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A standalone book set in the USJ universe, Mecha Samurai Empire focuses on a group of aspiring mecha cadets preparing to fight the Nazis. Foremost among them, Makoto Fujimoto grew up in California, but with a difference--his California is part of the United States of Japan. After Germany and Japan won WWII, the United States fell under their control. Growing up in this wor A standalone book set in the USJ universe, Mecha Samurai Empire focuses on a group of aspiring mecha cadets preparing to fight the Nazis. Foremost among them, Makoto Fujimoto grew up in California, but with a difference--his California is part of the United States of Japan. After Germany and Japan won WWII, the United States fell under their control. Growing up in this world, Mac plays portical games, haphazardly studies for the Imperial Exam, and dreams of becoming a mecha pilot. Only problem: Mac's grades are terrible. His only hope is to pass the military exam and get into the prestigious mecha pilot training program at Berkeley Military Academy. When his friend Hideki's plan to game the test goes horribly wrong, Mac washes out of the military exam too. Perhaps he can achieve his dream by becoming a civilian pilot. But with tensions rising between Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany and rumors of collaborators and traitors abounding, Mac will have to stay alive long enough first...


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A standalone book set in the USJ universe, Mecha Samurai Empire focuses on a group of aspiring mecha cadets preparing to fight the Nazis. Foremost among them, Makoto Fujimoto grew up in California, but with a difference--his California is part of the United States of Japan. After Germany and Japan won WWII, the United States fell under their control. Growing up in this wor A standalone book set in the USJ universe, Mecha Samurai Empire focuses on a group of aspiring mecha cadets preparing to fight the Nazis. Foremost among them, Makoto Fujimoto grew up in California, but with a difference--his California is part of the United States of Japan. After Germany and Japan won WWII, the United States fell under their control. Growing up in this world, Mac plays portical games, haphazardly studies for the Imperial Exam, and dreams of becoming a mecha pilot. Only problem: Mac's grades are terrible. His only hope is to pass the military exam and get into the prestigious mecha pilot training program at Berkeley Military Academy. When his friend Hideki's plan to game the test goes horribly wrong, Mac washes out of the military exam too. Perhaps he can achieve his dream by becoming a civilian pilot. But with tensions rising between Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany and rumors of collaborators and traitors abounding, Mac will have to stay alive long enough first...

30 review for Mecha Samurai Empire

  1. 4 out of 5

    Peter Tieryas

    7-27-19 So honored to share that Mecha Samurai Empire won Japan's top science fiction award, the Seiun! The other nominees included Artemis by Andy Weir, Seveneves by Neil Stephenson, and Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel, all of which I loved. 9-27-18 A lot of great reviews this week, esp these two from B&N and Den of Geek. They highlight parts that were important to me, like the protagonist being regular guy (not a chosen hero), and really showing the alternate worlds, daily student life, etc. htt 7-27-19 So honored to share that Mecha Samurai Empire won Japan's top science fiction award, the Seiun! The other nominees included Artemis by Andy Weir, Seveneves by Neil Stephenson, and Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel, all of which I loved. 9-27-18 A lot of great reviews this week, esp these two from B&N and Den of Geek. They highlight parts that were important to me, like the protagonist being regular guy (not a chosen hero), and really showing the alternate worlds, daily student life, etc. https://www.barnesandnoble.com/blog/s... http://www.denofgeek.com/us/books/276... 8-31-18 Mecha has made September Best of lists at Amazon, Kirkus Reviews, B&N Science Fiction, io9 Gizmodo, Tor.com, Unbound Worlds, Den of Geek and Verge. Super honored! 4-2-18 HIDEO KOJIMA BLURBED MECHA SAMURAI EMPIRE!! I couldn't believe it and am sooo honored! I've been playing his games (Metal Gear, Zone of the Enders, etc) forever and as this book draws many parallels with my personal struggles in gaming and writing, this means so much! "Intermixing the experience of cinema, literature, anime, comics, and gaming, this is the new generation of Science Fiction we've been waiting for!" Hideo Kojima, Game Creator 2-12-18 First two blurbs are in and they're amazing! Thank you August Cole and Taylor Anderson! "Mecha Samurai Empire is a spectacular and thought-provoking rollercoaster ride through the United States of Japan that builds, section by section, as it explores profoundly original concepts about robotics and biology." --August Cole, Co-Author of Ghost Fleet: A Novel of the Next World War and Editor of The Atlantic Council's War Stories From the Future. "Fascinating and entertaining, Mecha Samurai Empire has a fabulous 'what if' premise that imagines an America controlled by Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany--and giant armored robots duking it out in arenas and on the battlefield. But at its heart, Mecha Samurai Empire is the powerful coming of age saga of Mac and his friends. Raised in a well-imagined Japanese-America awash in American culture, but which still deifies the Emperor and represses all allusions to the barbarity of the Japanese conquest, their hopes and dreams are influenced by deeply conflicted expectations for themselves--and for the United States of Japan. Watching them grow to understand that their side is far from perfect--while learning just how much worse the Nazis are--foreshadows a titanic struggle between not only the dominant "mecha" superpowers, but between what is, and what ought to be. I caught myself thinking about the book long after I read it, and anxiously await the next installment."--Taylor Anderson, New York Times bestselling author of the Destroyermen series 2-1-18 The Mecha Samurai Empire cover reveal (mecha by the amazing John Liberto) and first interview about the book at The Verge! https://www.theverge.com/2018/2/1/169... The goodreads page for my new book, Mecha Samurai Empire, is finally up. It's a standalone book set in the USJ universe focused on mecha combat with the Nazis and is very different from the USJ! I look forward to sharing the adventures of these aspiring mecha cadets with everyone!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Dan Schwent

