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...
I drive a lot for work,and when I drive I listen to audible. Life is good. In my mid-30's now, and I mainly listen to Fantasy books.
I loved the first three books. The narration in this latest book was the fist thing that I found less than desirable. While not horrible, it was distracting from the story.
Then the story... Ugh! The first three books were clean and fast. This book was almost like the author went out of her way to make the book bloated and filled with indulgence.
I normally love longer books, as I see it as more bang for the buck. More world building, better characters normally make a better story.
Not in this book. I found myself checking to see how many more hours I was going to have to wait until I find out what happens.
It wasn't horrible, but as a followup to a wonderful trilogy, it fell short. Maybe if I hadn't enjoyed the other books so much I would have thought better of this book. Oh well, maybe the prequel will be better... When I can actually bring myself to try it.
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.
After loving the previous books in the series as a sort of "guilty pleasure", this last book ruins all of the joy and spirit of the series. The characters I sympathized with in the previous books are rendered flat, and to make matters worse the new characters added (of which there are a ton) are not compelling or sympathetic either. I found myself actually yelling at the audiobook towards the end - Kaede and Takeo both wind up making terrible, out-of-character decisions just to fit a bad "prophecy" plot device.
I'd advise folks to skip this one, and stick with the better, more ambiguous ending of the first 3 novels.
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.
I enjoyed the continuations of the characters, however I think mainly due to the different readers I almost don't recognize the characters and have a difficult time with it.
I'm experiencing a disassociation with the characters because of the readers, this has never happened to me before. This is the fourth book in the series, I don't think I would have read more than a part of the first book (and no sequels) with Julia Fletcher. I don't think I would have gotten used to the readers.
Julia Fletcher may be an excellent reader for another book, however her attempts to put Japanese cadence into the readings really grates. I am not sure if I will be able to finish listening to the story, it is that bad. Aiko Nakasone was perfect for the story, as well as Kevin Gray.
I had wanted to listen to the book so badly and was looking forward to the continuation of the story, however because of the readers I don't think I will be able to finish it. I have listened to about 3 hours worth.