Kevin Gray and Aiko Nakasone wove the Tales of the Otori into a graceful and lyrical dance. Their replacements fall flat with overly dramatic reading and wierd accents.
Like others reviewing this book, I greatly enjoyed the first 3 books in the series. However, this one was much less entertaining and I agree the ending was a great disappointment.
I also did not care for the narrators as they gane a "fake" feeling to the story.
After listening to the first three Tales of the Otori I would have a difficult time heeding my own advice, but really, don't get this book! I was excited to hear the next installment because the others were so pleasurable, with that intense mixture of interesting characters in a world balanced between fantasy and plausibility.
Unfortunately, this book is just terrible. The fantastical aspects have run amok, and were bizzare and unenjoyable. Ms Hearn seems to have forgotten her characters, because they became inconsistant and unlikeable in this overwhelmingly boring and frustrating tale. To add to the horror, the female narrator was terrible, only employing two voices - deep and annoying, or high and annoying.
Your imagination will give this series a far better ending than it's original author did...
Agreeing in full with other reviewers about Kevin and Aiko's reading of the previous books and the blatant lack of enjoyment I had with this one.
I gritted my teeth through the first chapter with Henri Lubatti, finding his monotone sing-song voice to be very akward and anti-climactic to Kevin's. It severly lacked any draw-in that I was enjoying with the previous books. Plus, Henri's lack of experience with pronouncing japanese words (where Ho-oh is pronounced hoo-ooh, like a hoot owl) made it even worse.
Then I listened to Julia fletcher for 2 minutes and gave up. She, too, was imperfect in her Japanese and even worse in her read of the female characters which Aiko had given so much character and drama to.
Sorry, but I'm going to buy the book and I urge those who enjoyed the first three books on audio to do the same and let Kevin and Aiko read for you in your mind.
This whole series of audio novels about classic Japan is fascinating. The characters are substantial, and the plots worth pursuing. Invest a little time and Lian Hearn will take you to some new and interesting places. Highly recommended, especially for the history buff.
Lover of Reiki, good food and all things Japanese
I must agree with Helen's review, in the previous 3 books, Kevin Gray and Aiko Nakasone made the Tales of the Otori saga. They did not only read the stories with great enthusiasm, but you actually believed that they were actually Lord Takeo and Lady Kaede.
Unfortunately, Henri Lubatti?s failure to fall into character along with his slow mono-toned narrating made it difficult to follow and Julia Fletcher?s narrating was somewhat better, but still lacked inspiration.
The Story deservers a 5 star rating, but the narrators hurts it's overall rating considerably.
I would consider buying the hardcover just so that the book is more enjoyable.
The first three books in the Tales of the Otori series were read by Kevin Gray and Aiko Nakasone. Both were excellent in reading the narration and various character voices, with very good (as far as I could tell) pronunciation of the Japanese words (e.g., names, places). Aiko's voice made the female characters especially come to life because she made them sound very feminine in a way that I would expect from Japanese women of that time. When I started Harsh Cry of the Heron, I was immediately startled by the very different reader voices and never really settled into the characters. To the very end of this book I kept wishing for the original readers. Julia Fletcher (who sounds Irish), and Henri Lubatti are both good readers, but not for this story. Neither voice really suited the topic or the Japanese culture. Obviously I wanted to finish the series because I really enjoyed it as a whole, so I did listen to this final book, and I did enjoy it, but not to the degree that I did the first three books.
The story itself was good with lots of detail and compelling subplots that keep it moving.
I'm not sure about the pace of the story - I suppose that was a match. There were times when I really felt that the voice inflection was wrong though. I would not avoid another book by either of these readers, they are both good readers but just not appropriate for this book when compared to the man and woman who read the first three books in the series.
I have listened to this series over the last few weeks, and found this fourth book well written, well structured, immersive and well read.
The character development and plot points illustrate the tensions between personal choices versus responsibility to others and responsibility to the greater good. However, the characters were real enough to me to make the ultimate tragedy plausible and very moving.
Due to negative reviews, I nearly did not down-load this book. However, I did not find anything disturbing about the performers - I was able to fully immerse myself in the story and characters.
boring going through the motions/words.
Not buy "Heaven's net is Wide". I'm struggling to finish "Harsh cry of the Heron".
Really enjoyed the first three.
I really enjoyed all the other books, including the prequel.
The narrators were annoying - I found myself almost enraged with the female narrator and - and the male narrator was trying to do some monotone thing that wasn't working. The narrators in the prequel are MUCH better.
Several characters, especially Kaede, were so incredibly dislikable and irritating that I almost had to stop listening. Many other characters were written out or forgotten without any explanation.It seemed to me that the author got tired of writing and attempted to wrap everything up with one letter - literally. Seems like cheating.