'...Absolutely engaging... a touching story... there is so much mystery here...' ***** Joanna Daneman (HALL OF FAME #1 AMAZON REVIEWER VINE™ VOICE)
'...This book is that fresh new approach we are always looking for. I really cannot recommend this book too highly... Well done Mr. Stevens...' ***** Lloyd Tackitt (Bestselling author of 'A DISTANT EDEN')
'...A cracking novel... Well worth checking out...' Scott Pack, Head Publisher, HarperCollins (UK) / The Friday Project
'...This book is surprisingly powerful. It had a way of popping back into consciousness long after I'd closed the book... The story builds to a gripping conclusion... 'Big Sound Temple' gets a well deserved place on the Awesome Indies...' **** Tahlia Newland, author / awesomeindies.net
'...Ben Stevens is a fascinating writer... it is a charming marriage of Japanese and English that makes this story sing...' ***** Grady Harp (HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER VINE™ VOICE)
'...Sounds a bit f***ing awful, but it's not... Despite being written in a bit of a crazy way, the story moves flawlessly... It doesn't take long to get to grips with how the language is used and once you do it is pretty f***ing cool...' bookc**t.blogspot.com
*Amazon US 'Japan' Kindle chart, summer 2012
Reviewed by Beth Zuschlag for ReadersFavorite.com:
...When you begin to read "Big Sound Temple" by Ben Stevens, it takes a few pages to acclimatize yourself to deciphering the seemingly awkward voice of the main character, Hiro. Hiro's narrative begins with the death of his father, who is the gardener and caretaker of the town's Buddhist temple. Hiro has lived at the temple and worked with his father for his entire life, and so it is understood by all that he will basically inherit his father's job. Thus begins the story of several hectic and uncertain months in Hiro's life. Almost immediately, the reader is introduced to most of the characters who drive the plot - his uncle, the unscrupulous and unforgiving moneylender; Sakura, Hiro's ersatz girlfriend; Wendy, an English tutor; and Bad Boy, a schoolyard bully turned gangster. As Hiro tells his tale - which is really one of misplaced trust - he also shares tidbits of Japanese culture and stories. This is a very complex tale with many conflicts - between Hiro and other characters, as well as the financial problems that are plaguing the temple.
The beauty of this book, though, is in its simplicity. Hiro is a simple person who is reminiscent of Chance in the old movie "Being There". Hiro is naive and somewhat gullible, and he expects the world to treat him as he treats the world - with honesty, straightforwardness and absolutely no hidden agendas. Unfortunately for Hiro (and all of us), that is not how the world operates. However, there are people who are looking out for Hiro - so the novel has an elegant balance. Even though the story is written in first person, many times the reader can see what is coming down the pike long before Hiro does. The tension is in not knowing how bad it will actually be, and how each conflict will be resolved. Every character Stevens introduced and every detail mentioned has a purpose; but it isn't until each purpose is revealed that you realize how skillfully the book has been written. I highly recommend this book...