    Will misfit Makoto Fujimoto realize his dream of being a mecha pilot, with his abysmal grades and war between the United States of Japan and Germany looming in the background? I really enjoyed United States of Japan but wanted more mecha action. Thankfully, this popped up on Netgalley not very long ago. I'll probably grab a physical copy to keep on my shelf beside United States of Japan because I liked it quite a bit. Mecha Samurai Empire is part alternate history tale, part coming of age tale, wi Will misfit Makoto Fujimoto realize his dream of being a mecha pilot, with his abysmal grades and war between the United States of Japan and Germany looming in the background? I really enjoyed United States of Japan but wanted more mecha action. Thankfully, this popped up on Netgalley not very long ago. I'll probably grab a physical copy to keep on my shelf beside United States of Japan because I liked it quite a bit. Mecha Samurai Empire is part alternate history tale, part coming of age tale, with a generous helping of mecha action. Makoto Fujimoto is a misfit when the tale starts, a video gamer war orphan whose dreams of being a mecha pilot keep him going. Eventually, he gets there, and sees it isn't quite what he thought it was. Since United States of Japan laid most of the groundwork, this one was more of a character story, believe it or not. Mac goes from being a callow kid to a pilot over the course of the book, making friends and blowing a lot of shit up along the way. My main gripe with USJ was the lack of mechas. This one had about 77% more mecha content and it was just the book I wanted to read. Mac was a little passive but a big improvement over Ben Ishimura in the last book. Also, it was nice to see Agent Tsukino again. Griselda, Nori, Kujira, Kazu, and Chieko made for an interesting supporting cast, all the mecha pilots having fairly colorful personalities. I would have strangled Kujira! There are all sorts of video game and pop culture Easter eggs, focused through USJ's alternate history lens. I caught references to Super Mario Bros 3, Madame Butterfly, Double Dragon, and Megaman II and that was just the tip of the iceberg. The mecha combat brought back fond memories of watching Voltron and Robotech after school. Mecha Samurai empire is where Peter Tieryas breaks free of his Man in the High Castle roots and runs wild. I'm already looking forward to the next book. Four out of five stars.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Dani ❤️ Perspective of a Writer

    Check out more reviews @ Perspective of a Writer... A standalone book set in the United States of Japan universe, Mecha Samurai Empire focuses on a group of aspiring mecha cadets preparing to fight the Nazis. Foremost among them, Makoto Fujimoto plays portical games, haphazardly studies for the Imperial Exam, and dreams of becoming a mecha pilot. Only problem: Mac’s grades are terrible. His only hope is to pass the military exam and get into the prestigious mecha pilot training program at Berkel Check out more reviews @ Perspective of a Writer... A standalone book set in the United States of Japan universe, Mecha Samurai Empire focuses on a group of aspiring mecha cadets preparing to fight the Nazis. Foremost among them, Makoto Fujimoto plays portical games, haphazardly studies for the Imperial Exam, and dreams of becoming a mecha pilot. Only problem: Mac’s grades are terrible. His only hope is to pass the military exam and get into the prestigious mecha pilot training program at Berkeley Military Academy. The short review... Have you ever seen an anime or movie with mecha?! They are like the robot on the front cover except that a group of human being can ride around in one body part of the mecha... I know its huge!! I'm not sure how I would feel PILOTING one, maybe super powerful?! But for Makoto Fujimoto its a life long dream as his deceased parents wanted to be pilots but ended up taking on other roles in their mechas. I totally related to this kid's dream and the knowledge that he's competing with all if the kids his age in the USJ! This is one part alternate history, one part coming of age with some major mecha action to tie it all together. We cover quite a bit of time as Makoto starts in high school and advances to later opportunities. Because of this time jumping we stick to 'regular joe' Makoto through the story. There is a lot of thinking, explaining and studying mecha. It's almost like you become Makoto with all the emotions, experiences... and slice of life aspects. At the end of the day, this is all about the mecha battles! Sure, I enjoyed seeing Mac work his butt off to get in shape, to learn mad fighting skills and try to measure up to the other mecha pilots who just seemed to get it innately. But I was reading for the battles... and they were EPIC!! For not having read United States of Japan I found Mecha Samurai Empire a fascinating look at what might have been if Japan won. I'm happy to have started with the mecha battles and now want to go back and see what all the reward fervor was about with the first book! Cover & Title grade -> A+ This is such a gorgeous cover!! It totally looks like a real mecha and it just gives you this sense of the world... things are quite black and white in the United States of Japan (or rather red and blue) and its all about the mecha! So it makes a lot of sense that these teens dream of becoming the much heralded mecha pilots. Why may you enjoy Mecha Samurai Empire? Yeah so I think my short review sufficiently sold Makoto, the USJ world (of mechas and Japanese culture) and mechas... What else is there?! The secondary characters MAKE this story! -Griselda. A girl Mac grew up with who is a better video game player than he is... She has some German ancestry and so doesn't fit in on either side of the war... -Agent Tsukino. A return from United States of Japan, she investigates Mac over the course of the book and can be an ominous shadow or a voice of reason... -Nori. The best student in Mac's high school and from military parents... she takes a shine to Mac after she gives him a helping hand during exams... -Kujira. Another return character (I didn't know that about him) and a crazy dude that makes a hellava mecha pilot! Not sure about being his friend though... -Kazu. An older mecha pilot and the leader of the Tigers... He becomes a sort of mentor for Mac and has a neat story of his own about making his dream a reality! -Chieko. A compatriot who Mac has gone through all sorts of crap with, she has her own mecha fighting style and is another badass woman among a great group of badasses! As a Writer... Okay Dani, I'm going to ask you the question once again... why 4 stars if this is so full of basasses?! Well... there were some writing issues that bugged me... For some readers these may not be an issue but I feel like they kept the book from being the best that it could be... -Clunky info dumping. (The world building is incredibly well developed!) This doesn't just happen at the start of the book as setup but periodically is dropped on us to explain stuff. I just wish it had happened in a more organic way that felt natural. It's hard when I don't need the info for 100 pages... -Dry technical details. (The battles though were incredible and totally make up for every dry fact!) The technical bits were too technical and dry... it was like reading a manual and I couldn’t retain a whit of it! I get it, Mac is driving a huge mecha so stats and all that like for a car are important... but also so dry if they are just reeled off! -Slice of Life too much. (You do feel like you're Mac and experience what he's experiencing!) There were several transitions when Mac was experiencing change and during these passages we get very slice of life... Inductions to several groups, a trip, and other day to day things... it’s all a little boring, mainly because it took too long. We don't want to linger in transitions, pick up the pace. Mecha Samurai Empire is all about the mecha pilots... dreaming of becoming one, doing the work and living the dream... all in the name of the United States of Japan... because Japan won WWII!! The mecha battles are epic and that final faint... WOOOOOO WEEEEEEEE! ⋆ ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Authenticity ⋆ ⋆ ⭐⭐⭐ Writing Style ⋆ ⋆ ⭐⭐⭐ Plot & Pacing ⋆ ⭐⭐⭐⭐ World Building Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review. It has not influenced my opinions. ______________________ You can find this review and many others on my book blog @ Perspective of a Writer. See my special perspective at the bottom of my reviews under the typewriter... Please like this review if you enjoyed it! *bow* *bow* It helps me out a ton!!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Beth Cato

