and violent... not recommended for young readers!
* The series has a lot of romance, although the romance is not pointless; it plays a part in demonstrating what our relationship with God should be like, in a general sense. I think the overall message of the series would be less powerful without the romance. However, there is also premarital kissing, and some people -- including myself -- may have a problem with that.
* The last book, Green, (or the first book, actually, depending on which order you read the series in), has some telepathic and vampire content. It's a little weird, so be forewarned. This book is by far the creepiest of the four, but once again, it is for a reason; it helps establish the evil side that exists in the story, and considering what that side represents in our world, it's not an exaggeration!
Well, as you can see, I thought there were a lot more pros to the series than cons!
A note about order: While I recommend that you read the series in the order of Black, Red, White, and Green, it can also be read with Green as the first book, followed by the rest in the same order. Dekker designed the series to be read either way. The reason I recommend the first way is because that's the order the series was written in, so it feels a lot more natural. Plus, it's a lot easier to get hooked onto the story when you start with Black, and it's cool to see how in Green, everything unfolds and mysteries from the first three books are answered. The one downside to this order is that Green ends on a mild cliff-hanger, whereas White has a more satisfactory ending. To each his own.
To learn more about The Circle Series, read about all four books on Ted Dekker's official website: http://www.teddekker.com, or see his books on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Complete-Circle-Hardcover-Box-Set/dp/1595547339/.