Vertij by Randy Taguchi, is both a literary challenge, as well as a cultural one, which any serious reader needs to assume it.
Target audience? Those who are passionate with exotic cultures, like Japan, those who experience with more drama the alienation of the world we live in, but also those who haven’t felt anything anymore for a very long time.
Where and when? Tokyo, in Internet era.
Strong points? The hikikomori phenomenon (people, especially young ones, who completely give up on social life and choose to live isolated in a room). Not only the subject is fascinating in itself, but the author uses it in a very original manner. The mix of mysticism and technology is mind-blowing. The sex scenes are not meant to shock the reader, as they perfectly integrate themselves in the fabric of the story.
Weak points? It can scare the reader who strictly prefers a warm atmosphere and round and positive characters. I recommend you to face your fears.
Favorite characters? Yuki and Taka.
Convince-me! “Nobody else could stay a long time in my heart. The other people couldn’t stimulate me. I had disconnected myself from humanity. I hated human feelings, too raw, too alive. I was afraid of them.”
Bonus? “Sex. The best diet in the world.”
Stars? 9 plus.