    I received an advance ebook through NetGalley. The best way to summarize this series is Man in the High Castle with mechas. These books are alt history, sci-fi, and horror all at once, awesome and yet disturbing. I loved the first book,United States of Japan, and I was excited to read the second book Mecha Samurai Empire. To my delight, it was even better than the first book. I immediately connected with Mac and wanted him to succeed in his goal to be a mecha pilot, even as I remained horrified th I received an advance ebook through NetGalley. The best way to summarize this series is Man in the High Castle with mechas. These books are alt history, sci-fi, and horror all at once, awesome and yet disturbing. I loved the first book,United States of Japan, and I was excited to read the second book Mecha Samurai Empire. To my delight, it was even better than the first book. I immediately connected with Mac and wanted him to succeed in his goal to be a mecha pilot, even as I remained horrified the whole time at the vision of the western United States under Japanese rule. But as awful as life there us, things are a lot worse with the Nazis living next door. Their foul experiments have resulted in mechas with a biological twist. The book is largely a coming-of-age story like classics such as Ender's Game, but with a lot of trope-bending twists. Mac is not naturally gifted as a pilot. He works at his goal with grit and determination, like a McDonald's employee starting as a janitor and working up to company manager. If you read United States of Japan but wanted it to have more mecha battles, you get your wish here! The book reads incredibly fast thanks to great banter, interesting characters, and well-paced action sequences. Plus, as someone who grew up with many of the same video game and anime influences as the author, I geeked out over the Easter eggs scattered throughout.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Virginia

    I loved loved LOVED this book! It is such a fun adventure book with giant robots and heroes with even larger hearts. To start this review, I need to begin with my high school years, curling up next to the bookshelves of my local bookstore and library and reading as much manga as I could. I could lose myself in the pages of that fantastic artwork and always wondered what it was like to live like one of them, especially those who fought in massive suits of armor (or mecha) and took out villains he I loved loved LOVED this book! It is such a fun adventure book with giant robots and heroes with even larger hearts. To start this review, I need to begin with my high school years, curling up next to the bookshelves of my local bookstore and library and reading as much manga as I could. I could lose myself in the pages of that fantastic artwork and always wondered what it was like to live like one of them, especially those who fought in massive suits of armor (or mecha) and took out villains hellbent on revenge. This book helped me live my teenage fantasy. The story follows a young man named Mac who has always wanted to pilot his own mecha. Despite the odds being horribly stacked up against him, his persistence, willpower, and strength get him a chance at living his dream. However, he doesn't realize the cost that comes with it... This a fantastic journey into an alternate world with the Axis Powers won WWII, but still have a larger war to fight against each other. The characters are so intriguing and Mac is fantastically developed throughout the story. The pacing was incredible too. My favorite parts though, as much as I loved the giant fighting robots, were the quiet moments where the characters were forced to tackle on what was right versus what was tradition. It's a intriguing debate and the answer you might've had in the beginning might not be the one you finish with. I HIGHLY recommend this to anyone who grew up reading manga and/or anime, especially with giant fighting mecha. I also think anyone who loves a good sci-fi adventure or alternate history would enjoy this too. It's YA-friendly as well! Also, while this may seem like a "sequel" to THE UNITED STATES OF JAPAN," you do not have to read that book to enjoy this one.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Tim Flipton

    much better mecha action than usj

  7. 4 out of 5

    Gary

    Great action and characters. Full RTC

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jeffrey McLain

    MSE grows on the strengths of USJ. There are many nods back to the original, but definitely a read you can enjoy on its own, without having experienced the first book. Peter Tieryas does an excellent job world building. The near future we find in the USJ is recognizable and plausible (minus the giant war-robots, but fingers crossed!!!), and the moderate familiarity with the world around the characters really helps you as the reader enjoy the scenery for what it is, but not let it distract you fr MSE grows on the strengths of USJ. There are many nods back to the original, but definitely a read you can enjoy on its own, without having experienced the first book. Peter Tieryas does an excellent job world building. The near future we find in the USJ is recognizable and plausible (minus the giant war-robots, but fingers crossed!!!), and the moderate familiarity with the world around the characters really helps you as the reader enjoy the scenery for what it is, but not let it distract you from the drama that the characters are experiencing. It's cliche to say - but it's impressive that the action in this book actually continues on to the last couple pages of the book. I couldn't believe that I had so few pages left and what seemed like major events in the story were still happening. If you enjoy giant robots, sci fi, a world full of tension, "what-if's" of historical fiction, and characters that are meaningful because they experience real loss and relatable struggles, this is a must read for you.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Judy Han

    4.5 I was surprised at how different this book is from United States of Japan. I enjoy Manga and this was a fun take on mecha stories. I really liked the weird glimpses into its alternate history. The new pledge of allegiance was disturbing. The book also made me hungry. There's a bunch of food in it which is very different. I was happy to see Kujira make a return but wished it would have explained how he survived after the incidents of the first book. It takes a while to get to Berkeley but the 4.5 I was surprised at how different this book is from United States of Japan. I enjoy Manga and this was a fun take on mecha stories. I really liked the weird glimpses into its alternate history. The new pledge of allegiance was disturbing. The book also made me hungry. There's a bunch of food in it which is very different. I was happy to see Kujira make a return but wished it would have explained how he survived after the incidents of the first book. It takes a while to get to Berkeley but the journey is devastating. A lot of people die in this book. I like violent books.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Mogsy (MMOGC)

