The first thing you'll notice about this book is the descriptions. They're magnificent. Nothing is really done in simple nouns and adjectives, it's done with a flourish. I'm not sure I can explain what I mean, but each thing that is described...Japan, the people, the buildings...is not just described, it's opinionised. Don't know if that's a word, but that's pretty much what I want to say. But this method really brings the story to life, and the country too...you'll see what I mean when you read it.
There's a good story to this...one of those Japanese cults, a Westerner with an ambiguous background as the protagonist [or antagonist depending on which way you think], and a lot of Japanese cultists who seem ordinary but are usually killers too. And potentially big killers. There are times when I felt it went too much into the history of each character...example, the main character walks into a room, meets three new people in the cult, and we're led through histories of all three of them, one by one...as well written as it is, it can get a little tiring sometimes...but that's a tiny complaint really.
And this thing is really well-written. There aren't many writers who can put sentences together like this, and move through time the way he does...there are no surplus actions with the characters, and pretty much every scene ends in the right way and at the right time...it's almost like a movie in that aspect...the only difference being the narrator, who reveals himself more through his opinions than his actions...although later in the book this flips sides and he becomes more active...if that makes sense. I think it does.
Basically, I liked this a lot.