Samurai, shinigami, vengeful spirits, and an impossible quest.
The Emperor of Ten Kings has plunged Hosa into war, and the gods are angry.
When the god of death gives Ein a mission to kill the immortal emperor, he knows ...more
This review is quite long but the short version is this: Never Die is currently one of the three best self-published books I’ve ever read. If you still need more convincing, read further.
Joining The Mirror’s Truth by Michael R. Fletcher and We Ride the Storm by Devin Madson, Never Die is the third self-published book that currently holds a full 5-star rating from me. If you’re familiar with Hayes’s Where Loyalties Lie, which I assume is ...more
This is a great price of fantasy writing. It reminds me of mortal combat, as the characters duel to prove who is the best warrior. And they are quite a memorable cast, pulled together to serve the whims of an undead boy. Cho, the Whispering Blade, is as quiet as she is deadly. Zhihao Cheng, the Emerald Wind, can project images of himself and sneak up behind his opponent to deadly effect. ...more
The tale begins with an assault on Kaishi City. The notorious bandit Flaming Fist is searching for his missing daughter and will literally burn, and his accompanying rebel army will destroy anyone in his path until he has found her. On the opposite side of this deadly and bloody ruckus, we are introduced to Whispering Blade (Itami Cho) who ha ...more
“Honour can be lost a dozen times, and regained. Life can only be lost once, and never regained.”
🌟 After 3 years of reviewing books, I developed a hunch for the books I will like. It is like the clinical sense in medicine, something that is gained with experience and trial. I sometimes try to give books chances even if I feel I won’t like them. They mostly end up being disappointing so I learned to follow my gut even ...more
Never Die is hands down the best book Rob Hayes has written to date, and this is coming from someone who has really enjoyed everything I’ve read from him. It’s been a while since a book was so addictive that it kept me up late into the night because I needed to read just one more chapter, and it was an experience I relished with this book. It’s undoubtedly one of the best Asian-inspired fantasies I’ve read, as well as one of the best self-publi ...more
“Justice of the sword is just murder by another name.”
Rob Hayes has crafted a fantastic Samurai and Eastern-inspired fantasy book that subtly pulls the reader into ...more
Never Die - BookNest
I read Never Die as a judge for the SPFBO finalists. And I LOVED IT. Wonderful characterisation, intriguing plot, masterfully written action sequences and natural dialogue.
“The difference between the rich and the powerful was always made so much clearer by walls. The rich hide behind them, the powerful tore them down.”
Never Die is one of my favourite reads over the last year. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started, but by the end of the fir ...more
Hayes delivers a thrilling take on classic principles and conventions of wuxia while casting them in a new light (and in a secondary world based on east-Asian influences). Wandering warriors are mostly, but not fully, alive. Some follow a code of honour, others don’t care about such nonsense.
A mysterious murdered eight-year-old boy - Ein sets on a mission to kill Emperor of Ten Kings. He can’t do it alone. He needs the help of heroes, preferabl ...more
"The strong should always strive to help the weak. It is the very foundation of a wise society."
Apart from the above compliant I enjoyed every other part of this book. I thank Deathnote for my knowledge of shinigami. Shinigami is the Japanese gods of death, like all old gods they squ ...more
Thanx to Iron Brain Hamad for recommending this, you're the best ever! ❤
I did not see that ending coming tbh.
This was really fun to read.
I really loved all the characters in this but I was hoping Zhihao would get a more satisfactory arc, it was really good but I wish for a tiny bit more.
I loved the writing, the plot and the pace was good. There were moments where I wished this story was bigger, more of an Epic Fantasy than it was, I wished for world building and a proper explanation to ...more
Now, that’s what I’m talking about when I say I love the Grimdark subgenre. This is it exactly.
Many describe Grimdark fantasy as that which is bleak and full of misery, lacking in hope. But to me, that’s not what it is at all. It might have some of these things on the surface, but it’s much more than that. I see it more as the story of grey characters striding the line between being a hero and a villain. It’s a struggle within and the study of the ...more
Never Die is a stellar, self published debut that is worth of every praise, and raises the 'fantasy' bar sky high!