    4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2018/09/17/... Mecha Samurai Empire takes place in the world of Peter Tieryas’ United States of Japan, an alternate history described as a spiritual successor to The Man in High Castle in which the Japanese won World War II and conquered America. While this is the second novel set in the USJ sequence, the author’s intention is for each book in the series to be a standalone focusing on a different aspect of this universe, and in the case 4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2018/09/17/... Mecha Samurai Empire takes place in the world of Peter Tieryas’ United States of Japan, an alternate history described as a spiritual successor to The Man in High Castle in which the Japanese won World War II and conquered America. While this is the second novel set in the USJ sequence, the author’s intention is for each book in the series to be a standalone focusing on a different aspect of this universe, and in the case of this one, our story follows a young man on his journey to become a mecha pilot so he can join the war against the Nazis. The books starts off in the year 1994, and our protagonist Makoto “Mac” Fujimoto is a Californian teenager who has spent his whole life growing up under the imperial rule of Japan. With dreams of one day fighting for his country by joining the mecha corps, he must ace his upcoming Imperial Exams because the program will only accept the best of the best. The only problem is, Mac is a terrible student. Even with his powerful resolve and the fine skills he shows in the war sims he plays at the arcade and on his portical, his grades simply won’t be good enough to get him into one of the most prestigious mecha piloting schools in the world at Berkeley Military Academy. So when his best friend offers him a way to game the exams, it takes Mac great difficulty not to simply give in to the temptation of doing something immoral to get ahead. Ultimately though, his refusal to cheat winds up saving his life, even as his dreams of attending Berkeley after graduation lies in tatters. Still, there may yet be a way for Mac to become a mecha pilot—as a civilian—but only if he manages to survive long enough in the dangerous political climate created by escalating tensions between Germany and Japan. After reading United States of Japan and now Mecha Samurai Empire, I’ve started to notice that Peter Tieryas has a remarkable l knack for writing about underdog characters and getting the reader to cheer for them. Mac is a great example of an underachiever, particularly in the academics, who can still work his way to his goal with strong determination and a good heart. Perhaps apropos to this series, his journey also shows that while a disaster can alter the course of your entire life, new opportunities can arise from plans that go awry—opportunities that you may have never even considered before. As a result, Mecha Samurai Empire is also a first-rate coming-of-age tale as Mac struggles to find his identity and carve out a role for himself while navigating this world of colonialism, conspiracy, and corruption. He discovers that reality isn’t as black and white as he’s been led to believe. He experiences what it’s like to be in a real battle and in real danger—so very different from the simulation games he plays. He learns about love and loss, forging new relationships while also realizing how much his old friends mean to him. But now let’s turn to the main reason why you’re probably checking out this book: the totally badass giant robot on the cover. Yes, this story has mechas. A lot of them. In fact, if you were somewhat disappointed by the relative lack of mecha action in United States of Japan, I think you’ll be quite happy with how much of it you get here. Inspired by anime and games like Persona, Zone of the Enders, and Metal Gear, Tieryas packs this novel with plenty of thrilling and fast-paced battle scenes as well as references to gaming and geek culture, making it perfect for fans of sci-fi action and adventure. In addition, the author has greatly expanded his world-building in this volume, giving us a look at another one of the many interesting sides to the USJ universe. A significant portion of it explores the cold war between the Japanese Empire and Nazi Germany, the latter of which has continued to commit the worst kinds of atrocities. Meanwhile, the government in the Unites States is also dealing with a group of rebels known as the George Washingtons, whose goal is to break the country free from the rule of Japan. Because of the modern setting, at times it’s easy to forget this is an alternate world, but inevitably something always happens to pull you back into this strange and unfamiliar place and remind you that the different outcome of WWII has affected all aspects of culture and society on a global scale. That’s also why I was tremendously excited to read Mecha Samurai Empire, because I wanted to know more and explore this alternate timeline further after reading United States of Japan. While the two books may share a few thematic similarities due to the fact they both take place in the same world, on the whole they are still vastly different. Furthermore, Peter Tieryas has clearly been honing his craft, for I feel that the storytelling and pacing is better in this book and more polished. All in all, this was a great read and I hope this is just the beginning of more books set in the world of USJ.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Rosemary

    This is a fantastic crossover novel for any sci-fi/fantasy fans, manga and anime fans, and alternate history fans out there. I did NOT want to put this one down! The backstory: The AXIS powers (primarily Germany and Japan, for purposes of this novel) won what we know as World War II. America is now known as the United States of Japan, and Germany shares control to some degree, of the American territories. It's an uneasy alliance between Japan and Germany, and the terrorists known as the George Wa This is a fantastic crossover novel for any sci-fi/fantasy fans, manga and anime fans, and alternate history fans out there. I did NOT want to put this one down! The backstory: The AXIS powers (primarily Germany and Japan, for purposes of this novel) won what we know as World War II. America is now known as the United States of Japan, and Germany shares control to some degree, of the American territories. It's an uneasy alliance between Japan and Germany, and the terrorists known as the George Washingtons are always ready to fight. Now: Makoto Fujimoto is a young man born and raised in California, orphaned by war and raised by an abusive foster home, now a student with one goal: to attend the Berkeley Military Academy and become a mecha pilot. His awful grades threaten his dream, but a chance to work as a civilian mech pilot gives him a chance to get into shape and learn some skills. When his squadron comes under attack by Nazi bio-mechs, he and his surviving squadmate land two spots at the Military Academy, just in time for tensions between the USJ and Nazi Germany to hit an all-time high. There are traitors everywhere... maybe even among Makoto's old friends. I LOVED this book. I haven't read the first book, United States of Japan, and you don't need to - this adventure takes place in the same universe, but Makoto's story is entirely his own. (You can bet that I've just requested it for myself, and put both books in order cart for the library, though.) There's fantastic action and world-building; gratuitous mech battles; intrigue, and strong characters. Peter Tieryas creates some wonderfully strong, intelligent female characters and gives his male characters empathy and feeling. Pacific Rim fans, Harry Turtledove fans, and Man in the High Castle fans will dive right into this series, and so will your anime and manga fans. I've already booktalked this one to a teen at my library; he fully expects this to be waiting here for him when it hits shelves on September 18th. Get your geek on and booktalk/display with Garrison Girl and some gundam manga.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Adriana

    Wow, this book is fantastic and engaging and entirely human in the most positive of ways and I can't wait to read what comes next. In an alternate history where Japan and Germany won the war with the use of giant mechas (robots) the US (and the world) are now territories divided between the two powers. We enter this world as we follow a young man whose dream is to become a pilot after he lost both his parents in battle when he was just a little kid. He is not ideal material for a pilot but he st Wow, this book is fantastic and engaging and entirely human in the most positive of ways and I can't wait to read what comes next. In an alternate history where Japan and Germany won the war with the use of giant mechas (robots) the US (and the world) are now territories divided between the two powers. We enter this world as we follow a young man whose dream is to become a pilot after he lost both his parents in battle when he was just a little kid. He is not ideal material for a pilot but he struggles thru a very difficult path to make his dream come true, and we're along for a ride full of conspiracies, political machinations, grave loses, and just straight up fantastic character development. It does struggle a bit with pacing in the beginning, but it's a rollercoaster ride once the pace picks up and you enjoy every minute of it. If the fact that it's book 2 in a series might keep you from reading it, don't worry. You can dive right in and enjoy it because all the really important information about the world gets mentioned/explained/commented on over the course of the story and all of the main characters are exclusive to this book. There is no excuse to miss it.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Shekenah

