First, a big thanks to John for the shout-out in yesterday’s interview. Yes, it’s true, I had the pleasure of meeting John in 2006 through ACFW’s conference mentor program. After emailing back and forth for several weeks, we met in the hotel lobby in Dallas. I recognized him immediately, but instantly had to adjust my mental image of him—all I had seen to that point was a headshot, and as Jason Joyner writes, John towers above everyone!
It may sound trite to say, but John has an amazing heart … love for family, dedication to friends, a determination to better his writing without being overly defensive. (That last one is stinking hard!) Through critiques and the winds of the writing industry tugging us back and forth, John has remained not only a kind but enthusiastic encourager, and it’s been a joy to watch his career unfold.
So, is it bragging to say I got to read Numb when it was still in manuscript form? 🙂 Admittedly, it happened during one of those tearingly busy times of life, so it took me a while to get to it, and then I’m afraid I was so caught up in the story I didn’t give as much feedback as I would have liked. (Yes, John, I still feel guilty over that!) But—the storyworld sucked me right in, and the premise was so intriguing—Crusader himself was so intriguing—I couldn’t bear stopping for very long even when I found things to quibble over.
I was a little hesitant to ask for a review copy, because I’ve had a terrible track record of preferring stories I’ve read in the raw to their published and ostensibly more polished forms. And though I had a few issues with this version (most of them the same things discussed in Julie Bihn’s review; see her link below for other interesting thoughts about the story), and the suspense aspect didn’t really kick in for me this time (I knew what was happening with Crusader and where the story was going), it was still so much fun to revisit.
And the cover!! I was so thrilled to see this cover make the cut from all the original options. It captures the essence of the story in a way few—okay, make that none—of the others did. (Not unbiased there at all, am I?)
So, what is my official review of Numb? I always feel like I have little to add to what others have said …
Each of John’s works is better than the one before! Amazing worldbuilding, intriguing premise, engaging main character with all his contradictions and mysteries. I love the dynamics between the Ministrix the Praesidium, and the “heretics.” I felt less connection with Isolda on the second reading than I remember before, but the character arcs are solid and hint of more possibly to come. As others have said, I’d love to see more stories set in this universe!
Disclaimer: I received the review copy in exchange for my honest opinion.