Apart from its stellar, captivating cover, Never Die had over the top positive reviews, and the story intriguing and original hooked me from the start! It's quite amazing that a self-publishing author, Rob Hayes, could garnish such momentum in his work without the machinery of a big publishing company! Never Die was original, asian-inspired fantasy, with a a prem ...more
This was my first and quite probably last (for the forseeable future) time i will pick up a Rob J. Hayes book- I was really disappointed with this, especially as it was a highly anticipated read for me.
More than delibrately misleading blurbs, i detest books that have what i refer to as Chicken Licken plots. Plots that basically just repeat the same action over and over and over and goddamn over again.
This book had strong Kings of the Wyld vibes to it, with slight differences but the crux of plo
The story premise is very intriguing with a band of mercenaries being hired to assassinate an emperor. It’s anything but that simple though. The recruiter? A small boy who was murdered, brought back to life, is now on a mission for vengeance and is searching for heroes to complete this mission. The said heroes? Mythical warriors the boy, Ein, has read about in books, but they need to be ...more
I have to admit that this one is a weird story and although I have really enjoyed all of Hayes' books so far, this one is probably the most unique of them all. This is the story of a young boy called Ein who is gathering Heroes from the land far and wide to work with him to take down the Emperor. The Heroes are all different and they come from all over, and Ein has to bring each one back from the dead to bind them to h ...more
OVERVIEW/ANALYSIS (Mihir): Never Die is Rob J. Hayes' newest standalone fantasy and the first of his two releases in 2019. Rob was inspired to write this fantasy story due to an action sequence in a video game trailer as well as the innumerable anime movies that he gorged upon in his impressionable years. The world of Never Die was first introduced in Rob's short story in "The Two Faces of War" in the Art Of War: Anthology for Charity. For disclosure purposes, I was an ...more
“The thing about this world, the way to survive, is you either become the worst monster you can be, or you find someone else willing to be an even worse monster, and make yourself useful.”
Never Die is a standalone Asian-inspired fantasy novel that I found to be thought provoking and brilliant.
♥ THROUGH OATHS AND HONOUR
The story is a simple one: a little boy brings heroes back from the dead to satisfy an order put forward by a shinigami. Ein travels his own yellow brick ro ...more
Not to sound snobby, but what a surprise to learn that this was self-published! The cover is exceptionnally pretty (Felix Ortiz is such a talented artist!) and, most of all, the content is absolutely brilliant!
Every major boxes are checked : great ideas, clear intentions, interesting and compelling lore, wonderful characters, good narrative, epic ending.
The ambiance set by the narrative is half-Asian tale, half-your-usual- ...more
Ein has been given a task by a god of death: gather heroes of legend to end the life of the Emperor of Ten Kings. However, in order to do so, he must kill his companions to bind them to his cause to carry out his will. As they venture across Hosa towards the city of Jieshu, the seat of the Emperor, these heroes not only have to battle each other’s egos, but also dangerous creatures of myth that bar their path. Gathering aid and allies along the wa ...more
I was not disappointed.
It's a captivating story, and Hayes is a gifted storyteller. I couldn't put the book down. I did not want to put the book down. Tight prose and short chapters make for excellent pacing.
Never Die shows that a simple story can turn into a memorable tale in the hands of a skilled author. Not a word is wasted. The characters are fleshed out, interesting, and their dy ...more
The Good: Awesome Asian-inspired anti-heroic fantasy (say that five times fast) with a cast of unusual suspects thrown together in the spirit of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy and the Dynasty Warriors franchise.
The Bad: During the first and second parts of the book I struggled to feel an emotional connection to the larger-than-life characters, but in the final section each of them lived up to their legends and came to life for me.
Rob J. Hayes was born somewhere south of the cockney wastelands in a small town called Basingstoke. He grew up with all the usual boy toys including Lego, Star Wars figures (complete with working lightsaber action) and plenty of Transformers. Playing with these toys inspired his imagination and as soon as ...more