    **I was provided a copy for free via the Penguin First to Read program** I went into this book a little blind as I have not read United States of Japan nor am I really familiar with Mechas or sci-fi or anything of the like. I have to say I enjoyed it and I'm glad I ventured out of my comfort zone. This is an alternate history novel where Nazi Germany and Japan won the war so it was interesting to see how that affected the world. I liked the characters though it was harder for me to connect to the **I was provided a copy for free via the Penguin First to Read program** I went into this book a little blind as I have not read United States of Japan nor am I really familiar with Mechas or sci-fi or anything of the like. I have to say I enjoyed it and I'm glad I ventured out of my comfort zone. This is an alternate history novel where Nazi Germany and Japan won the war so it was interesting to see how that affected the world. I liked the characters though it was harder for me to connect to them since they are much younger than myself, but it was interesting to see how Makoto grew through his experiences in high school, RAMDET (I think those were the abbreviations) and BEMA. There were several moments where I really felt for him and the other characters. This book didn't necessarily keep me on the edge of my seat, but it was entertaining. I will likely read United States of Japan and the next book.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Chiang

    This book caught my attention when both Guillermo del Toro and Hideo Kojima tweeted about it. I enjoyed United States of Japan but had hoped for more mechas. Mecha Samurai Empire is the book I hoped for. I picked it up at San Diego Comic Con and devoured it in over night. It's perfect for anime, gaming and mecha fans. Thanks to Penguin Random House for the free copy.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jen

    A world where Germany and Japan won World War II would be very different, yet the underlying struggles and ploys for power would likely remain the same, as in Peter Tieryas's Mecha Samurai Empire.  To read this, and other book reviews, visit my website: http://makinggoodstories.wordpress.com/. In the United States of Japan students study relentlessly for the Imperial Exam that helps determine if they'll be admitted to the prestigious mecha pilot training program at Berkeley Military Academy. Makot A world where Germany and Japan won World War II would be very different, yet the underlying struggles and ploys for power would likely remain the same, as in Peter Tieryas's Mecha Samurai Empire.  To read this, and other book reviews, visit my website: http://makinggoodstories.wordpress.com/. In the United States of Japan students study relentlessly for the Imperial Exam that helps determine if they'll be admitted to the prestigious mecha pilot training program at Berkeley Military Academy. Makoto, known to his friends as Mac, has dreamed of becoming a mecha pilot, but his grades certainly wouldn't help him as they suffer from his proclivity to play portical games. After Mac's best friend Hideki's plan for the exam goes disastrously awry, Mac's dreams of entering the academy seem impossible. Opting for the opportunity to train to be a civilian pilot instead, Mac refines his skills but also learns some harsh realities of the state of USJ and the cost of the decisions the military has been making. As the tension rises between tenuous allies of Japan and Germany, conflicts ensue toward a war that would cost far too many lives. An intriguing and well-developed alternate history, the world is easy to envision, even if the rapid advancement of technology isn't really addressed and many of the world descriptions are mostly infodumps. The story progresses both slowly and quickly over the three year span it covers - the time passes quickly, as does the narrative, but the detailed descriptions of action in the moment is drawn out, creating a sense of tension as it paints a full picture. Though his book is the second in a series, it stands alone well and explains elements that might have already been covered to provide new readers (such as myself) with enough background to understand and keep up with current action.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Staci

    I received an advanced reading copy of this book as an ebook from NetGalley and will attempt to provide an honest review with very few spoilers. I have not read Peter Tieryas' previous book "The United State of Japan" but still managed to enjoy this book mostly because I am a sucker for the giant fighting robot genre as a whole. Our story is spread out over about three years and really is a coming of age tale for the main character who years to prove himself as a mech pilot and takes the long way I received an advanced reading copy of this book as an ebook from NetGalley and will attempt to provide an honest review with very few spoilers. I have not read Peter Tieryas' previous book "The United State of Japan" but still managed to enjoy this book mostly because I am a sucker for the giant fighting robot genre as a whole. Our story is spread out over about three years and really is a coming of age tale for the main character who years to prove himself as a mech pilot and takes the long way to get there through many challenges. I enjoy the author describing this alternative version of the US where we lost the war and were colonized by Japan and Nazi Germany. I appreciated all the references to Japanese culture and at times it really did feel like an anime. One criticism is there needs to be a glossary of Japanese terms to quickly reference in the back. My other criticism is the author choosing to set the story in an alternate version of the mid-90s but the technology is way advanced. That works well for the mechs but their porticals are basically near future smartphones.. For storytelling reasons, did it have to be set about 50 years from the end of World War II? So far I have not discovered a reason. The author does set up the end of the story for a sequel which I would definitely be interested in. A great recommendation for readers who enjoyed "Ready Player One" and "Armada" and would be of interested for older teens interested in adult books as there is some language, very few sexual references, but many characters deaths that may be too much for younger teens.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Teresa

    A huge thank you to NetGalley, Peter Tieryas, and Berkley Publishing Group for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review. While I found the first book to be rather interesting and pretty unique in terms of plot and style, it lacked the mecha action that I thought it might have, heavily predicted by the cover. Mecha Samurai Empire is even better than the first book, and has so much mecha action I can hardly catch a break. The book itself has very few "low rest" points, and A huge thank you to NetGalley, Peter Tieryas, and Berkley Publishing Group for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review. While I found the first book to be rather interesting and pretty unique in terms of plot and style, it lacked the mecha action that I thought it might have, heavily predicted by the cover. Mecha Samurai Empire is even better than the first book, and has so much mecha action I can hardly catch a break. The book itself has very few "low rest" points, and has almost constant action, whether it be murders or mech battles. This book is a constant stream of exciting events, and an hour of reading flies right by. The main character, Makoto (or Mac), has always wanted to be a mech pilot, but it's hard to get into the top programs to do so. When his friend appears to an exam with a mechanical arm, presumed to not only be cheating, but to be involved with a terrorist group, Mac's affiliations with him absolutely destroy his chances of going to BEMA (the Berkeley Military Academy) and ends up joining RAMDET (Rapid Mobile Defense Team)  instead, an alternate path to making his dream come true to serve the Empire as a mecha pilot. Mac makes many friends and fights through the hardships of military training in RAMDET to make his dream come true. When the RAMS are asked to escort a train full of valuables to the Empire, it's a double-edge sword. It's great that they finally get to go on a mission, but it also seems like an insult in that all they get to do is guard a train. When the Germans attack, Mac realizes the USJ may just have used their team as a decoy. Being one of two survivors showing prowess against the German mechas, Mac and Cheiko are offered a full ride to BEMA, a dream come true. And who do they meet there? None other than the son of one of the most famous mecha pilots ever: Kujira. With his dream to pilot finally coming true, BEMA offers a number of mecha tournaments and combat classes. That sure comes in handy when a hidden mecha facility falls under attack. It's between the USJ and the Nazis. Who's tech will win out? And how will Mac fare against the superior mechas? I already said it, but this book was absolutely exciting. I love that fact that it's extremely well-written. There's a lot at stake, and the politics within the USJ are realistic and complex. This book was even better than the first one (and I loved the first one). Full of action and drive to fight for one's country. While this book was very long for me and took me awhile to read, I don't regret a minute of reading, and eagerly hope for a third installment to the series. Highly recommend for those who are interested in Japan or alternate history, as well as war books and mecha.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Eliza Rapsodia

