Tuesday, April 22, 2014

How Numb is he? - CSFF Blog Tour

Julie here, still talking about Numb by John W. Otte on the CSFF blog tour.

The main conceit of the novel is that the protagonist, Crusader, is "numb."  Early on, we are told:

He didn't know pain. He wasn't hindered by emotions.

This is tricky to pull off; I'm not sure an emotionless character would be an entertaining protagonist, at least not a film.

But how "numb" is Crusader, really? I'd argue that even in the first chapter, Crusader isn't an unfeeling robot--he's not what I'd expect from someone who isn't hindered by emotions.

In the first chapter, Crusader:
  • "Hated" having a partner on a job
  • Made an effort not to be distracted by his thoughts
  • Felt a void and guilt inside him
  • Felt two tingles and a tickle when wounded on several different occasions
  • Wished he could know something

Throughout the novel, he reads to me more like a cold, trained assassin with superhuman endurance and perhaps some sort of pain-deadening nerve block, than someone who I'd think of as "numb." I guess the key word in the description above may be "hindered"--he might feel emotions, but they don't hinder him.

Of course, as the story develops, Crusader does start to feel more. But my question is, was he always the way we see him in Chapter 1? Ostensibly "numb" but still with longings, concerns, preferences, distractions, that he doesn't let take a foothold? Or did he already start his journey of change before he met Isolda?

I'm guessing the guilt plagued him throughout his time as a Ministrix agent. But I wonder if some of the other feelings may have been more recent developments. I think the revelations later in the book don't disprove the idea that his "change" started maybe even before we met him. And for me, I'd expected a dramatic transformation upon meeting Isolda, not the gradual transformation we see. But if he'd already started to feel on his own, then her introduction was just one stop--albeit probably the pivotal one--in his journey.

(That said, I might argue that Balaam was more "numb" than Crusader ever was in the book. Maybe more numb than the other members of the Ministrix.

Or, maybe I'm mixing up the word "numb" with "hypocritical". Or "of a jerk." :) )

Here are the other participants on the tour!

Julie Bihn
Jennifer Bogart
Keanan Brand
Beckie Burnham
Pauline Creeden
Vicky DealSharingAunt
Carol Gehringer
Victor Gentile
Rebekah Gyger
Nikole Hahn
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Emileigh Latham
Rebekah Loper
Jennette Mbewe
Amber McCallister
Shannon McDermott
Shannon McNear
Meagan @ Blooming with Books
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Joan Nienhuis
Faye Oygard
Writer Rani
Jojo Sutis
Rachel Starr Thomson
Steve Trower
Shane Werlinger
Phyllis Wheeler
Nicole White

 *In conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour, I received a free copy of this book.

1 comment:

  1. That's true! I hadn't thought about Balaam being more numb than Crusader but now that you meant it, I can really see that.


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