So, Blink was the first book I read by Ted Dekker. And I loved it. It was one of my favourites and one that I re-read multiple times. When I realised it had been re-released, with changes made, I was immediately interested in reading it. And thanks to one of my brothers, who got it for me for Christmas, I was able to read it.
What would you do if you could see something a moment before it happens? That’s the dilemma university student Seth Border faces when he sees a bird fly into a window…a few seconds before the same thing occurs in reality. A surfer with an IQ that’s higher than Einstein’s, Seth doesn’t really feel like he fits in. He sees things in a different way to those of his fellow students and even his professors. It becomes a point of contention between him and one professor, who he can’t resist needling and engaging in a battle of wills with.
As intriguing as it is to read about a genius who develops abilities that he has to figure out how to navigate, Seth isn’t in fact the main character in this book, although he does play a pivotal role. The role of main character belongs to Miriam, a princess from Saudi Arabia who’s on the run from a political marriage that she doesn’t want. Due to a series of events, she falls in with Seth, whose newfound ability seems to grow stronger when he’s in her presence. Ultimately, his gift expands to the point that he can see every potential future, every possible outcome, three hours from the present. And that ends up being as exhausting as it sounds, which is good. Seth’s ability is huge, but he has very human limitations that do lead him to make mistakes and errors in judgement. These serve to make him a more ‘human’ character.
There were a lot of changes in this book from the original and I’m not sure all of them were for the better. Miriam’s new thoughts and ideals in this new edition were at odds with her actions and behaviour. There was no clear reason for the change; they weren’t worked seamlessly into her motivations and I was left wondering why this version of Miriam was running away when she was actively coming across as being happy and contented with a lot of her life. Seth remained the same as I remembered, though there was a missing scene in which he gets into a theological argument with a pastor that I felt would have added so much more to the book. In fact, I felt like a lot of the Christian elements of the book were removed…which was a major shame, as I feel it’s more detrimental to the feel of the original. My understanding is that this book is going to be made into a movie…and I feel like a lot of unnecessary changes were made to sell/cater to that audience. Like Miriam likening Seth to a Greek god. Repeatedly. She’d always come across as someone attracted more to the mind/personality than looks, so I can’t help thinking this is linked to the movie deal.
Sita’s drowning was as harrowing as I remembered it being; and Omar is as awful. I also liked the political aspects that many of the characters, from those native to Saudi Arabia through to those in the USA, had to deal with. There was a very moral dilemma on what value could be placed on a human life and I thought that came across very well. I also enjoyed seeing Clive and Seth interacting with each other. That was a relationship I would have liked to see more of.
I’m really disappointed that I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I did the original. I know why some of the changes were made, but I think they really detracted from the story I’d so much loved in the original. The character changes shouldn’t have felt as jarring as they did. Miriam was such a strong presence in the original book and I felt she really lost some of that in this one.
I do want to watch the movie when it comes out, as I hope it won’t stray too far from the world and the characters that I loved so much. I can’t say that I plan to read this version of the book again in the near future, though. It definitely didn’t keep me turning the pages in an effort to find out what was going to happen next. In reality, I kept turning the pages because I wanted to reach the end as fast as possible so that I could move onto something I enjoyed more.