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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Across the Nightingale Floor (from Tales of the Otori series) by Lian Hearn



Across the Nightingale Floor is the first of the Tales of the Otori trilogy. It covers a period of just over a year, when Otori Takeo was sixteen years old, and Kaede was fifteen years old. 

It covers how Takeo was rescued by Lord Shigeru and being adopted by him later. One day, Lord Shigeru's friend, Muto Kenji visited them and revealed that Takeo's father was of The Tribe, a group of families with special powers. And Takeo had inherited lots of talents from his father, which made the Tribe wanted to claim back Takeo. In order to adopt Takeo, Lord Shigeru was forced to marry Shirakawa Kaede. But Lord Shigeru also had another plan. The wedding was going take place in Inuyama, home of Lord Iida. Lord Iida had killed Shigeru's father and brother. The wedding gave Shigeru a reason to get near Lord Iida for his revenge. Takeo supposed to kill Lord Iida before the wedding, but Kenji betrayed Shigeru and brought Takeo back to the Tribe. And his action cause Shigeru being crucified. On the same night, Kaede killed Lord Iida when he attempted to rape her. Lord Arai took the opportunity to take over all land from Lord Iida. 

The story is told primarily in first-person narrative by Otori Takeo. At first, I thought I will get bored very quickly but on the contrary, the more I read the more I get fascinated. The characters are well developed and the story was alternate between Takeo and Kaede. Both of them have sad story but they did not give up getting what they want.

Japanese historical story always made me feel very bitter. In those days, there was not much thing where you can decide what to do. You can hardly choose your bride or groom. Lots of arrange marriages due to political reason. There were no laws, the Lords are the law. I actually long to have Takeo's super power:

Acute hearing - so that I can hear what my kids are doing when they are out of my sight (Takeo could draw the layout of the house, based on hearing what's happening at that house, and he could calculate how many people and animals in that house).

Split into multiple self - to attend both kids at the same time.

Invisible - to hide myself so I can get some rest when both kids want my attention non-stop. LOL!

I enjoy reading this book very much. I rate this book 4 out of 5 stars.


Some fact about Tales of the Otori -
Tales of the Otori is a series of historical fantasy novels about a young warrior Otori Takeo, set in a fictional world based on feudal Japan. The whole series has 5 books -

The trilogy: Across the Nightingale Floor, Grass for His Pillow, and Brilliance of the Moon,
Sequel: The Harsh Cry of the Heron,
Prequel: Heaven's Net is Wide.

The whole series cover the whole life of Otori Takeo - from a village boy become a warrior, to avenge his adoptive father, to fight for his land and inheritance, at the same time escape from The Tribe who want to claim him, and marry the woman that he loves, Shirakawa Kaede, another main character in this series.

2 comments:

goldflower86 said...

yay to the new blog about book review. hehehe. happy reading. i wish i can read a lot too, i wish time stop when i am reading! so i won't feel guilty to jump into the world in the novel and spend time there. LOL!
.. and back to this post

i think this book too heavy to my liking :O
but maybe i will change once i start reading :)

cheeyee said...

Goldflower - I had the same thoughts as you too. But once I start reading, I enjoy it very much. :)