Sunday, April 27, 2008

Brilliance of the Moon by Lian Hearn (2/5 stars)

This is the third (and final) book in the Tales of the Otori by Lian Hearn. This books continues where the second book left off. Takeo and Kaede move to claim Kaede's inheritance so that Takeo has enough strength to take his rightful place as head of the Otori clan. Of course their rash actions at the end of the second book have angered a number of very powerful people and their plans are dashed by treachery a number of times over.

This book has a lot more action and violence than the previous two. For the most part though it follows in the same style as the first two books; and for people who really liked those books this one should please them.

Unfortunately there were a number of things I didn't like about it. I thought many of Takeo's and Kaede's actions were juvenile and poorly thought through. I was disappointed that Kaede lost most of her power in Takeo's presence. I was also irritated that, in general, when Kaede was allowed to make decisions she made them poorly. It was like justifying that all the male dominance at the time was there for a good reason. I was disappointed that the whole deal with the prophecy was so simple and straight-forward in a way that prophecies usually aren't. The number of people who killed themselves because "it was right" is also astounding. I understand some of this is part of the culture of feudal Japan, but still. By the end of the book I didn't really like Takeo or Kaede at all; I kind of wished they were on the losing side. Although to be fair everyone in this book was power hungry and selfish, so maybe it would have been more fitting for them all to lose.

The only bright spot in this book for me was the inclusion of storytelling from Shizuka's point of view. She is a much more interesting character than Kaede or Takeo and it was refreshing to have an interesting point of view in this book.

The other thing I find irritating is that this "trilogy" now has two more books out. The "Harsh Cry of the Heron" was released as the Last Tale of the Otori and a First Tale of the Otori has also been released. It always bothers me when an author promises a trilogy and then, when it sells well, adds onto it. It makes me think that maybe that author couldn't come up with a new world or a better story. The exception to this is The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy which sold itself as a trilogy as a joke of sorts.

Despite all my gripping the book was well-written and a good conclusion to the series. Although the hints at another book at the end of this trilogy were irritating; I suppose the people very dedicated to this series will be very happy.

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