Customer Reviews for

The Gods of Heavenly Punishment

Average Rating 4.5
( 9 )
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  • Posted April 1, 2013

    Good read!

    I liked the weaving of characters through one character. The description of the bombing of Tokyo in 1942 was riveting.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 22, 2014

    This is a story that will bring to light so much that as America

    This is a story that will bring to light so much that as American students, we didn’t know as much detail about: the 1945 bombing in Tokyo, the Americans who were pretty much sent on suicide missions because they didn’t have enough gas fuel to bring them to safety, and the horrible camps that the surviving pilots had to endure.

    1962. Having never been to Tokyo before, it was quite detailing and horrific, that it made me feel as if I was there alongside the author and her characters.

    What I loved most, was that in the midst of such turmoil, tragedy, and destruction, that love and hope prevails. Both sides of the war are shown: the lives of those in America (past and present day), and those in Tokyo (past and present). The story does fluctuate between past/present, lapsed years, and the lives of Americans and Japanese characters in the storylines. It is interesting to see how they all become connected and that hope is what brings people together, weaving through the lives of others.

    It’s a very slow book, with many characters and events, but the author does this in a way that helps the reader understand what’s going on, despite that. It’s a great read for those who love war history, historical fiction, relationships about love and resiliency, and even to just read a story of a war, with a different point of view.

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  • Posted September 16, 2013

    This is a bonus book.   There is two stories combined in one.  T

    This is a bonus book.   There is two stories combined in one.  The story of the Americans and the Story of the Japanese.  Some of the stories in this book are very heavy topics, infidelity, post traumatic stress, and war crimes, to name a few.  The book also is about survival and courage to live and move ahead with your lives.  World War II is one of my favorite eras to read about and this book was unlike any other I had read before.   There is a lot of history being shared throughout the pages, a lot of it I had never read of before in a World War II book.




    I was anxious as I read each chapter to see how the stories would weave together.  I enjoyed getting to know all the characters and loved each of their stories individually.  I kept trying to put the pieces together and just didn’t always get the clues.    The book kept me reading knowing that I had to figure it all out.




    Jennifer Cody Epstein is an author that I will be looking for more from.  If you enjoy World War II era books this is a unique book that I will recommend you read.

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  • Posted May 16, 2013

    In fact, the publisher's summary is a little misleading. Epstein

    In fact, the publisher's summary is a little misleading. Epstein has crafted a novel that moves back and forth between multiple third-person narratives. Throughout, she keeps the book moving forward in time as she shifts settings, from 1935 Hamburg, New York to 1962 Los Angeles and gradually begins to intertwine her characters.

    I suppose the novel could be called "sweeping" moving as it does through time and back and forth across the Pacific. Curiously, I never felt like I was being swept up in a massive story; Epstein makes the novel very much the intimate stories of the people caught up in the war between Japan and the United States. Without casting judgment, Epstein uses her characters along with many real-life characters to explore the atrocities of war. Having just read The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, I was surprised to find myself back in Manchuria during the Japanese occupation but it also made me not ready to read about the torture of soldiers, a direction I was certain, at one point, the book was headed in. Instead, Epstein gives the reader only what is necessary at that point then moves on, only to smack me down later with the horror of the firebombing of Tokyo.

    The Gods of Heavenly Punishment is just the kind of historical fiction book I love - a new look at a time in history you might have thought had already been covered from every angle with an interesting blend of characters and a solid foundation in the facts.

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