A local cop. A US Peacekeeper. A divided Tokyo.
Years of disaster and conflict have left Tokyo split between great powers.
In the city of drone-enforced borders, bodymod black markets, and desperate resistance movements, US peacekeeper Emma Higashi is assigned to partner with Tokyo Metropolitan Police Detective Miyako Koreda.
Together, they must race to solve a series of murders that test their relationship and threaten to overturn the balance of global power. And amid the chaos, they each need to decide what they are willing to do for peace.
My second serial from Serial Box and I absolutely loved it! Ninth Step Station starts from the traditional police drama ‘”You’re getting a new partner.” “I don’t need a partner.” “Too bad you’re getting one anyway.”‘ scenario, and absolutely kills it. Emma and Miyako have amazing chemistry together and the two of them together (rocky relationship and all), really hold the story together. The culture clash between the two (Emma being the brash American and Miyako the more tempered Japanese) gets thoroughly explored and I loved how fleshed out each character became. Side characters like the other officers and officials at Ninth Step Station, officers Waverly and Santiago on the American side, and the various politicians get nicely fleshed out as well.
With the extended serial format, Ninth Step Station has more time to flesh out its world and the authors take full advantage of that. This world of a divided Tokyo, with China and America vying for influence while a shady underworld of yakuza groups play in the background, truly come to life in this very cyberpunk-esque setting. Technology plays a huge role in this society, between drones used for almost everything, futuristic armband communication tech, to human augments that truly get explored to their full potential. Yet, at the same time, there the reader (or listener) is grounded in fuel shortages, complaints about public transport, and the ever-present politics.
The narrator for this serial, Emily Woo Zeller, does a fantastic job of bringing this serial to life. For the most part, I enjoyed the different voices that helped differentiate the characters. The narration gets a little dodgy when she deepens her voice to do the male characters, but I got used to it over time. The added sound effects, the press of a button, the swish of a door, or the sharpness of gunfire all add to the overall immersion.
Overall, I rate this serial 4/5. I thoroughly enjoyed the chemistry between the two main characters and I loved how fleshed out this wartorn version of Tokyo became. The narration and sound effects certainly added to the atmosphere.
/r/Fantasy 2019-2020 Bingo Squares:
- Graphic Novel/Audiobook
- SFF Published in 2019
Publisher: Serial Box