The book was interesting, but I am not sure whether there is some cultural background that I personally don't have that prevents my enjoying the story more. The telling is spare, and the narrators' voices seem to lack emotion. I saw other reviewers who said the narrators reminded them of how Japanese people talk, but I don't know about that. I don't think I will look for more books in this series.
avid audiobook listener, sociopath, nerd.
I absolutely loved this series. The scenery came alive, and the story was entrancing. The narration was perfect.
Author Hearn creates a magical world every bit as beautiful, terrible and engossing as those of the best of the Chinese fantasy-action films. This production is almost visual, with suberb narrators. I took a chance on an unknown work and was captivated. I had forgotten how fantasy can seem so much like history: "One Hundred Years of Solitude" comes to mind.
I usually only listen to non-fiction in the car and read fiction. I decided to try some fiction and this was my first choice. I just finished the third book in the series and the only complaint I have is that it was difficult to get out of the car because the story was so engaging. I loved the readers who kept the book interesting with their varying voices.
I have "read" both Nightingale and Grass in a week and am eagerly watching for "Brilliance of the Moon>" Since it is available on CD I anticipate that Audible will offer it soon, or I'll be haunting my local library for it. "Tales of the Otori" is a joy for all ages. I intend to send copies of all three to my daughter and 16 year old grandson, as well.
The narration is equal to the quality of the prose.
This is an extremely engaging story, with an interweaving of history, adventure, culture, and fantasy. I'm thoroghly hooked on this trilogy and am looking forward to listening to the next part.
After seeing all the praise for this book, I was excited to listen to it. I kept waiting for the book to find it's stride, but it never did. The book has the beginnings of something interesting, but doesn't deliver.
Feudal Japan (even though this is something of a parallel universe) has so much to offer a book like this, but there is very little setting of scene. In fact, I'm not sure I heard more than one consecutive sentence of description. One obligatory mention of the swirling cherry blossoms is as much as we get, which is really too bad. If there's one thing Japan has in spades, it's aesthetics. It's as if the characters are walking around a brief sketch of a scene -- not such a bad thing if the characters stood on their own.
I'm not usually a harsh critic, and will generally give a book it's due even if it's not up my alley. But this book just kinda falls flat; The beginnings of a good fantasy setting, the details of which are never fleshed out; a great atmospheric location that's entirely ignored; and cardboard cut-outs of characters.
Read Ender's Game (or even Harry Potter) for this kind of experience done right.
I LOVE books. And dogs & quilting & beading & volunteering.
If shoot 'em up thrillers are your idea of a 5 star story, if you LOVE Dick Hill and Scott Bricks narration than I'd suggest you avoid this book.
For my taste, the subtle flavors of the story arc, though very much in the YA plane, were wonderful. I liked the slow phrasing of the female narrator and the young mans voice of the male. These are kids, here, folks-not grown up yet they are thrown into feudal Japan amongst terrible wars, political intrigue and religious intolerance. The way they slowly evolve as 15 and 16 year olds, from simple lives to young adulthood is very nicely detailed in Lian Hearn's first book in the Otori series: Across the Nightingale Floor.
I very much appreciated the quiet feeling of the narrators-the book didn't deserve dramatic and overblown story telling. I enjoyed the details of the protagonists young lives, the way they were raised and, when their world was torn apart, the way they learned to cope.
I don't think every book is for every reader, but some of the very negative reviews aren't at all deserved. To each their own, though. I personally recommend the book for a time when you might be in an introspective place in your life. A time when Jack Reacher or Mitch Rapp or Eve Dallas isn't quite what you want. Give this little, short story a try on for size.
I thought it was similar in feeling to The Goldfinch-though much much shorter!
BTW-there is a prequel, but on the recommendation of a reviewer I follow, I decided to not listen to the backstory first-she suggested that the mysteries revealed in the prequel were a big plot point in the first book..thanks for that...and I thought I'd pass it along-in case anyone gets to my review.
I enjoyed this novel -and the following books in the series- a great deal. It was a fun, interesting fantasy and apparently well-researched. The characters were very likable, I felt their motivations and feelings were convincing and the plot kept me interested (through this novel and the whole rest of the series). I also liked the narrators voices (Nakasone takes a little bit of time to get used to, but after a few sections you get to like her, and Kevin Gray has a great voice). I would recommend it if you are interested in Japan or if you just feel like having a good time listing to a fun novel (or two, or five). I think the series would also be appropriate for young adults or teenagers.