Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Gods of Heavenly Punishment
by Jennifer Cody Epstein

Publisher: W W Norton & Company
Pages: 384
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  In this evocative and thrilling epic novel, fifteen-year-old Yoshi Kobayashi, child of Japan’s New Empire, daughter of an ardent expansionist and a mother with a haunting past, is on her way home on a March night when American bombers shower her city with napalm—an attack that leaves one hundred thousand dead within hours and half the city in ashen ruins. In the days that follow, Yoshi’s old life will blur beyond recognition, leading her to a new world marked by destruction and shaped by those considered the enemy: Cam, a downed bomber pilot taken prisoner by the Imperial Japanese Army; Anton, a gifted architect who helped modernize Tokyo’s prewar skyline but is now charged with destroying it; and Billy, an Occupation soldier who arrives in the blackened city with a dark secret of his own. Directly or indirectly, each will shape Yoshi’s journey as she seeks safety, love, and redemption.


Kritters Thoughts:  Broken up into interesting chapters with different locations and times in history, this story told the rarely documented bombing of Tokyo Japan and the before, during and after of this pinpoint in history through various viewpoints that were affected by it.  

A young Japanese girl and young American boy are the heart of the story and as they twist in and out of each others life was pretty spectacular.  The cast of characters took a bit to get straight, but wasn't distracting from the story.  I appreciated that the author used this large cast to share the large impact that these military decisions made.  

I was also thankful that the author used a more obscure location (belittled in the news, not in size) that was dwarfed by the violent bombings in Hiroshima and Nagaski.  As a fan of how historical fiction can tell a story and also inform, this story did both for me by providing accounts from both Japanese characters and American characters.  It allowed the story to move locations to share more information and give interesting perspectives on how each side though of the other.


Rating: definitely a good read, but can't read two in a row

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from TLC Book Tours.  I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.

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