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Never Die

Narrated by: Kim Bretton
Length: 11 hrs and 13 mins
Categories: Fiction, Horror
5 out of 5 stars (27 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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 father. Now he must find them and kill them, so he can bring them back to fight the Reaper's war.

©2019 Rob J. Hayes (P)2019 Rob J. Hayes

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Loved it!

What a treat! Beautiful writing, gripping story and absolutely spot on narration. I highly recommend this audiobook. Found it completely by accident and couldn't be more thrilled. Will be checking out Rob Hayes and Kim Bretton's other works on Audible.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Life of a Samurai

good story - great narration!

reminded me of "Seven Samurai" in feel

good read.

If you enjoy Eastern lit - worth a credit

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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A phenomenal Eastern-themed standalone fantasy!

Yes, yes, yes!
What a ride!

First, let's talk about the audiobook narrator. Kim Bretton did an excellent job. While a couple of her male voices (yes, she has several, and most are great!) leave a bit to be desired, overall her voices are amazing! But where she really shines is in her tempo changes. She knows just what reading speed is appropriate for each scene and absolutely nails it!

I'll admit that at the start of the story I was pretty confused and didn't really understand what was happening.

I can't speak to the accuracy as I don't know a lot about it, but based on content I'd say there is a strong eastern mythology influence at work here. Between the monsters, the magic system, and the culture differences there was a lot to take in.

There is a lot of terminology that I don't rightly understand and had to piece together via context throughout the story. Particularly the titles each warrior has. I was several chapters in before I realized Emerald Wind and Century Blade were people and not things.

I honestly would have enjoyed a deeper dive into the characters, Cho in particular as I find her fascinating.

But what we have is a fast moving, almost thriller-eske story that flies by without feeling rushed. There's not a lot of time spent on internal monologue or introspection, but with the setup of this story it works beautifully.

And speaking of beautiful, let's talk about the writing for a moment. There are a handful of instances of clunky phrasing and some passive voice that doesn't seem necessary, but elsewise the writing here is gorgeous.

It's mostly of the simple, straightforward variety that I absolutely love. I'm not a fan of flowery, lyrical language and there is very little of that here. What little there is seems to have been included for emphasis in a way that works wonderfully.

Although, as I mentioned, there's not a lot of time spent on introspection, there is still some excellent characterization.

Every warrior has a trademark technique that is uniquely theirs, and seems custom tailored to their personality. Or perhaps their personality conformed to the needs of the technique. It's difficult to say with certainty.

Similarly, every character has at least one or two quirky personality traits that really makes them stand out as an individual.

Now, at the start the story seems extremely straightforward and, it must be said, a little silly and simplistic. Very easy to sum up in one sentence.

However, there's so much nuance, so many twists, and so much depth added throughout the story that I can't bring myself to type that simple sentence.

This is a story that will make you laugh. You'll want to strangle at least one character. You'll hate at least one. You're going to wring your hands in frustration. And in the end, your heart will break for these characters.

And at least one of the twists is going to hit you like a ton of bricks, leaving you dazed and unsure what to think or how to feel.

It's unusual for a twist to catch me competely unprepared, but one of these did so and it was glorious!

This book has the kind of explosive ending that readers dream about. All the promises made throughout the book come to fruition, even the ones you didn't realize were being made until you see them being fulfilled. Every disparate thread is weaved into a complex tapestry that can't help but blow your mind.

I'm normally the first to admit that no book can be for everyone, but I'm really struggling to come up with a type of reader who wouldn't enjoy this book.

Okay, here's one. If you insist on major character arcs, if you thrive on characters starting weak and growing strong, then this probably isn't the book for you. The whole quest is about gathering the greatest warriors in the world to fight an impossible battle.

Also, if there is no part of you that is even open to Eastern-themed fantasy or chi as magic (basically), then this probably isn't a good choice.

For everyone else, READ THIS BOOK!

Finally, full disclosure.
I received a free copy of this audiobook from the author and am voluntarily leaving this honest and unbiased review.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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The Samurai fiction you've been looking for!

