Book and a Pint: “Never Die”

with Michael Evan and James Jakins

So here it is… Our debut segment of Book and a Pint, with our first subject/victim…Rob Hayes’ Never Die. We hope you can get a laugh or at least a few smiles, ughs or groans out of this!

ME: So…first few chapters in..what did you think?

JJ: I really liked Century Blade’s backstory. Really cool worldbuilding.

ME: Yea I like the way he told that story. I’m a big fan of books where an actual story within a story takes place.

Never Die releases January 29, 2019.

JJ: I also have to say, this is the most anime book I’ve read possibly ever and I’m really mad at him for pulling it off so well.

ME: Yea I loved the mention of Century Blade coming back as a Yokai. Did you ever read that Usagi Yojimbo comic?

JJ: I haven’t but I’m a little familiar with the character.

ME: Samurai bunny. Basically more samurai than bunny.

Speaking of anthropomorphic animals I’m doing some research for my new book this week…Miami Seaquarium! Need to see seals and walruses (Walri?) in their unnatural habitat.

JJ:Awesome! So, what are you going to call this book?

ME: Not there yet. Research first. Which makes me wonder…what kind of research do you think Rob put in to this book?

JJ:See, seals are cool and everything, but you want to write a book where the research really just requires you sitting on the couch and “taking notes”. For Rob, I guarantee it was a months long binge-watch of anime and wuxia movies. Maybe some Kurosawa.

ME: I’m kinda glad I liked the book. If he’s the method writer type and I gave him a bad review I’d be worried he’d kick my ass.

JJ:I mean… We don’t know for sure he isn’t…He could have the Iron Gut technique.

ME: Chapter 46

Rob Hayes vs Bad Review Guy

JJ: What’s his hero name, though? He needs something cool like “Emerald Wind” or “Whispering Blade.”

ME: Carpal Tunnel Dagger?

Way Too Prolific Spork?

Wait no…Chapter 46…-Mighty iPhone vs Prolific Spork?

JJ: That’s a much better chapter title. Might be some copyright issues, but I think we’ll be okay.

ME: What… is Spork registered?

JJ: Probably. Hold on

(45 seconds later)

Holy shit… I just googled that. The word spork is actually trademarked…

ME: Fuck off!….Ok Chapter 46

The Mighty Eye Pod vs Spork-X

JJ:These are rapidly moving away from good hero names…Anyway, can we address the issue that this book is basically just a really revamped version of Pokemon? And I mean that in only the best way.

ME: I actually typed Pokémon while you typed it then erased it because I thought my other bit was funnier

JJ: Ha! Fine. I’ll give you that. I was serious, though. It’s an eight year old kid going out into the world and creating a team of very dangerous creatures. Using them to fight others and then adding the defeated to his team.

ME: Yea I can see that ..I just kept thinking Sixth Sense except instead of “I see dead people” it was “I heal dead killers”

JJ: That definitely changes my reading of the story. Now all I can picture is young Haley Joel Osment leading these killers around.

ME:At least it’s not old Haley Joel Osment. He’d be getting them in bar fights and crashing SUVs

JJ:I’m pretty sure they’d manage all that on their own.No crashed SUV, but they do crash that water dragon…

ME:Dragons are cool . Any type really. But the swimming kind are on a different level of awesome.

JJ:This is true. I know I’m generally a fan.

ME:My wife wrote a short story about a dragon. Know of any anthologies ?

JJ:Subtle, real subtle. Why, yes, Michael, I do. I know of one coming out early next year. Some writer friends and I put together a genre-less anthology.

(Tragic back story: my wife’s entry came in too late and was denied)

JJ: Not to detract from this insightful discussion about Mr. Hayes great book about dead heroes…

ME: But seriously though how much does The Emerald Wind kick ass? He’s like an undead Shrek….that kills people.

JJ: Shrek in that he’s grumpy and pretends that he hates everybody?

