I didn't review Fezariu's Epiphany - I had too much invested in the book to be objective about it - but I'd like to explain why it has to be my favourite book of 2011.
Allow me to give you a bit of history. I met David in 2008 when we were working for the same company. We barely knew one another but knew we shared a love of literature. I convinced David to share some of his writing with me and he complied. Then he discovered what a vicious critic I can be.
I saw real potential in David's writing and it was for that reason that I returned it covered in ink, crossings out, annotations. I'm sure he hated me in the beginning. Certainly there were moments when I wondered if I'd gone too far. However, he couldn't deny that his stories had developed. They had been great before but suddenly they had a whole new edge.
He began to share his world history of Elenchera with me and I would return it with highlights on the 'good' parts or annotations on the aspects I disagreed with. Sometimes I half expected that he would stop sharing anything with me but then he was working on his novel, Fezariu's Epiphany and to my surprise he shared his full synopsis.
I ripped it to shreds.
I'm not kidding. This isn't an over-exaggeration for dramatic effect. I literally pulled it to pieces. He wasn't to be put off, though, and continued to work on it, albeit in a rather drastically different form!
Over the course of two and a half years we became friends. We then dated. We became engaged. We married. I continued to edit and critique for David. I'm sure he hoped I'd become a less vicious critic as our relationship blossomed. I didn't - I became ever more brutal. I pushed and pulled and poked and prodded. I'm sure I heard tears from the bathroom on some nights!
When Fezariu's Epiphany was written, it underwent six redrafts before we signed it off as complete. David joked that I had written more of the book than he had. That's not true but - as I said - I invested a lot of myself in it.
Now as David works on book two of The Elencheran Chronicles (A World Apart), I can tell he dreads it every time I reach for the manuscript and the pen but we had a partnership long before we had a marriage. Thankfully I'm a nastier critic than I am a wife but I believe my now husband is an amazing writer and I want to develop that. I believed he was an amazing writer when he was an almost-nameless, almost-faceless colleague. Why would I believe anything different now?So I've seen the work and effort and commitment that went into Fezariu's Epiphany and whilst my intimate involvement with the story and its author prevents me from reviewing it objectively, I feel utterly justified in proclaiming my love for it. This is a wonderful story and the blood, sweat and tears in the story itself are nothing compared to the work that went into writing it. Fear? He felt it. Anger? I'm sure it hit him daily. Frustration? Doubtless every time I handed a page back with the most pernickity of scribbles.
Pride? What I feel every single time I see his book for sale.