Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Never Die” as Want to Read:
Never Die
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Never Die

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  749 ratings  ·  194 reviews
Ein is on a mission from God. A God of Death.

Time is up for the Emperor of Ten Kings and it falls to a murdered eight year old boy to render the judgement of a God. Ein knows he can't do it alone, but the empire is rife with heroes. The only problem; in order to serve, they must first die.

Ein has four legendary heroes in mind, names from story books read to him by his
Kindle Edition, 274 pages
Published January 29th 2019 by Rob J. Hayes
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Never Die, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Rob Hayes This book is a stand alone. However, I may write more stories in the same world sometime in the future.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.94  · 
Rating details
 ·  749 ratings  ·  194 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Never Die
Nov 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anime & Asian-inspired fantasy fans
ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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
Chaima ✨ شيماء
Do I need other reasons to read this book beyond the fact that the cover is pretty and rumor has it the story is heavily inspired by Japanese anime?

To quote Hamlet, act III, scene iii, line 92, “no
Sean Barrs the Bookdragon
Dec 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anime fans
To people that don’t read much self-published fiction, Rob J. Hayes is here to prove exactly why you should!

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.
James Lafayette Tivendale
Feb 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, freecopy
I received an uncorrected proof copy of Never Die in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Rob J. Hayes for the opportunity. Contains minor spoilers.

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
Jan 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
You can find this review and more at Novel Notions.

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
Dec 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This review and other non-spoilery reviews can be found @The Book Prescription

“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
Jan 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This story is pure adrenaline. From the very first line through its twisty conclusion, Never Die showcases Rob Hayes’ talent in creating interesting and memorable characters while placing them in ever-escalating life-or-death situations. This is a story of vengeance and honor, delivered with the style and speed of an expert katana slash. It incorporates elements of Japanese mythology, including various species of yokai (spirit monsters), death gods, masters of qi, and resurrection, to name but a ...more
Nov 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Wuxia is violent and anti-Confucian. But also fun.

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, preferably
Nick T. Borrelli
Jan 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The book surrounds the exploits of an enigmatic boy named Ein who was murdered years ago and is now on a mission from the god of death to kill the Emperor of Ten Kings. We don't know any of the backstory of Ein or why the emperor is his target, but what we do know is that in order to achieve this murderous task, he must recruit four heroes or champions to assist him in defeating this seemingly unconquerable figure. Recruiting these heroes does come with a big catch, you see they have to die ...more
Nov 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Fares by: Hamad
4.5 stars

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
I received an eARC of this book from the author.

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
Dyrk Ashton
Nov 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I was fortunate enough to get an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Never Die is The Seven Samurai meets Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon in an action-packed story, inspired by both Chinese Wuxia and Japanese Manga. Drawing from Japanese folklore and a variety of East Asian martial arts traditions, this is an exciting tale of honor and redemption you don't want to miss. One of my favorite reads of the year.
Rob Hayes
Nov 08, 2018 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
Never Die has finally been released upon this unwitting world!
Nov 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Overall rating = 4.5 stars

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
Eon ♒Windrunner♒
Never Die is the first book by Rob J Hayes I have read, and I can tell you without a doubt, this guy can write.

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
Apr 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What starts with a whisper, must end with a roar.

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
Jan 04, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: spfbo-2019
* I was sent this for free from the author in exchange for an honest review *

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
Feb 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Rob J. Hayes impressed me with Drones, and Never Die promised to be a fast-paced fantasy, so I dove straight in.

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
May 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This ticked all the right boxes. I loved it!
Mike Everest Evans
Full review originally posted on

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.

 Charlie - A Reading Machine
This book is the shit!! For years I've been playing Dynasty Warriors, rewatching Ninja Scroll and silently jealous of people with names like Spear that Shakes the Sky or Golden Balls etc and in all honestly it never clicked that it was a complete genre in itself. I'm going to do a full review but right now I need to work on my Screaming Toad technique.
Mark Lawrence
I've not read this book but it's made it to the finals of the Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off, so it must be good!


