Just minutes out of Tokyo and mere sentences into the open chapters of Bullet Train, by Kōtarō Isaka, the action begins. We barely get a chance to breathe as the characters collide on the Shinkansen train from Tokyo to Morioka; the plot twists come fast and furious. I completely understand why someone turned this book into a movie.
It’s hard to know who to root for in Bullet Train. In most stories, it’s fairly clear who’s the protagonist and who the antagonist. The first chapters present us with different scenarios, only to turn things on their head almost immediately. In one car on the Shinkansen, a man who wants to murder a teenager in an act of revenge is taken prisoner by that teenager. A pair of hired gunmen, in another car, have just realized that the kid they were hired to rescue has mysteriously died on them. In a third car, we meet the closest thing to a protagonist, in the form of a very unlucky man who has also been known to kill people for money. Nanao is only on the train to steal a suitcase when he spots someone who, on spotting Nanaro himself, decides he needs revenge then and there.
See what I mean about not being able to catch a breath? The plots never stop.
As the various characters run into each other—and eventually start trying to kill one another—we pick up more pieces of information about what the hell is going on. I won’t spoil anything here by giving away details; part of the fun of reading this book is learning what brought all of these people to this particular train and who is really pulling the strings behind it all. The rest of the fun comes from watching all of these professionals fighting each other. I could see the action in my head as Nanao and Lemon and Tangerine and the Prince throw punches, dodge, and try to outsmart each other.
This book was an amazing read and I’d definitely recommend it to any reader who wants something exciting to read.
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss for review consideration.