Title / Never Die
Author / Rob J. Hayes
Publication Date / January 2019
Series or standalone / standalone
Genre / Fantasy
Page no. / 276
Overall Rating / ★★★★
This is a self published fantasy book influenced by Japanese folklore. The author has written a range of other books but this was my first read by Hayes. I know very little about this book going into it but the synopsis had me intrigued enough to check it out. A young boy called Ein is given the task of killing the Emperor of Ten Kings, but he cannot do it alone, so he sets out to find some legendary heroes to help him in his quest. He must bind these heroes to him, but to do so the heroes must first die.
Never Die begins in the midst of a battle and it had me hooked from the first few pages. The plot is compelling throughout, although I would say that it is a little formulaic in nature. The story has a clear structure and it repeats itself a few times, but these repetitions never felt boring or monotonous; it is just the way the story is told. The last third of the book The pacing is even throughout and once you’ve started reading you won’t want to put it down. I found it to have quite an addictive quality to it. There are a few twists threaded through the story and I loved the way things were revealed at the end of the book. The writing is great and I found it so easy to settle into the flow of the story. Hayes clearly showcases his ability at writing action scenes, especially close combat scenes.
This book is heavily influenced by Japanese folklore and I loved this element of the story. As I am not Asian and know little about Japanese folklore, I cannot comment on the authenticity of it, but it seemed to me like Hayes has done plenty of research to create this world with these influences. Lastly, the characters are one of the main strengths of this book. They are all so well written with complex personalities and interesting back stories. Each of them are clearly distinct with varied personalities, appearances and fighting styles. It’s impressive how quickly Hayes fleshes out these characters and continues to develop them throughout, especially considering it’s under 300 pages long. It was so good to see the development of friendships within this group of characters too. I would have to say Cho and Zhihao were my favourite but I loved all of the characters.
Overall this was a fantastic fantasy book and it definitely makes me want to check out more self published books. Compared to many fantasy books I’ve read, this is pretty short but it is packed full of amazing characters, fantastic world building and a compelling plot. Side note, I also love the cover of this book. Have you guys read this book? I’d love to know what you thought. I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.