Never Die by Rob J. Hayes


My Rating: ★★★★★
Genre: Fantasy, Adult

It takes a lifetime of evil to be a villain, and only one moment of good to be a hero.

Book Blurb

Samurai, shinigami, vengeful spirits, and an impossible quest.

The Emperor of Ten Kings has plunged Hosa into war, and the gods are angry.

When the god of death gives Ein a mission to kill the immortal emperor, he knows he can't do it alone. He needs allies, heroes who will fight for him. How else can an eight-year-old boy hope to do the impossible?

Whispering Blade, Iron Gut Chen, the Century Blade, and Flaming Fist. These are all names of legend. And the god of death has given Ein a way to bind them to his cause. There is only one catch. In order to serve him, they must first die.

Never Die is a stand alone set in the world of Mortal Techniques. It’s a wuxia adventure filled with samurai, shinigami, heroes, and vengeful spirits.


I really wanted to read just one more book to get to 20 books read in 2022.

This book kept getting recommended to me in the Kindle app as something I would like. The cover's art style reminded me a bit of Kings of the Wyld and since I'm a sucker for anything that reminds me of that, I chose this to be my 20th book for the year?

Did I make it to finish it as my last book of 2022? Nope! Missed it by a few chapters (and it didn't help I was sick) but oh man, did I tore through this book!

The characters are amazing and distinct from each other.

Never Die follows a group of six characters. Sometimes characters get lost amongst all the chaos but in this case, the book didn't leave me with the feeling of missing out on any of them. Where they equally represented? No, in particular, two characters (The Emerald Wind and The Whispering Blade) were the ones we followed the most. And yet, I loved all of them and felt as if I can tell them apart even if you where to scratch out their names.

There is a goal and the story is essentially the characters trying to achieve that goal. Because the main appeal of this novel is their personal journey to achieving that goal, I would consider this more of a character driven book--something I'm personally more fond off!

I can genuinely see this as a movie, anime, or game!

When describing this book to friends, I kept mentioning how it was easy to picture this book as a movie in my head. All the fight scenes were described just right. Nothing was too wordy that can cause action scenes to drag or even too light where you are left confused feeling as if some parts are missing.

The best way I can describe this book using another media is this: The fight scenes played as Ghost of Tsushima boss scenes.

So if this where to ever be turned into an anime (or any other type of media), you bet your ass I will be watching it.

Note: When further researching this book, I found out the author was inspired by anime when writing this book. Well, no wonder I got that vibe!

Heroes were little more than fools waiting to find the one battle they couldn't win.

A wonderful hero's tale.

A fictional setting based of East Asian countries with Japanese mythology thrown in? Count me in. I'm not of Asian descent but from what I know and read, everything was represented respectfully. It clearly was written by someone who did research, admires the culture and it shows.

With Kings of the Wyld (can you tell it's my favorite of all time?) I felt as if a bard or one of the group members was telling me of this big adventure that they went through. Never Die gives another vibe– a story told over a campfire under the stars of a group of  legendary warriors coming together to achieve an impossible thing.

Final Thoughts

Rob J. Hayes did an awesome job with this book! Because of this, I have my eyes on the rest of the Mortal Techniques setting books and will read one very soon. Pawn's Gambit, I'm looking at you!

Do I recommend this book? Absolutely! It's a great character driven book with a simple goal: kill the immortal emperor. It's entertaining and I enjoyed every part of this journey.

Honour can be lost a dozen times, and regained. Life can only be lost once, and never regained.