Book blogger, audiobook lover and shamelessly honest reviewer. Mostly read fantasy, mystery, romance, UF and YA but all genres welcome.
This book blew me away.
I’m not fond of assassins as main characters so normally I wouldn’t have picked up this book. But it was on sale at Audible and I liked the narrator so I decided to give it a try. And oh boy, I’m so glad I did.
The story starts a bit slowly but then it gets tremendously exciting, extremely sad and very thought provoking. Why would a man like John Rain – who not a “bad person” – choose a life like this? The answer is not simple or even logical but it’s heartbreaking. There are no apologies or justifications, just the stark reality of the aftermath of war and how soldiers live with themselves afterwards, exemplified by a phrase that is repeated over and over through the book: “There is no home for us, John. Not after what we’ve done.”
The sense of loneliness and isolation is so palpable, that sometimes I thought John was walking in a bubble where he was able to observe and hear the muffled sounds of the world while living inextricably apart. The descriptions of Tokyo, noir and bright, added to the atmosphere and made the city a character on its own, a witness and sometimes ally that would conceal John in its masses.
Brian Nishii’s narration was simply brilliant. When I learned that only 2 out of the 7 books in this series are narrated by Mr. Nishii, I almost wept. How could anybody else be the voice of John Rain? Not only is Mr. Nishii Japanese he can properly pronounce all the dialogue in that language (and there's a lot in the book) but he also has that cadence in his speech that tells you immediately where he's from. The voices were just adequate but his performance of John Rain was phenomenal. The emotions were just pitch perfect; you could feel the alienation without any overt sentimentality. I'm so in love with this narration that I'll switch to print for every book that he doesn't narrate.
So it goes without saying that I'll be reading the sequel soon and it's a book I completely recommend.