Christmas Eve, Japan. Pianist legend, Amako Tsuska, is getting a drink from the vending machines when the world ends. A magnitude 9 earthquake strikes Japan, and this is the story of his quest for survival. If you can’t guess by the premise, Swan Song is a very dark story. I want to get this out the way right now. Swan Song does NOT mince words. Themes like rape, abuse, torture and violence are portrayed very strongly, and in some cases they’ve even got graphical images. If any of this turns you off or makes you feel slightly unsure about it, then I can confirm with 99.9% certainty that Swan Song is not the novel for you. However, if you can tolerate these, you’ve got unrefined gold.
You find that nowadays, it’s really hard to find a novel like this. Most novels deal with apocalyptic situations in a rather tasteless manner, or flat-out ignore it and develop the characters around it. The theme of humanity’s dark nature in this novel is also given a very heavy focus, and…well, I won’t lie. Some people who get easily offended could consider this to be really tasteless, especially with how many of the characters fall through a dark cavern of insanity and madness, and slowly sink beyond the point of no return. With that said, the way that it portrays the slippery slope of insanity is easily a masterpiece in the working…and well, that’s not all.
I wouldn’t be beating around the bush if I was to say that the entire novel is a masterpiece, with an amazing writing style, a brilliant script and wonderful execution. That’s not all, though. I mentioned earlier that it portrays humanity in a very dark manner, digging into the deepest, darkest urges of everyone’s urges. There’s even a political backdrop to the dark and haunting story, which really captivates you.
In short, it comes down to this. Swan Song is a masterpiece in the rough, but if you can’t stomach the themes which are thrust in your face, then you shouldn’t really read this. This is the first and hopefully last time i’ll ever say this, but even though I love the writing, the premise and the dark undertones of the story, the frank and bleak outlook on humanity and the depressing nature of the story make me regret reading it. It’s amazing, but it’s not for the faint hearted at all.