    SUFFICE TO SAY THAT I NEED IT. SUFFICE TO SAY THAT I NEED IT.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sherry Lew

    Started slow, then exploded into mechas, death, and an America that's eerily similar to our own.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kend

    Happy book birthday to Mecha Samurai Empire, the alternate-history heir to Pacific Rim and Ready Player One you never knew you needed, but you very definitely do. I haven't read any of Peter Tieryas' work before, but I do know that this book takes place in the same universe as one of his earlier releases, United States of Japan ; as with many other recent alternate histories of note (I'm thinking of the Amazon original show based on Philip K. Dick's The Man in the High Castle as well as R Happy book birthday to Mecha Samurai Empire, the alternate-history heir to Pacific Rim and Ready Player One you never knew you needed, but you very definitely do. I haven't read any of Peter Tieryas' work before, but I do know that this book takes place in the same universe as one of his earlier releases, United States of Japan ; as with many other recent alternate histories of note (I'm thinking of the Amazon original show based on Philip K. Dick's The Man in the High Castle as well as Robert Harris' exceptional Fatherland ) Tieryas constructs a world in which Britain, France, the United States, and the other Allied Forces did *not* win WWII, but rather German and Japanese forces have carved up thoroughly subjugated European and American continents. As with these other works, Mecha Samurai Empire doesn't let its characters spend much of their time agonizing over how different things could have been, while also allowing those same characters to grapple with their various roles and complicities in the ascendant Japanese Empire. While Tieryas skews his voice to appeal to younger readers—the tone here would fit as comfortably in the Young Adult section of our library as it would in our adult Science Fiction section—he takes full advantage of the nuance and sophistication that YA's more immediate methods of storytelling enable. Mecha Samurai Empire is written in the first-person voice of Makoto Fujimoto (AKA "Mac," AKA "Cream"), a war orphan raised within the United States of Japan (USJ), a teenager deeply motivated to honor his mecha navigator mother's and mecha mechanic father's deaths by becoming a mecha pilot himself—but as a ward of the state struggling to get by (and into a profession which would earn him a living wage) he is also keenly aware of the cracks in the USJ's facade. The USJ is on the cusp of war with its sometimes-ally, Germany, and even the slightest misstep might escalate into a full-fledged nuclear conflict. Makoto, an unknowing pawn, makes a few of those missteps—only to realize he has been placed at the heart of the conflict by powers beyond his understanding. For the remainder of the book, he does his best to untangle the relationships between the various powers and find his place in the conflict, all while training to become a mech pilot and building his very own found family from among the young men and women who are likewise training to fight with the mechanical behemoths. There's a good crunch to this novel; there are plenty of mech-on-mech battles to satisfy lovers of the cinematic, and there are real stakes: Characters die, despite the protections provided by their mechs. There's also a satisfying pithiness to the teenagers' conversations about politics, military hierarchies, and race relations. Tieryas pushes back against reductive interpretations of all of the above, and while the occasional over-reliance on acronyms and telling rather than showing does drop this down a half-star for style, I can think of at least five people I'd recommend this book to today, and that's the best kind of book.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Carlex

    Three and a half stars. The author considers his tribute to Philip K. Dick fulfilled and provides fans with what we love the most: intrigue and mechas!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Chase Hoffman

    If you've been looking for a curious amalgam of Macross, Harry Potter, the food fetishism of George RR Martin, and every single entry under "Anime" on TVTropes, this is your book. If you're looking for an attempt to turn a rather pedestrian shounen manga plot into a novel, this is your book. Otherwise, this is bad. It's a mishmash of genres and tropes designed to read like a love letter to a specific type of fandom. And that's fine - it wouldn't be the first to try that, and it won't be the last. If you've been looking for a curious amalgam of Macross, Harry Potter, the food fetishism of George RR Martin, and every single entry under "Anime" on TVTropes, this is your book. If you're looking for an attempt to turn a rather pedestrian shounen manga plot into a novel, this is your book. Otherwise, this is bad. It's a mishmash of genres and tropes designed to read like a love letter to a specific type of fandom. And that's fine - it wouldn't be the first to try that, and it won't be the last. But if you're going to do something in that vein, it has to be good. This is not. It's paint by the numbers plotting. The minute the main character gets interested in the girl from the other political entity in the world, you know eventually they'll be mecha pilots on opposite sides. The minute the main character manages to get into Ultra Shiny Elite Military school, you know there will be one or more prototype mechs that the students use to save the day. Lather, rinse, repeat. It also doesn't help that Mac could double as Captain Exposition. Given how many random descriptive text dump sentences Mac gives out, you'd expect this to be written as a memoir or "as dictated to" or something to put those jarring asides into some context. Also, at no point does Mac get even CLOSE to being a sympathetic character. He's just... boring. And stuff happens to him. He doesn't even really get anything on his own. Everything happens TO him rather than him making anything happen. United States of Japan was okay - yes it was a VERY close homage to Man In The High Castle, but it held some promise. Unfortunately Tieryas' sophomore effort is a let down from the first. This thing reads like Mary Sue Weeaboo fanfic. ...bad Mary Sue Weeaboo fanfic. Somehow an ARC of this showed up at my house. I don't know if I won a contest on Goodreads, or if a publisher thought I was the target demo for this kind of thing (to be fair, I am), but that's how I'm reviewing this in June 2018. To be honest I only finished it because it was an ARC and I thought the publisher deserved a review for sending me a copy. I doubt they'll do that to me again.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Suzanne

