First off, you may have noticed that we have changed our TBR pile readalong to “Brunch Book Club” since that’s when we often have our monthly book chats… over some delicious brunch (not including this month….) We’ve also created a spiffy newsletter to use as our reminder emails that you can subscribe to over on the right sidebar! (Don’t worry, we’ll only send out 2-3 a month – to remind you of the current and upcoming reads) So click on over and subscribe 😎 –>
Also, as this is a discussion post on the book – SPOILER WARNING – if you haven’t read it yet.
Due to schedules on the weekend, our first official “Brunch Book Club” meeting ended up being a dinner book chat instead. Jenn (Lost in a Great Book), Chandra (@sakuralovestea) and I headed over to Cheesewerks for some delicious grilled cheese and mac & cheese. After we got our delicious food, we jumped into talk about Tokyo Heist. All were in agreement that it’s about a 3… 3½ star book and it’s not like there’s anything specific that was “wrong” with it per se, but that it was an alright read.
Chandra made a great connection with the way it was narrated, in the voice of Violet who thought she knew everything about manga and Japanese culture, so every use of a Japanese term kept getting explained, but as the story went on and she found herself in a city that she wasn’t as familiar with as she thought, the constant explanation petered off too. Also interesting that we noted was that because the narration was told through Violet’s POV, we got a very narrow sense of everyone & everything else in her life because of that. When Reika tells her at the end that she had been depressed, there was absolutely no sense of that all along. Through the eyes of Violet, and subsequently the readers, Reika seemed like not a great friend – ignoring Violet to hit on a guy who’s more than their ages combined.
We all also felt there was something really off and kinda douchey about Violet’s father and actually was surprised that he didn’t have anything to do with the heist afterall. We were waiting for it to be revealed that he had been hiding it all along, or that he was somehow involved. Violet’s crush, we felt, was also a little conveniently out of the picture till the end. Perhaps it would be too complicated to write in a blossoming love story along with a mystery so he’s conveniently off to camp the entire time. Chandra & Jenn agreed that THANK GOD that there wasn’t a “cute Japanese boy” thrown into the story as if to divert Violet’s attention from the crush and, to be honest, I thought the story would take that turn as well – like perhaps she’d fall for her bodyguard or something.
Jenn brought up how great Renn was at the red herrings. There were oh-so-many misdirections as to who was involved, or where the mystery was going. She had us suspecting probably almost everyone in the book at one point. We loved the different setting that was explored, and all the details of the culture & traditions were fantastic. Jenn and Chandra were interested to see Violet’s comic book, as there was quite a storyline and descriptive details on the drawings – great imagery with the birds.
Judging the book by its cover, I said that it looks a lot more “Fast and the Furious” than it ends up being. Not that it wasn’t entertaining, but it was a lot more “light & fun” rather than “underground & gritty”, as I thought it would be. Even the mobsters in the book are explained to the readers that they are feared by all but I never really got a sense of that.
(We popped to the diner across the street for a coffee/tea/wine afterwards and I sadly left my delicious Cheesewerks leftovers on the table!! *cries* Was looking forward to having the rest of my Beijing Mac & Cheese!)
Will you join us for our March read, John Green’s An Abundance of Katherines?