When Emi Tsukijima is attacked by a serial killer and survives, her whole life as a successful business woman is disrupted. The trauma consumes her, fear makes it nearly impossible to do her job and, below that is the terrible knowledge that humans are not alone. That there’s something dark and terrible on the streets that hunts them
After that, the emotional impact of knowing her presumed dead ex-boyfriend is hunting them is just an extra blow to her fragile realisation.
The emotional journey of Emi in this book is incredible and powerful – and excellently balanced
She begins as a very normal woman with very mundane problems. Her job, her love life and her romantic plans being dashed rather terribly
Then the supernatural hits and we get the devastating impact of her victimisation, her desperate fight for her life and being thrust into a world she doesn’t understand, facing monsters she never knew existed and trying desperately to hold her world together. She is damaged, she is hurt, she is afraid and she cannot return to normality
She has the excellent emotional impact of discovering and old lover is a hunter and the incredible pain that was caused by him leaving her life and his family’s life. It’s an extremely heartbreaking scene as she describes the pain he has caused.
But from that we also see Emi progress, find her strength, find her determination, her honour, her courage. We see her fight and sacrifice because she simply can’t expect less of herself. She cannot stand to be the person she would be if she didn’t. We definitely see her rise up from the ashes to an extent that impresses even the monsters
Her emotional journey is one of the best I’ve ever seen
Ok so everything I’ve written up there is practically screaming “but”. So let’s hit that but.
This book is, like so many others, twice as long as it needs to be. And it is that long because we have pages and pages and pages and pages of Emi’s emotional journey. There’s a section of the book where Emi and several strangers are trapped in a cage while Emi despairs and fears about being killed and worries about who will be next
This goes on for what feels like 20 or more pages. A lot more. She spends pages upon pages of chasing her thoughts around, arguing with her fellow captives and generally nothing happening
There’s another section of the book where she and Naoki argue over him faking his own death and it goes on and on and on and on
Don’t get me wrong, these scenes are powerful. They’re full of emotional growth and realisation. They’re painful and dramatic and you can feel her pain and how difficult it is for her to grasp. But I can see that after 5 pages, after 5 paragraphs. But it keeps on going and going and going and going and we get it already! Please get back to the something HAPPENING.