I have to start off by saying that I waited for a day before I wrote this review, mainly because I have mixed feelings about this book.
On one hand, when I read a guest blog by the author with his storyline, I was intrigued by the concept: what if Jesus’ words about “not all of you will die before I return” to his disciples were taken literally, and John the Beloved, the youngest and last of them, was blessed with the task of living until Christ’s Second Coming? The story takes off from this premise, basically telling two stories: one of them in the days when John leaves his old life behind and assumes his new role, complete with new identity; the other in modern day, where John lives under the name John Amato in both San Francisco and Seattle as a 33-year-old man, presumably born in Kosovo.
It’s a great concept, and I found myself wishing I had come up with the idea. But I felt like the author didn’t take advantage of the story possibilities enough. I wasn’t convinced that John Amato was living the life that a modern-day apostle would live, called to be a witness to the world. There was no sense of urgency in him about saving people’s souls, and even though he was a nice guy and well liked, there never seemed to be a spiritual connection between him and God. He is told at one point that his task is to “raise a great deal of money, which which they would save the world.” If that’s all it took, then it seems like the Second Coming should have happened a long time before now.
I was concerned early on that there wasn’t enough conflict in the story; it was to be a story of good versus evil, or at least that’s the way I would have seen it. There is one mysterious, presumably evil, figure that appears sporadically early on, then becomes a central figure for a brief time, then disappears, but I felt it was underplayed.
Don’t get me wrong; I enjoyed the story. But I felt like it had a lot of potential that never got reached. Christian novels are my area, and when a good idea comes along, I want to root for it and support it all I can. This one is almost there, but not quite.
I give it three and a half (out of five) stars.