ME: Yea sort of. I kind of read all his bits with an Irish accent. I love those conflicted badasses that want to just be assholes but end up being decent dudes. Bear in mind..If you died a horrible death and then we’re somehow brought back to life by the anime version of Haley Joel Pikachu and told that you needed to kill an untouchable grand master emperor to not die again ,how pissed off would you be?

JJ: Hm… I’d probably be a little more okay with it than Emerald Wind was,but I would not be optimistic about my chances.

ME: And the topper of all this..is that the booze tastes like shit to all these undead second chancers!

JJ:Not just that, but food… I love food… so much… Okay, I would be very unhappy with the whole situation

ME: I think you’d take be able to take out that emperor though man, just bring Jackson Smith with you. He’s in every bloody one of your books. I’m sure he could teleport in to the real world for some ass kicking.

JJ: Yeah, but with the exception of his really putting himself center stage in Summervale he’s more likely to just move a few pieces on the backend. He’d be the guy in Ein’s hometown that told a bunch of stories about Cho so he would think to sew her back up.

ME: Speaking of Ein, what’s the deal with all the barefoot toe stubbing? man..I have kids and this is triggering me now. Shoes are important.

JJ: Haha. Man, when he sits down and just starts sewing his foot up. That actually got me a little bit. I’m an adult man and I couldn’t do that.

ME: Yea the last time I dropped something on my toe I think I cried and ran to the doctor

ME:Seriously though…without giving much away, Cho was freaking awesome. That battle at the end… I’m still reeling

JJ: Yes! And you called the sword name.

ME: Yea it’s weird I saw that coming but it didn’t take away from it’s awesomeness when it finally happened, and I’m not going to spoil either of the names of Cho’s swords

JJ: Sometimes seeing it coming actually makes it more satisfying.

ME: So …ending…where you shocked ? Cuz I’m still thinking about it!

JJ: I wouldn’t say shocked. It was set up pretty well. Enough hints to make it obvious enough. The biggest shock for me was the abruptness of each hero’s final scene. Mostly Iron Gut…

ME: Yea and that kind of leads in to the whole idea of how ultimately they were kind of pawns in a much bigger game.

JJ: Yeah. Very well done story. Every reveal, for the most part, fit what had been established.

ME: And what’s awesome is that should he want to write a sequel there are limitless possibilities.

JJ: Yeah. I like that it’s fine as a stand alone, but the world has room for a lot more.

ME: So Mr. Jakins drive this thing home with your overall review of this one.

JJ: I’d definitely give it a 5/5. I think I chose it as one of my favorite reads of the year, so that should say something. It’s a world I’m ready to jump back into, but even if Hayes leaves it as is, I’m happy with what he gave us.

ME: Yea me too. I’ll further that by saying if you love Anime inspired fantasy with killer fight scenes, memorable characters , vengeful spirits ,and creepy kids, add this one to your 2019 TBR ….or Spork X will hunt you down in the night…Or was it the Vengeful Spork?

JJ: Mighty Sporker X.

ME: Yes!!! Finally, that’s the ultimate hero name. And…copyrighting…now!

Well the new year is just about upon us. What’s coming up for 2019?

JJ: Hopefully just the right amount of books for me to keep up with. But I know that’s won’t end up being true…

ME: Yea I’ve resigned to the fact that I will never read 90% of this bloody mountain.

JJ: Mine was big before. Need to get faster… 2018 was the year I jumped my audible listening speed up to 1.25x. Maybe 2019 is the year I get it to 2x.

ME: Well the good thing is we both read and loved our next one! And it’s an actual comedy. We’ll be back in a few weeks with our next Book and a Pint where we try to out-funny Mr. CT Phipps with just about as many Vampire jokes as we can throw out.

JJ: Vampire jokes? Ah man, this is gonna suck…get it? I’m hilarious.

ME: That joke kinda bites, dude

JJ: …

ME: See ya in a few!

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