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The Snow Empress | [Laura Joh Rowland]

The Snow Empress

Chosen by Publishers Weekly as a Best Book of 2007, The Snow Empress showcases author Laura Joh Rowland's deep understanding of 17th-century Japan and her impeccable gift of storytelling. This thrilling novel finds samurai detective Sano Ichirõ working to gain freedom for his son by investigating the murder of a lord's beloved mistress.
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Publisher's Summary

Chosen by Publishers Weekly as a Best Book of 2007, The Snow Empress showcases author Laura Joh Rowland's deep understanding of 17th-century Japan and her impeccable gift of storytelling. This thrilling novel finds samurai detective Sano Ichirõ working to gain freedom for his son by investigating the murder of a lord's beloved mistress.

©2007 Laura Joh Rowland; (P)2008 Recorded Books,LLC

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.2 (78 )
5 star
 (12)
4 star
 (25)
3 star
 (19)
2 star
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1 star
 (13)
Overall
3.6 (25 )
5 star
 (6)
4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Story
3.6 (25 )
5 star
 (5)
4 star
 (13)
3 star
 (3)
2 star
 (1)
1 star
 (3)
Performance
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  •  
    Joshua United States 12-12-11
    Joshua United States 12-12-11 Member Since 2002

    long commute=audible reading time

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Good story, light on authenticity"

    I read a lot of Japanese historical fiction, this story seemed light on the Japanese elements.
    It was great to explore the Anu and northern Japan, but didn't pack as much cultural insight as Lian Hearn's series (highly rated) or Barry Eisler's "Rain" Character.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    stl1111 La Grande, OR, United States 01-05-11
    stl1111 La Grande, OR, United States 01-05-11 Member Since 2005

    Say something about yourself!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Overall
    "No Comparison to Tales of the Otori"

    I've listened to other books in this series and enjoyed them. But none were read by this narrator. He destroys the story. There may be value to the story, but with this reader it isn't worth listening to. He manages to make his Japanese characters sound like East Coast Jersey thugs. I wasn't able to finish it. Don't waste your credit.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda Lou Cave Creek, AZ USA 10-09-09
    Linda Lou Cave Creek, AZ USA 10-09-09 Member Since 2007

    Obsessive reader, 6-10 books a week, chosen from Member reviews. Fact & fiction, subjects from the Tudors to Tookie, Harlem to Hiroshima, Huey Long to Huey Newton.  In-depth fair reviews - from front to BLACK!!! 

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    5
    Overall
    "INCREDIBLY BORING & MEANINGLESS"

    I was able to only get through about 2 hours of this book. It's hard to figure out why it was even written and why the author thought this was a good story. Who set off 500 years ago in a boat in the middle of winter to a place no one ever goes, inhabited by so-called "barbarians", with absolutely no clues or leads, looking for a child who was allegedly kidnapped months before by enemies? Crimes today are harder to solve after the "First 48" house. What "gangster" in a male-dominated society has a nervous breakdown following the murder of his golddigger mistress in an era when men had a kazillion wives and concubines? The book is named for that mistress, a woman described as a "whore", who slept with the whole village, and "rode (one conquest) like a horse". This is more like a very bad Danielle Steele trying to write about Samurai warriors. "Thrilling"? I don't thinks so. There's no excitement, suspense or even a sense of intimate connection between the main characters. The descriptions of the characters and places aren't well-developed so you forget that the story takes place in the 1600's. The dialogue is so contemporary that I kept waiting for someone to jump into a Ford Explorer, answer his cell phone, or send a fax. The narrator adds nothing to this mess. Besides being flat and uninspiring, he blows through Japanese names like a person who learned the language using a Rosette Stone program. He brought none of his heritage to the narration. I'm glad I only paid $4.95 for this book during one of Audible's sales. But even that was money wasted.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jennifer Windsor, Australia 01-26-09
    Jennifer Windsor, Australia 01-26-09 Listener Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    14
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    "Childish and boring"

    Well, I guess it had to happen. After one year of listening to audible titles, I finally found one that I couldn't stand. The characters and dialogue were basic beyond belief. The action could have been plotted better by a pre-schooler. Being a ready who enjoys fantasy and crime, I didn't mind the mix of spells and possession, but what really got to me was how the action / dialogue seemed jumpy, wooden and just totally unbelievable. No one talks like that!

    Narrator was okay, although he really said the Japanese names fast. It took me about an hour to learn who was who. Imagine the chef on Iron Chef - Masahiro Morimo - well, the narrator would have pronouced that out in about a 1/2 second. Nice male voices, although his women's voices were just annoying and made me cringe.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathryn Mountain View, CA, United States 07-05-09
    Kathryn Mountain View, CA, United States 07-05-09 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Overall
    "An interesting story line"

    I read Laura Joh Rowland's second book first so I thought I'd give her first book a try. This book had a pretty good plot but the language didn't sound Japanese enough. For example, would a Japanese guard really say "Go ahead. It's your funeral." That type of slang was offputting to me. If you like mysteries, it's still pretty good. I'd recommend it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lee Logan, IA, United States 03-21-09
    Lee Logan, IA, United States 03-21-09 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
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    4
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    "Japanophile delight"

    I was worried about reading a book by a non-Japanese author, but this was unfounded. The book is very Japanese. Another reviewer said "no one talks like that", but actually, upper class courtly Japanese would seem very stilted in English. And the narrator, who is probably a native speaker, pronounces Japanese names beautifully. This book reminded me of the beautiful Japanese countryside, and makes me want to go back--this time to Hokkaido. I rated it 4 stars because nothing compares to Tales of the Otori...

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Louise Tremblay Cole 01-04-09 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "LESS THAN MYSTERIOUS"

    The book gave some interesting information on Japan's Ainu minority, but the plot was contrived and the characters wooden. The spooky element did not seem convincing on its own terms. The narrator seemed to know Japanese pronunciation well, but did less well with English; he consistently said "dint" for "didn't," for example.

    This is the latest title in a series, I believe. I might try an early volume to see if the characters and plot are fresher.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alyssa NH, United States 09-08-09
    Alyssa NH, United States 09-08-09 Member Since 2009

    I listen to books when I'm at work or doing chores. I prefer history and fantasy. My favorite audio book is Going Postal by Terry Pratchett.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Boring"

    I've read these fake Japanese books before and found them good enough. I don't mind the stiff way Japanese translates into English. However that does excuse the stiffness of this book in general. There's absolutely no substance to the characters or story; something the author tries to hide with meaningless action scenes one after the other. About two hours into this book I had to turn it off because time actually seemed to be passing slower with it playing.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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