It’s funny how I came across this book. I actually used to follow Adam Heine’s blog a long time ago, maybe ten years ago? I can’t remember but it was back when I was really into ex-pat blogs in Asia. He lives in Thailand with his wife and a gaggle of kids, and I love Thailand. I’ve been there once and really enjoyed my trip. ANYWAY, Adam and my other friend, Susan Kaye Quinn, are writing critique partners and Susan asked on Facebook if anyone was interested in reading Adam’s upcoming release. She billed it as “Samurai vs. robots! Hard times for androids in Meiji-era Japan.” I immediately jumped on it. SIGN ME UP!
I’ve always wanted to write a Japan alternate history book and now I don’t have to because Adam Heine did a wonderful job with IZANAMI’S CHOICE! Rich with culture and tradition, he wove androids into early 1900s Japan and IT MADE SENSE. The story starts with Itaru following his client’s son into a gambling establishment, and Heine does a great job of setting the scene, the tension, the background, and even the cultural eccentricities without dumping in details. He weaves in Japanese names and words (love the use of jinzou for the androids which means “synthetic” or “man-made”) into both dialogue and descriptions without losing the reader, making sure to keep things in context. This is something that readers of The Nogiku Series will really love.
Heine has obviously done his homework when it comes to Japanese culture. Nothing jumped out at me as being out of place or incorrect, and I’m sure you know that’s something I would harp on if there was. The pace of the novella kept me reading furiously all the way to the end. I even read it while I WAS IN JAPAN! And that was such a treat. Itaru’s own demons about a mission gone wrong and his estranged daughter came to a thoroughly satisfying conclusion, and I especially loved the final scene which was a great nod to the samurai way of life.
This was the first book I’ve read by Adam Heine, but I’m sure it won’t be the last. I enjoyed his strong authorial voice, creative storyline, and deep characters. If you’ve come to love Japanese life and culture through my books, then I strongly suggest you pick up IZANAMI’S CHOICE.