Newcomer by Keigo Higashino |Book Review

Newcomer by Keigo Higashino is part of the Detective Kaga series. This book can be read as a standalone as there’s no backstory about Kaga or his personal life in the books. I’ve only read The Devotion of Suspect X before by the author and I loved it for its brilliant narration and I was super hyped about receiving this book for review.

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Newcomer is about the murder of a 40-year old woman, who is living alone and hardly any of her neighbours or the shops around her place know her or where she is from. She’s a newcomer to the area and is found strangulated to death in her apartment.  So why was she murdered and by who – a classic case of whodunnit mystery.

The book is divided into 8 small sections – each around people directly or indirectly involved with the victim and what role they played in it. These stories are like mini-mysteries that have small endings of their own and also unfold a little part of the victim’s past or even days before her murder. I loved how they were all intricately woven to narrate a bigger story and how they all fall into place towards the end. One cannot stop feeling sad for the victim and agree with the witnesses that “she is a sweet person, with no enemies”.

As there is an entire cast of characters, we only get a glimpse of each – except for the victim’s son – and I liked how Kaga interacts with them on the most trivial things that go on to show a little more about the person.. It definitely was a case of misjudgements for me, as in characters I thought were bad turn up good and each of the mini-mysteries were so good that it never felt boring or dragging.

One thing I didn’t like about the book was the repetition of lines and some dialogues not making sense or significance, but these are bound to happen in translated works and I kinda ignored that.

Kaga is also a newcomer to the precinct and I loved his style of solving the crime – casual, calculating and observant. He didn’t behave like a know-it-all , rather revealing the facts slowly in a matter-of-fact way.

Anyone who loves simple, uncomplicated mysteries would love this book. You may not find “mind-blowing, woah never seen that coming” kinda plot twists, but its all about love and family and relationships, and not a cold blooded murder. Overall, this is a sweet (??!!) cozy, heart-warming mystery that you can read in one sitting and if you’re a fan of Japanese lit, you would love it.

My rating 3.75 stars!

**Thanks to the publishers for providing me with this review copy**

P.S I scheduled this post for 6th Feb 2019 but WordPress kinda pissed me off by posting an empty blog with only a title. I couldn’t recover anything and had to post from scratch.

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Author : Keigo Higashino

Publishers : Hachette India

Source: Review copy

Buy the book from Amazon.in

Mystery |Suspense |Japanese Lit

 

Heart of Iron – Book Review

Author: Ashley Poston

Publishers: Balzer + Bray

Published on : Feb 2018

Source: Audiobook listened through Storytel.in

First in a series , not a standalone.

Book Blurb

Seventeen-year-old Ana is a scoundrel by nurture and an outlaw by nature. Found as a child drifting through space with a sentient android called D09, Ana was saved by a fearsome space captain and the grizzled crew she now calls family. Heart of Iron (Heart of Iron, #1)But D09—one of the last remaining illegal Metals—has been glitching, and Ana will stop at nothing to find a way to fix him. Ana’s desperate effort to save D09 leads her on a quest to steal the coordinates to a lost ship that could offer all the answers. But at the last moment, a spoiled Ironblood boy beats Ana to her prize. He has his own reasons for taking the coordinates, and he doesn’t care what he’ll sacrifice to keep them. When everything goes wrong, she and the Ironblood end up as fugitives on the run. Now their entire kingdom is after them—and the coordinates—and not everyone wants them captured alive. What they find in a lost corner of the universe will change all their lives—and unearth dangerous secrets. But when a darkness from Ana’s past returns, she must face an impossible choice: does she protect a kingdom that wants her dead or save the Metal boy she loves?

Heart of Iron is supposedly a sci-fi space retelling of Anastasia which I knew nothing of and had to google it before beginning the book. Let me warn you, I have not read that much sci-fi and haven’t really felt a liking towards the genre because its all very confusing to me. But I liked Heart of Iron and here’s why.

Amazing characters

The book is richly packed with diverse characters – Metals  (Androids that are both devoid and brimming with emotions), gay couples, a brown skinned female protagonist etc.

The book is told in four POV’s..

  • Ana – The girl who was found by Captain Siege in an escape pod in space, along with her companion Metal, Di or D09.
  • Di – The metalhead who is devoid of feelings but is very very loyal and protective of Ana.
  • Jax – the cool pilot of the Dossier, the pirate ship that Ana belongs to. He is queer and has the ability to read the stars, and has a mysterious past which is not revealed much in the book.
  • Robb – the Ironblood who is desperately searching for his father who is presumed dead by the Kingdom, during its Android attack seven years ago that killed the entire Royal family including it’s Princess.

So you would have thought that Robb and Ana would end up together, but no !! If it weren’t revealed towards the beginning of the book that Ana has not-just-friendly feelings for her Di, considering the amount of time Robb and Ana spend together in the latter part of the book, I would have thought that they were the couples too 😛

The plot twists

I’m not talking about discovering who the lost princess is.. There are a lot of tiny little plot twists that make the entire book enjoyable. Good become bad, Bad become good??!!, people end up dead, secrets revealed..

The writing

Its simple, fast paced (although a little lagging at the beginning) and has beautiful lines like these.

Her heart beat, and his wires hummed, and they were Ana and Di – and there were no words for that.

If he believed in the Moon Goddess, he’d be praying right now. He’d be praying really, really hard. And he’d be praying something like, Merciful Goddess, if you exist, please hand my ass to me some other day. I don’t want to die. I haven’t kissed Jax yet.

And E05!! 

This cute little bot stole my heart!! It can’t speak but comes in handy in several situations and is cutely called by Di as his can opener ❤

What I Didn’t like

Okayyyyy… coming to what I didn’t like.. Basically a little hard to understand who was what.. So Captain Siege has optical fibre hair that lights up different colours based on her emotions. One of the crew member has mechanical leg. But I wasn’t sure if they were also Metals like Di or Human or Humanoids.. And also not very clear about Di too.

I disliked the madman Lord Rasovant, not because he is the supposedly villain of the story but because of how poorly his character was built. He sounded like a lunatic to me and not a very powerful character that needs to be feared.

The world building could have been better, because I wasn’t clear on the planets and the Iron Kingdom or the Solanis. There were random places mentioned, planets and their moons but it lacked some in-depth and clear idea of the world Poston was trying to build.  I’m not sure if the books had a map, but I read an audiobook so it was all the more confusing.

The verdict!!

Yes, I will be looking forward to the sequel Soul of Stars that comes out in 2019 hoping to know more of that ending!! And more about the HIVE and Jax.

I rate the book  3.75 stars!!

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