I love most books that transport me to another time and place & books that uplift my spirit.
I truly anticipated this book because I enjoyed the Trilogy so much and really looked forward to hearing more of the storyline, however, I think the original story should have been left untouched. I don't feel this part of the story had the original passion the Trilogy possessed or maybe its because the original readers didn't participate.
Kevin Gray and Aiko Nakasone (the original readers) did such a wonderful job with the Original Trilogy and truly out do the current readers in this book. Yeah, it was a nice addition to the story of Takeo & Kaede, but not really needed. Leaving the untold story to the reader's imagination is sometimes best.
I will admit that i will probably continue to listen to remainder stories that are currently being published just to see what more the author has to say.
I gave up on this book after three hours. The author spent so much time confusing the reader with previous characters and events that the story barely moved forward. But even then, I might have continued on if it hadn't been for the terrible narrators. They have been well vilified by other reviewers, so I will only add that they were terrible.
Lucky that the story is good. The narration stinks.
The female reader's efforts to change her voice for the male parts makes her sound like Erma Bombeck. Nasty. Painful.
The male reader stumbles through the dialog sounding either asleep or entranced, making it hard to stay awake listening to him. Maybe I could get him to read bedtime stories for my kids --- they'd be out in no time.
But, as with the prior books, the story line is compelling. Compelling enough for the listener to work to overlook the deficient narration.
I am always a bit wary when writing a review because I don't want too unintentionally give away to much plot and spoil it for people. I will try not to give away anymore of the novel than any of the other reviewers have...That being said I must say what a complete disappointment this book was! I enjoyed the first three books, though felt they were a bit doom and gloom and depressing at times as well. I listened to the entire series on audiobook and tried to listen to the fourth without going back but got 40 minutes into the book and had no idea what was going on! Even after listening to the third book again I was often confused by all the many different characters and the plot twists that depended on you remembering previous novels. The names of many of the characters are so similar that, even though I feel the narrators were wonderful, I was often confused as to who was who. All this I could put aside and give 3 stars to this book if it wasn't for the ending...Horrible! As many others feel it had a hurried feel to it as if the author was thinking "Uh oh getting way too long I better end it soon". And without giving away too much plot the character change of Kaede from the first 3 books to this one really stretches plausibility and her COMPLETE character change at the end was beyond the slightest credibility. The message the first three books seem to impart is "love can conquer all" and the message the last book imparts is "love WILL conquer all so if your stupid enough to try it watch your back"...Not the kind of book or message I want to waste 20 or so hours of my life on...Bottom line = Avoid this book at all costs!
I like to read books were the hero has a lot of tough challenges to over come but when the characters (heroes) that I like start dieing in whole sale fashion and even killing siblings the book becomes un-entertaining. I have even stopped reading it. Just a warning to others.
When I started the first book many months ago, I was captivated and enthralled. The main characters in the book were well developed. I found myself wrapped up in the lives of these people; much like the people who watch soap operas. I cheered for the good guys , booed the bad ones and kept coming back for more and more.
The book was billed as a trilogy. I devoured all three. At the end, I wondered - what happened? There is so much more that I need to know. This can't be the end of the trilogy.
With this final book, I am content. I know how everything worked out.
The political intrigues, the status and use of the "Ninja", the introduction of the foreigners in Japan all served as excellent background for the characters to develop.
It is a 4 book trilogy, but well worth the time and expense. You will not be disappointed.
This was, in my opinion, a disappointing way to end a series that I had loved. It didn't seem consistent with the central "truths" of the other three books. I almost wish I had stopped at the third installment and made up my own ending.
I really liked and highly recommend the first three books of this series. Also I feel there are some people that will like this book, perhaps even see it as profound.
However, I'm listening for entertainment and this story just didn't come together for me. In this book the heroes repeatedly make agonizingly poor decisions. These decisions were based on some kind of radical pacifist honor/philosophy, the "way of the who" which was billed as the best thing since sliced bread but in the end produced nothing positive. To the story's credit these descisions or lack of decisions resulted in fairly realistic outcomes. Outcomes for the heroes that the book tries to show as honorable but to me were pitifully tragic.
I had such high expectations for this book. I kept expecting things to come together but in the end it just made me feel depressed.
Wow, what a disappointment after the first 3 books. The characters (pretty much all of them) seemed to suddenly become ridiculously naive after 16 years. Takeo would never have managed to take power if he had been this soft in the first books and it was just not very believable. The voices are very poor considering the range of characters required of the narrators. In addition to the poor writing there is a section missing where the narration seems to skip an entire page of the book and this was not caught in editing. Unfortunately this problem was the least of the audio book?s issues. I should have stopped after book 3.