Usually, being numb is not fun.
I can attest, as I currently have a pinched nerve that is affecting a couple of fingers on my right hand. BTW, if you see any typos, I blame it on not feeling the keys.
But one author saw something different in that idea. Thus, the new adult science fiction book Numb by John W. Otte.
Crusader is numb.
He doesn't feel emotions or pain. This makes him the perfect instrument of God's divine judgment, as divined by the Ministrix. If he stays obedient, he will earn his justification and receive pardon for his sins.
As one of the Ministrix's top operatives, he is used to success. But when he is charged with killing Isolda Westin, something happens.
A rush of emotions.
Suddenly Crusader can't process with his usual clinical coldness. Instead of killing Isolda, he kidnaps her to discover the secret of this strange failing. But doing so will damn his soul.
What is a holy assassin to do?
What an intriguing premise! The good news is that John delivers on all fronts: characters, plot, and the science fiction setting. Set against a war between the atheistic Praesidium and the holy church Ministrix, the novel finds Crusader striking down heretics and protecting the Church's interests.
His name is appropriate, yes?
Crusader is a driven character and his resistance to emotional or physical pain is something he leans on heavily to accomplish his mission. When he freezes with the feelings that Isolda triggers, he doesn't know what to do. The conflict keeps the reader guessing and intrigued throughout the book. The action keeps careening through space stations and starships.
Not only does the action hold attention, the characters have depth so they aren't just plot puppets. Isolda has strengthens and doubts, and Crusader wrestles with these pesky feelings that he hasn't had to deal with before.
Finally, the ideas that Numb introduce are very thought-provoking. The Ministrix believes that Christ came down from the Cross as a conquering Lord, ready to impose His will after defeating death. This idea gives the brutal treatment of Ministrix opponents a logical justification. There's a fringe group that has different beliefs, and their quest to avoid the heavy hand of the Church plays into the conflict as well.
Overall, John Otte has written an intelligent and exciting science fiction novel with a sincere wrestling of spiritual issues. Any sci-fi fan should enjoy this book.
If you'd like more on this book, see Becky Miller's post for all of the participants and updated info.