I can understand why this won an award in Japan. The story is very much of that culture. I enjoyed it tremendously, even though the ending was not a happy one. Very character driven, this story is engrossing.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Narration was good, and the story was interesting, with some quirky characters and a good plot. I wouldn't call it "fast paced", but it is perfectly paced for the story and it's running themes. I like crime-fiction and this was different enough to be a pleasant find in a crowded genre.
It's disappointing to find so many current mysteries end up not being mysterious at all but rather some deranged serial/psycho killer. This brilliant little piece is original and thoughtful. The dialogue is pitch perfect, the characters, believable. More like this please!
This was a good book. There is quite a bit of depth that a person might miss, it will appeal to people that like to ponder things. As the end wraps up it brings questions to mind about how each persons choices effects another.
This isn't a whodunnit, because the murder is clear in the first part of the book - we know where, when, why, and (yes) who did it. The only question that remains is if, when, and how will the aftermath play out.
The novel is ultimately focused on whether it it more difficult to create an unsolvable problem, or to solve that problem. And if you can understand and ponder the philosophy in that, then you can get to the heart of this story, where the main characters are a mathematician, and physics professor, and a police detective - all alumni of the same university in the same year, and all brought together by the murder of a greedy and abusive man by his frightened ex-wife.
It's also about friendship, unrequited love, devotion (to people and philosophies), and morality. Sadly, though it has thoughtfulness and intelligence, I thought it lacked in character development and emotion. That was not helped by the narrator, who didn't provide sufficiently different voices for the characters, in my opinion, further adding to the lack of characterization and emotion in their voices. It all sounded a bit wooden to me, though that might also have been the fault of the translator - without being able to read (or listen to it) in Japanese, I can't decide which is at fault there.
I chose this because I wanted to try a Japanese murder mystery and it was well reviewed and awarded, but it didn't wow me and I'm not sure I'll try another.
I really enjoyed this book. This was the first book I have read by a Japanese author and I enjoyed the cultural references and learning new things. When I first read the premise, I was like, okay, its not really a mystery, as you know who did it. But the book takes surprising turns and it turns out that there is a mystery. The ending was really good; I was trying to figure out how this could end, and I definitely did not predict it. The logic scenes were well written and I enjoyed the gamesmanship. Fast moving, interesting plot.
The writing and narration were excellent. The characters in this story are wonderfully developed and very rich in complexity. However there were very few surprises in the plot and it was too simple for my taste.
I almost never write reviews, but this deserved one. Since this was a new author I went into this book with caution. I was prepared to be unimpressed. Was I surprised! I found myself not doing things just so I could listen to this interesting book. I'm an unashamed FreeCell addict and even found myself listening to this book when I could have been playing 'my' game'. Although the Narrator wasn't Scott Brick - he was just great.
The tone of Devotion is very calm. The characters are interesting and complex. Everyone is very polite! Though there is a lot going on, it is never frenetic. A psycho, murder, police, genius book written by a western author would inevitably involve lawyers...this one does not (cheering). Character development is expansive at times, but nothing seems too far-fetched. If you like the sample then you'll like the pacing of the book.
What a great story, fast paced, original concept and a terrific credit worthy selection.