Find out more here:
Sep 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own-the-book
4.5 stars~

We start off by getting to know Cho, she dies and this kid Ein brings her to life. He is eerie and acts odd. We find out he is on a quest that a Shinigami ( God of death ) set him on to kill THE king. The King has brought peace but high taxes and the like that has left people poor and hungry.
For Ein to fulfill his quest he needs heroes, but he needs them dead so he can bring them back to life and make them 100% devoted to his mission. So they start together on this roadtrip and
Sarah (thegirltheycalljones)
Nov 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Sarah (thegirltheycalljones) by: Petrik
What a fantastic book! 4,5 stars, 5, who the fuck cares, it was awesome!

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,
Flying Monkey
Apr 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
4 Stars!

1st time reading a Rob Hayes book and this was surprisingly good!

Loved the story, the characters and an amazing ending that almost made me rate this 5 stars. I’ll definitely read more of his books.
Michael Fletcher
Jun 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Best prologue ever.
Made me want to watch martial arts movies again.
If Dyrk Ashton says he wrote this, he's lying. Probably.
Feb 08, 2019 added it
Recommends it for: fans of "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon."
Recommended to Dustin by: Grimdark Magazine.
A bandit, a Shintei, an enigmatic young boy with an uncanny ability, and a leper.

Near the end of 2018, reviews began popping up in social media feeds. I could be mistaken, but I think it was Grimdark magazine's Mike Myers’ review, that particularly blew me away. From start to finish, his words were beautiful and telling; strange and exotic. They were compelling in ways I never quite expected from a fantasy novel. Quite simply, I knew I had to read Never Die, the sooner the better. Moreover, I
C.T. Phipps
Feb 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, grimdark
NEVER DIE is a stand-alone novel by popular grimdark novelist Rob J. Hayes (The Ties That Bind, Best Laid Plans, Drones). I've always been a fan of Rob J. Hayes and will recommend all of his books to those who want an awesome dark fantasy story. I think he stands up there with Ben Galley and Mark Lawrence for stories that are just plan good. Never Die isn't quite up there with the Best Laid Plans series but is certainly as entertaining as Drones. I also applaud the book for having a non-Western ...more
Nov 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned-read
For me, this has been a year of trying new authors. Since January I have read books by 38 authors that I had never previously read, and the latest is Rob J. Hayes. For those unfamiliar with this author, his Where Loyalties Lie was the winner of last year’s SPFBO, an annual contest for self-published fantasy books. I was given a chance to read the ARC for his latest book, Never Die, which releases in January 2019, and I jumped at the chance. This book did not disappoint.

This story follows a
Reggie Kray
Feb 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It’s motherfuckin Rob J Hayes........
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Sword of Kaigen
  • Grim Solace (The Chasing Graves Trilogy, #2)
  • Chasing Graves (The Chasing Graves Trilogy, #1)
  • Smoke and Stone
  • The Gutter Prayer (The Black Iron Legacy, #1)
  • Kings of Ash (Ash and Sand, #2)
  • Sin Eater (Iconoclasts, #2)
  • Blood of Heirs (The Coraidic Sagas #1)
  • We Ride the Storm (The Reborn Empire, #1)
  • Aching God (Iconoclasts, #1)
  • Priest of Lies (War for the Rose Throne, #2)
  • Kings of Paradise (Ash and Sand #1)
  • Breaking Chaos (The Chasing Graves Trilogy, #3)
  • Beggar's Rebellion (Resonant #1)
  • Crowfall (Raven's Mark, #3)
  • River of Thieves
  • The Black Hawks (Articles of Faith, #1)
  • Uncanny Collateral (Valkyrie Collections, #1)
See similar books…
Winner of Mark Lawrence's 3rd Self Published Fantasy Blog Off (SPFBO) with Where Loyalties Lie

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
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »
“For you cannot find yourself, if you do not first lose your way.” 1 likes
“Honour can be lost a dozen times, and regained. Life can only be lost once, and never regained.” 0 likes
More quotes…