    In this complex story of alternate history in which Japan and Germany have conquered the world, teens in the United States of Japan are studying hard for their exams, hoping to finish high school and become mecha pilots. Being accepted as a crew member for one of the enormous combat robots is an incredible honor and highly competitive. Makoto Fujimoto is an orphan whose parents both served on mechas and died in combat. He and his friends spend their time playing video games on their porticals (a In this complex story of alternate history in which Japan and Germany have conquered the world, teens in the United States of Japan are studying hard for their exams, hoping to finish high school and become mecha pilots. Being accepted as a crew member for one of the enormous combat robots is an incredible honor and highly competitive. Makoto Fujimoto is an orphan whose parents both served on mechas and died in combat. He and his friends spend their time playing video games on their porticals (a wireless device) when they aren't doing homework. In class they learn about things like "Abraham Lincoln, an old American warlord who savagely crushed a rebellion started by the southern half of the United States." What they don't seem to realize is how political the appointments to the military academy are, or how very slim their chances of earning a spot. As readers follow the fates of Mac (Makoto), Hideki, Griselda, Nori, and the others, the events that led to this alternate version of the U.S. are slowly revealed. There are rebels like the "George Washingtons" who want to free the states from Japanese rule, and there are tensions between the Japanese and German forces who divided North America after WWII. The Nazis have their own combat devices known as biomechs, which operate differently from the mecha warriors of the USJ. Not as much is disclosed about the biomechs since the story is told from a USJ citizen's point of view. Between the historical changes, the resulting cultural changes (Vegas with a Japanese makeover for instance), and watching the struggles of an orphan without connections trying to compete with students who come from prominent families - there is plenty to hold the reader's attention. It may also cause some questioning and wondering what our world would look like today if WWII had ended differently. Anyone who enjoys stories with a military setting, alternate history, or robot battles (major robot smackdowns), should give this a try. Recommended for ages 12 and up. I read an e-book provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

  24. 5 out of 5

    John

    I just finished finished Mecha Samurai Empire and could not put I down and read it in one sitting. If you are a fan of action packed robot on robot action in a compelling world, then this is the book for you, Pete Tieryas has crafted a vibrant what if world without falling into the tropes a lot of other alternate history novels fall into. Phillip K Dick would be proud.

  25. 5 out of 5

    G

    This is a great book!

  26. 5 out of 5

    anna

    3.5, fun read. I really enjoy alt histories, and the Mechas were a fun bonus.

  27. 4 out of 5

    John Stanifer

    EDIT (10/4/19): I just finished listening to the audio version this morning. Joel de la Fuente does a fantastic job of narrating MSE. Given Tieryas frequently acknowledges his debt to Philip K. Dick--USJ and MSE are both a riff on The Man in the High Castle--it's hard to imagine a more appropriate narrator since Joel is one of the stars of Amazon's TV version of PKD's book. My favorite aspect of Joel's performance is probably his voice for Griselda. I found her accent to be more than a little cha EDIT (10/4/19): I just finished listening to the audio version this morning. Joel de la Fuente does a fantastic job of narrating MSE. Given Tieryas frequently acknowledges his debt to Philip K. Dick--USJ and MSE are both a riff on The Man in the High Castle--it's hard to imagine a more appropriate narrator since Joel is one of the stars of Amazon's TV version of PKD's book. My favorite aspect of Joel's performance is probably his voice for Griselda. I found her accent to be more than a little charming. The audio version is a must-listen, even if you've already read the book. Fans of sci-fi, anime and manga, Japanese history and culture, and/or alternate history will enjoy this immensely (MSE just recently won Japan's top sci-fi award, so it appears to be hitting a nerve). Here's my original review of the story itself: I had quite a bit of fun reading Mecha Samurai Empire. Part of that is because I enjoyed the pop culture references. Some of them will fly over the heads of the average reader, because they're obviously there to serve the story and not to call attention to themselves unless you are already clued in to the reference (there are quite a few subtle and some not-so-subtle references to classic video games, for instance). The other part is that this is an intriguing story that explores the consequences of what the world--especially the United States--might have looked like in the wake of a Japanese-German victory in World War II. This is a sort-of sequel to UNITED STATES OF JAPAN, but you do NOT have to read USJ first to get this since the plots are loosely connected at most (there will be a third book that ties in closely with book two, however). Sometimes, the answers to what those consequences might have looked like are expected. The Nazis are still intent on proving themselves the superior race and are willing to purge those they see as a threat to their pureblood society. On the other hand, sometimes the answers we get are a surprising twist on what we know about Japanese and/or German history and culture that should leave most open-hearted readers either smiling, nodding . . . or just creeped out (to the credit of the author). A few non-spoilery examples. In this world, there are twisted versions of the Pledge of Allegiance and the Star Spangled Banner, and Abraham Lincoln is an "American warlord who savagely crushed a rebellion started by the southern half of the United States" (p.23). This is the narrator's perception of the past, and it reminds us that we are often a product of what we are taught in school, by our government, and by those around us. My favorite sequence (there were several in the running) was probably a scene at an opera house where we're treated to an alternate version of Puccini's famous opera Madame Butterfly. The opera ends VERY differently this time around (an unobtrusive recap is given if you don't know the original opera), and again the reader is reminded that . . . "History is written by those who have hanged heroes." ~Braveheart This is not a simple black-and-white world where the Japanese are good and the Germans (or even the Americans) are automatically bad, of course. There are good and bad on all sides, and there are factions-within-factions who have their own agendas. If for some reason you're turned off by combat between giant robots, this may not be your cup of tea. But if you like what-if stories that are fueled by a mix of history, pop culture, and wild ideas that fall somewhere in between fiction and reality, I think you'll like this. I know I did. And I can't wait to see where this what-if spins us off to in book three.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sherwood Smith