After watching shows like "Samurai Champloo" and "Ninja Scroll", I never understood why I couldn't find any books with a similar feel. This novel changes the game completely. If you are a fan of anime or any film by Akira Kurosawa then stop reading this review and immediately pick this book up. The action is so well written that you can completely see and feel the battles in every detail. Rob J. Hayes humor and wit shows through as always. Even though it is a book surrounded by action, the characters were not one dimensional and I found myself rooting for those that I didn't originally. I believe it's only a matter of time before this is picked up to be made in a different form of media, but don't let that stop you from starting here. I had read that this is a "stand alone" novel, but that Rob J. Hayes may write more stories in this world. After finishing this novel, I was ready to start again from page 1.


I was very excited to hear about this book coming out but as my schedule is very busy, audiobooks are the way I consume most books. So finding this on Audible was perfect.

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review. Big thanks to Rob J. Hayes for the opportunity and wild ride!!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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A Masterpiece

Good books are hard to find. When you do finally find one you want everyone else to read it. But how do you get someone to give a book a try based on a review? This is one such book. And Yes, I believe you should read it.
While I was skeptical at first, I quickly found myself immersed, and unable to put the book down. Never Die is an action-packed, plot-driven narrative with compelling characters in a setting that feels truly surreal. The story is intriguing and steers clear from tropes, instead it creates something altogether new. If you have misgiving or are wondering if this is worth your money or you time, all I can say is give Never Die a try.
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Unique, Surprising, Poetic

For the earlier half or so of the book, I was enjoying myself but had the feeling it was a solid 4. There was a bit of shakiness in how the opening set itself up and the first interactions with Ein and Itami. However, as the book progressed and the interactions between the other warriors in the group are collected and we see their internal struggles and hopes and how this impacts both the whole story and their individual dynamic with the group the depth of the story pulled me in. Finally, the surprise/twist that is hinted at throughout the story and the complexity it is woven with such that you realize it is there right as the plot reaches the climax comes to the reveal just pulls everything together so well that I could not think anything but "5 stars!"

The narration was fantastic, the female narrator being a great fit for both of the main characters (young boy and a woman) while still being able to do an above average job on the remaining male characters as well.

While this does not appear to be part of a series, I will certainly be encouraged to check out other works by both the author and narrator after listening to this work.

I was given a free copy of this audiobook in exchange for an unbiased review.

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  • James
  • Powderly, KY, United States
  • 09-25-19

Very Good

Thoroughly enjoyed this book. Very well written fantasy with exceptional characters. Kim Bretton did an amazing job with all the voices.

“I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher.”

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A bloody good time!

I was hooked from the first paragraph. This story is fun, fast, and action packed. I loved it from beginning to end. Highly recommended.

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Great Eastern Fantasy with Superb Story

Never Die was a very well written book with intriguing characters, eastern themes and a ton of great action. Ein, a young boy has been given powers by a Shinigami to bring people back from the dead(Mostly). He is on a quest to find the greatest warriors and bring them back from the dead(which sometimes requires them being killed first) to help him on his quest to take down the Emperor of Ten Kings who is corrupt, evil and very powerful.

The gathered Heroes/Warriors are from all different disciplines and it is very interesting to have them interact with each other and with Ein. There are a lot of Eastern themes and if you are familiar with them it might make it easier for you to follow along and picture certain things but it is certainly not necessary as everything is described very well.

The narration by Kim Bretton was spot on and she did a great job with female and male characters alike but really shines with the voice's of Itami Cho(The Whispering Blade) and Ein himself which is a good thing since they are the main characters.

I really recommend the book it has great action and just a really cool story that is different than most fantasy novels and really cool characters, it can be dark at times and funny at others, it really has it all.

"Please note I was given this free review copy audio book at my request and have voluntarily left this review."

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thoroughly enjoyed.

Stellar idea, concept, and execution. Thank you for this contribution to literature.
It really earned the use of the word 'epic'. From the colorful language, the heart racing action with lots of violence, the great unique characters; this book was great.
Only complaint was that I wanted it to go on forever and it didnt, so fix that!

