Review: Never Die by Rob J. Hayes

My Rating:

Rating: 3 out of 5.

A few facts about Never Die:

  • Title: Never Die
  • Author: Rob J. Hayes
  • Series: The Mortal Techniques Series
  • Publisher: Self-published by Rob J. Hayes
  • Pages: 274

I read Never Die on my Kindle.

Synopsis:

Samurai, shinigami, vengeful spirits, and an impossible quest.

Itami Cho has earned the name Whispering Blade. She is a Shintei warrior, sworn to the path of oaths and honour. But keeping her oaths has always been more difficult than taking them. When Flaming Fist and his bandits attack the city of Kaishi, Itami swears one last oath: she will protect the city and its people at any cost.

Ein has spent his life dreaming of being a hero, and now the God of Death has given him a chance. The Reaper has set him an impossible quest: an eight-year-old boy sent to stop an immortal Emperor.

Never Die is a stand alone set in the world of Mortal Techniques. It’s a wuxia adventure filled with samurai, shinigami, heroes, and vengeful spirits. 

Review:

At the time of reading this I was going through an eastern-asian themed reading spree, so when I saw this and its damned cool cover it had me. Having read other Goodreads folks I follow and seeing them LOVE this book it wasn’t a chance I was going to miss, especially when like I said I had been reading a lot of books with an eastern-asian settings and loving them.

This book started off really strongly, it was filled with action and gave me real ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny’ vibes with its famed warriors and quirky warrior titles. Knowing we were only going to meet more warriors I was really excited to get into the thick of this book.

Unfortunately, this feeling didn’t stick for me and despite its frequent fight scenes I lost interest. It felt slow, and like it wasn’t really getting anywhere. Yes, Ein was procuring a band of warriors to go and kill the emperor but it still felt stagnant to me. Which is a reason is DNF’d a previous book by this author, it just felt like nothing was happening despite what was actually a fairly fast paced book. 

The battles faced by each of these warriors seemed clunky, each new member was to be killed by those already bound to Ein, yet each battle seemed separate as if they were just wandering through the empire aimlessly. Then came the monsters they faced on their travels, again these encounters all felt singular. I think if the plot was slightly more complex and easy-flowing and the characters had more development this could have been amazing.

The world in which these warriors were travelling also bore little embellishment, I didn’t really know why there were on the mission they were and I didn’t really care. There was only one character I really liked and felt had the depth I was wanting and that was the Emerald Wind, or Green Breeze 😂😂 The rest all seemed distinguishable but not developed. That isn’t to say the characters were bad, we get some insight into their past and personality just not a lot.

I would have loved more tension and conflict. Bloody hell the first two heroes we meet fought against each other in a battle that killed both of them but they seem fine with each other. I would have thought these characters would have series clashes and issues with each other yet they didn’t really have more than bickering. 

I did guess the ending, I guessed Ein’s familial relationships pretty much at the start when there was only the Whispering Blade and the Emerald Wind. 

Despite this I did finish the book, and it was a pleasant read though you won’t hear me gushing over this one I’m afraid. I think, for me, there is just something about the writing style that I just don’t gel well with. I find it really drab, for lack of a better word, it just doesn’t keep me entertained. This is an incredible story and nothing I have come across, so I was super excited for it but I feel like it could have been better. 

If I was you I would read a few other reviews and see if there complaints/praises fall in line with your tastes and maybe give it ago. I mean it won its literary award for self-published books so it is doing something right!! I think a lot of fantasy readers will enjoy this book as many have already but alas it wasn’t for me.