Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Across the Nightingale Floor by Lian Hearn (4/5 stars)

This is the first book in the Tales of the Otori series by Lian Hearn. Originally I believe this was supposed to be a trilogy; with the addition of the Last Tale of the Otori and the First Tale of the Otori there are now 5 books that deal with the subject matter presented in this book.

This book tells the story of Takeo and Kaede. Takeo is a orphaned son of a tribe of the Hidden. After the decimation of his tribe he is found and taken into custody by the Lord of the Otori. Kaede is a young girl who has been held as a hostage at a lord’s estate for many years as assurance for her father’s cooperation. Their stories start out separately and are expertly woven in and out of each other throughout the book.

This is the second time I have read this book. The book is full of beautiful descriptions and the action scenes are fun to read. The world of the Otori is complex and dangerous, as well as full of intrigue.

While this is a well-written book I found that at times it got a little slow to read. At the end of the book there are many plotlines left unresolved. I remember being irritated with that the first time I read this book. The second time through I am just glad that I have the other books in the series on hand.

Overall this is a good book, well-written, and interesting. I am not sure how accurate it is to Japanese culture and history but some effort appears to have been made to make that as accurate as possible. I look forward to reading the second book.

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