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  • Angela
  • 10-03-19

Excellent Grimdark Novel

Reminiscent of the character and world-building of Abercrombie's First Law series, this is an excellent grimdark novel.
Interesting premise, some excellent anti-heroes, plenty of violence, and most importantly, this is well written. Thoroughly enjoyable, and Hayes is definitely an author to keep an eye on.

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request via Audioboom and have voluntarily left this review.

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  • Taylor
  • 09-16-19

Spicy Japanese inspire supernatural adventure

General Thoughts
I have to admit I’m no expert on Asian inspired fantasy books and it is a bit out of my usual medieval European fantasy. I do watch a fair bit on anime so this was a refreshing change which I enjoyed. Rob J. Hayes attention to detail on the costumes, settings, mannerisms and mythology shone through in his writing and made it very authentic and believable.

Story – 9
Ein is a 8 year old boy who was brought back to life by a Shinigami (God of Death) and given a mission to kill the Emperor of Ten Kings. In order to accomplish this goal he has to recruit various heroes of legends.

The first hero he recruits is Itami Cho, the Whispering Blade. She carries two swords but it forbidden to draw the second blade. She uses her voice to power-up her sword attacks. They then encounter Zhihao Cheng, the Emerald Wind. He is a slippery rogue who can teleport to evade attacks. Iron Gut Chem is a larger than life character who has impenetrable skin and a massive appetite for life and food. Roi Astara, Death's Echo is a sharp shooting sniper who body is riddled with leprosy. Bingwei Ma is a monk who is the master of unarmed combat, unmatched in skill.

Not all these recruits are willing and Ein uses his necromantic magic to bring them back from death which binds them to him. Ein offers them a reward of a second life but If they stray too far away from him they will perish. This leads to a very strange dynamic of a 8 year old boy ordering legendary heroes. Also this is a group of individuals who would never been in a team together so there is some tension and unusual friendships formed.

There is a fair bit of action when unnatural creatures are sent to stop this group accomplishing their goal.

Characters – 8
I really enjoyed the quite a memorable cast of characters. They were all diverse and all have completely different motives, values and outlooks on life. The relationships they created and their banter was marvellous and sometimes hilarious and occasional very heart warming. All the heroes had very distinct fight styles and went through quite a bit of character development in the final third of the book. It wasn't until the final third of the book that I connected to some of the characters but I believe this was intentional as not all the heroes are show heroic personalities.

The Narration – 9
Kim Bretton was very good a narrating this book. She did an amazing job and making every character very distinct. This made everyone instantly recognisable who was talk at any point in the book. I thought the voice used for Ein was amazing. Kim did a great job with both sexes voices. The only voice that grated on me a little was Iron Gut Chem to start with but I got used to very quickly and actually like it by the end of the book.

Wrap Up
Rob J. Hayes is a British author which I quite like being from England. He is a very new talent winning SPFBO (Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off) 2017. Hayes did a great job of fitting so much story in such a short book.

I have to acknowledge the book cover as being truly amazing. The style was amazing and clearly shows you a lot of details in the story. The artist Felix Ortiz & designer Shawn King have outdone themselves.

I did find recruitment process of the heroes my only gripe. Each new heroes was about as strong as all the previous heroes put together probably to keep it interesting but I didn't like it as it made the previous hero look a bit weak and meant they could not recruit them in any other way.

This did feel like an anime in book form (I know there are Japanese light novels) with special powered heroes being recruited to form a crew.... cough...One Piece...cough at times. Not that is bad thing because it has 900 episodes for a reason.

Great standalone book which I would recommend and secretly hope there are more adventures in the same universe.

[Note - I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.]

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  • Jonathan
  • 08-28-19

A classic adventure with a twist

I recieved this book for review The book provides a solid adventure, following a group of misfit heroes on their quest. The action is well written and the narration is good. My only issue was that the conclusion felt abrupt as I had just started warming to the characters.

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  • S. D. Howarth
  • 06-29-19

Excellent adaptation

Excellent adaptation. Having been jammy enough to read an Arc, I found the audiobook even better.

Well worth anyone’s monthly token. Different to the authors usual work and doesn’t suffer for it. Like the book, the ending feels well rounded, less lean and the better for it.

I look forward to future adaptations.