This epic draws inspiration from historic feudal Japan. Firearms technology is soon arriving and Christian ideals are taking hold and both will greatly alter the ancient samurai order. Dances a line between young adult fantasy and historical fiction.
This series in not about lots of sword fights, battles, and gore. Lian Hearn, the pseudonym, I believe, for Japanese scholar and young adult author (Gillian Rubenstein) focuses more on character development and political intrigue. Hearn creates a well textured historical culture that appeals to someone like myself who enjoys clever intrigue and a level of mystery.
Highly recommended for anybody who enjoys a carefully crafted story, fantasy or otherwise, by a well studied author. The cross genre appeal of historic fiction makes it a good read for the occasional fantasy reader.
By the time I read a page of this book I was completely sucked in and completed it in a few hours. Set in a world similar to feudal japan but with magical elements, this story centers around a boy whose life is completely changed in one day. Outside forces and his birth ensure that his life will never be normal. I was very interested in the world that the author created - a tribe of assassins with special inherited powers, feudal lords, revenge, arranged marriages, and a young man coming of age. Well written characters. A little angsty.
I have to admit that I bought this series because the covers on the books looked beautiful and the description in the inner sleeve sounded intriguing. The story starts out decent enough, but it is simply written without a lot of detail that could make the story so much better. The characters are quite bland and neither they nor the plot has a lot of depth to it.
A big complaint I did have for this story is the lack of Japanese "flavor" the story has. I just didn't get a feel for the culture in which this tale was supposed to being taking place in. The author does a poor job in making the background of the world and the characters come to life. Granted, there are Japanese names and places in the book, but the writer should've incorporated some local dialect and phrases into the character's dialogues and thoughts because I feel this would have given it that little extra something. Especially since it's noted in the blurb about the author how he's studied the Japanese language... not using this knowledge seems a bit of a waste.
However, even though it's mediocre, it's interesting enough to compel me to read the next book in the series since I have it on hand. Hopefully the author will have grown some in his writing skills.
This is a first in the Otori trilory, set in ancient Japan. It is a most extraordinary novel...the passion and rapture of this story is so compelling that it's almost worth delaying your holiday for. A must read.
The debut novel of Lian Hearn's Tales of the Otori series, Across the Nightingale Floor, is set in a feudal Japan on the edge of the imagination. The tale begins with young Takeo, a member of a subversive and persecuted religious group, who returns home to find his village in flames. He is saved, not by coincidence, by the swords of Lord Otori Shigeru and thrust into a world of warlords, feuding clans, and political scheming. As Lord Otori's ward, he discovers he is a member by birth of the shadowy "Tribe," a mysterious group of assassins with supernatural abilities.
Hearn sets his tale in an imaginary realm that is and isn't feudal Japan. This device serves the author well as he is able to play with familiar archetypes--samurai, Shogun, and ninja--without falling prey to the pitfalls of history. The novel fills a unique niche that is at once period piece and fantasy novel. Hearn unfolds the tale of Takeo and the conflicting forces around him in a deliberate manner that leads to a satisfying conclusion and sets the stage for the rest of the series.