    It's 1995 in an alternate universe in which the Axis won. It's the second in a series, but new readers can start here with no problem. The story will inevitably evoke The Man in the High Castle for many readers, which draws on a similar idea. Our first person narrator is Mac, or Makuto Fujimoto, who is a high school student when the story opens. He's a typical gamer nerd, living on ramen and already pauchy from spending all his time on games; he longs to become a mecha pilot, as his parents were It's 1995 in an alternate universe in which the Axis won. It's the second in a series, but new readers can start here with no problem. The story will inevitably evoke The Man in the High Castle for many readers, which draws on a similar idea. Our first person narrator is Mac, or Makuto Fujimoto, who is a high school student when the story opens. He's a typical gamer nerd, living on ramen and already pauchy from spending all his time on games; he longs to become a mecha pilot, as his parents were before they were killed. The Empire takes care of him, as the son of heroes, but while he gets a stipend until he graduates, his adoptive family are abusive to him, as is the homeroom teacher at his high school. He has friends, one of them a half-German student. He and his bestie realize that their chances of passing the exams to get into the elite war college at Berkeley are slim, but they're going to try--one way or the other. And so we discover early on that nobody is safe. The body count is very high in this gripping tale. There are vicious fights--even when Mac and his friends are in mecha, there is physical damage. On top of the mental and physical damage in training, and because of political turmoil. But Mac is determined to push on until he either succeeds or dies. The plot is one that longtime readers have seen ever since Captains Courageous. As it happens, I really like this plot, and I liked this book because I believed in Mac, who is by nature more of a beta than an alpha, though he longs to become a pilot, which seems to demand an alpha's focus and dedication. All along the way he tries to find the moral path in a world that seems to reveal more horrors each time he advances. But that is not going to keep him from trying, and staying loyal to his friends as he hones his talents. The worldbuilding in the Japanese part is fantastic. I loved the savory descriptions of the food, and the customs and the culture, which draws directly on what I understand of the empire's culture leading up the WW II, with roots going back to Edo and even earlier. Less satisfactory was the German side of things. We only glimpse Nazi atrocities; the bits of German language we get were almost all incorrect. But the main focus is on Mac and his Japanese friends, except for Griselda, his half-German friend. There, the book is strongest, and so engaging. Tieryas does a terrific job making the reader care for the characters, which makes losses hit the harder. I suspect there were a number of Easter Eggs for gamers (I thought I saw one, and I have never played a video game in my life). What I appreciated were the historical references, including the revamping of Puccini's Madama Butterfly, which was very effective in setting up this culture, while evoking the gorgeous music as I read. I finished the book halfway through the night, intensely involved with Mac, and wondering what is going to happen next politically, and personally, with Griselda, the Tigers, and will he encounter his abusive family again. I will be keeping an eye peeled for the next in this series. Copy provided by NetGalley

  29. 5 out of 5

    Unseen Library

    Rating of 4.5. Prepare to experience one hell of an adventure in this follow-up to Peter Tieryas’s successful United States of Japan, in this incredibly exciting read that can best be described as The Man in the High Castle meets Pacific Rim. Mecha Samurai Empire is set in an alternate version of our history, in which Japan and the Nazis won World War II. This change to the outcome of the war was a result of the creation of the mecha, gigantic piloted military machines which gave the Japanese an u Rating of 4.5. Prepare to experience one hell of an adventure in this follow-up to Peter Tieryas’s successful United States of Japan, in this incredibly exciting read that can best be described as The Man in the High Castle meets Pacific Rim. Mecha Samurai Empire is set in an alternate version of our history, in which Japan and the Nazis won World War II. This change to the outcome of the war was a result of the creation of the mecha, gigantic piloted military machines which gave the Japanese an unparallel advantage against the American forces. In the aftermath of the war, America was split between Japan and Germany, who created distinct territories. The western states, including California, became part of the United States of Japan, with its inhabitants swearing fealty to the Emperor. In the 50 years that followed the end of the war, the United States of Japan entered an age of prosperity and technological advancement, and the development of more advanced mecha made them the most feared and effective military power in the world. In addition to their military control, Japanese culture and custom has also been incorporated into American society, history has been rewritten and Japan’s wartime atrocities have been whitewashed. In California, young student Makoto Fujimoto has only one dream: to become a mecha pilot and defend his country against the terrorists who killed his parents. Unfortunately, Mac lacks the grades or political connections to achieve a placement in the mecha pilot training course at the elite Berkeley Military Academy, and his attempts to pass the special military exam end disastrously. However, a chance encounter with rebel American forces allows him the opportunity to join up with a civilian mecha security company. While his new role might not provide him much action, it might ensure his future placement at Berkeley. But when Mac’s first mission goes horribly wrong, it might take all of his luck and skill just to survive. As soon as I saw this book in the store and found out it featured mecha battles in an alternate timeline, I knew I was going to have to read it. Because of the very enticing story concept, I did find myself going into this book with some very high expectations. After reading it I am very pleased to say that I was not disappointed in the slightest, as I found Mecha Samurai Empire to be an incredibly entertaining book that makes full use of its unique elements and likeable characters to create an addictive story. If you enjoyed the original United States of Japan, then you will definitely love this latest addition to the universe, that not only continues to highlight Tieryas’s marvellous alternate world, but which ramps the incredible mecha action. Click link for full review: https://unseenlibrary.com/2018/10/21/... Or visit my blog at: https://unseenlibrary.com/

  30. 5 out of 5

    Joshua Bradley

    For USJ fans, Mecha Samurai Empire is the long anticipated follow-up to Tieryas's alt-history, sci-fi novel, The United States of Japan. Mecha isn't a sequel, but rather another story inside the USJ universe told first-person through Makoto Fujimoto's (Mac to his friends) journey into the elite Mecha Corps of the Japanese Empire. Tieryas's prose is quick and witty, with a deeper look at life in the alternate universe he created, originally inspired by Philip K. Dick's, Man in the High Castle. It For USJ fans, Mecha Samurai Empire is the long anticipated follow-up to Tieryas's alt-history, sci-fi novel, The United States of Japan. Mecha isn't a sequel, but rather another story inside the USJ universe told first-person through Makoto Fujimoto's (Mac to his friends) journey into the elite Mecha Corps of the Japanese Empire. Tieryas's prose is quick and witty, with a deeper look at life in the alternate universe he created, originally inspired by Philip K. Dick's, Man in the High Castle. It would be easy to see Mecha Samurai Empire as an obvious dive into robot battles, but Tieryas manages to traverse complex societal, and very personal psychological ground—what it means to serve the whim of politicians, having friendships across cultural divisions and the impact of negative self-image. While fans clamored for a sequel to the rousing USJ, Tieryas wrote Mecha Samurai Empire, which feels more personal. Layered into the first-person narrative is a nuanced look into the USJ world view—the allegiance to the structure of a divinely ordained emperor, the way other countries view political and cultural structures outside of their own and even how they approach technology—that could be easily overlooked in a casual read. Philosophical waxing aside, Mecha delivers on the expectations from the title with well-crafted action sequences between human-controlled anthropomorphic creatures. The battles are fierce and the technology is well thought out with just enough magic to keep the focus on what is happening in the story. The struggle between the Empire, the Nazi regime and the NARA (National Revolutionaries of America) is real and the weapons they would use to keep the peace and incite war make for a great time between two covers. Pick up the book for the mechas, but get lost in the journey of Mac and his friends in the lush culture of The United States of Japan.

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