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
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.
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
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
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
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
(Tragic back story: my wife’s entry came in too late and
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
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
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
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
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.
Well the new year is just about upon us. What’s coming up
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?
Adam is a Pennsylvania resident and has been reviewing and blogging SFF since 2017. When he's not reading or working his day job as a pharma consultant, he enjoys writing reviews, beta reading, and story editing. He loves hockey, his family, and his ridiculously adorable kittens. Hit him up at @swiff