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Across the Nightingale Floor: Tales of the Otori, Book One | [Lian Hearn]

Across the Nightingale Floor: Tales of the Otori, Book One

A tour-de-force novel set in ancient Japan filled with passion, fantasy, and feuding warlords. The first volume in the highly anticipated Tales of the Otori trilogy.
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Audible Editor Reviews

Why we think it's Essential: At the heart of Lian Hearn's beautiful saga of samurai, enchantment, and passion in feudal Japan is the story of two ill-fated lovers, brought to poignant life with the dual performances of Kevin Gray and Aiko Nakasone. Trading chapters as their stories intertwine, Gray and Nakasone anchor the action with their alternating voices, underscoring the very personal stakes amidst the epic tale of feuding warlords. —Ed Walloga

Publisher's Summary

A tour-de-force novel set in ancient Japan filled with passion, fantasy, and feuding warlords. The first volume in the highly anticipated Tales of the Otori trilogy.

Sixteen-year-old Takeo's village has been massacred by an evil warlord, and he is about to be slain by the men who murdered his parents and neighbors. At the last moment, his life is saved by a nobleman, who claims the boy as his kin and begins his education.

But nothing is as it seems. Takeo discovers that he has rare powers that are useful to those around him. As he grows into manhood, he must decide where his loyalties lie: with his noble master and adoptive father; with the Hidden, a secret, spiritual sect whose beliefs are forbidden; or with the Tribe, the assassins and spies who consider him one of their own.

A story of treachery, political intrigue, and the intensity of first love, set in a world ruled by formal ritual and codes of honor, Across the Nighingale Floor crosses genres, generations, and genders to captivate fans of all ages.

Don't miss the rest of the Tales of the Otori series.

©2002 Lian Hearn; (P) 2003 HighBridge Company

What the Critics Say

"The novel fills a unique niche that is at once period piece and fantasy novel." (Amazon.com)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (6209 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Sherrie 03-12-12
    Sherrie 03-12-12 Member Since 2012

    Addicted to books in all forms.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    159
    23
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    12
    Overall
    Performance
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    "Really Disappointed"

    I love Japan and given the reviews I was ready (and I really wanted) to love this book. I could not. There were times I cringed at the word choice and more often than not at both narrators. Part of this may be due to the fact that I listened to it almost immediately after I finished listening to The Potato Factory, which is perhaps a very unfair comparison. I bought it on sale for 4.95 and I am glad I did not pay more or waste a monthly credit.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nick 02-29-12
    Nick 02-29-12
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    15
    5
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "got 3/4's of the way through and quit"

    Overall the story was sub par and I didn't care for the characters, the story felt scattered and the voice acting was accurate but I got tired of it very quickly.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sarah NEW ORLEANS, LA, United States 02-23-12
    Sarah NEW ORLEANS, LA, United States 02-23-12 Member Since 2012
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Starts out all right, gets worse as it goes along."
    What would have made Across the Nightingale Floor better?

    Less ridiculously formal language. Also, the character motivations made no sense at all, particularly toward the end of the book--their reactions to everything just seemed contrived so that Hearn could get to the ending he wanted.


    What was most disappointing about Lian Hearn’s story?

    The major plot points made no logical sense.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Kevin Gray and Aiko Nakasone ’s performances?

    Kevin Gray, maybe. He didn't seem so bad except that the excessively formal language used by the author was painful to listen to. Aiko Nakasone, definitely not. She conveyed no personality at all in her characters.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Across the Nightingale Floor?

    The entire second half of the book, particularly all the eyeroll-inducing similes used to describe Takeo and Kaede's teenage love for each other.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Julie Berkeley, CA, United States 01-28-12
    Julie Berkeley, CA, United States 01-28-12 Member Since 2010
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Don't understand the rave reviews"

    I purchased this book based on the rave reviews, and now, after several hours of listening, I finally turned it off in disgust. The narrator (male) is monotone, yet the narration is oddly fast. I've checked several times to see if I had inadvertently set my ipod to 2x narration speed, but nope, it's 1x. The combo of the monotone, rushed narration, and lack of an interesting story, just frustrated me. I've given up. And I can usually listen to anything - no matter how bad, I find a way to enjoy it. Not this. Just not my cup of tea, I guess.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lila Gustavus Cutchogue, NY, United States 12-27-11
    Lila Gustavus Cutchogue, NY, United States 12-27-11 Member Since 2011

    Lila Gustavus

    HELPFUL VOTES
    9
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    22
    5
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
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    "I feel cheated out of my monthly credit!"
    What would have made Across the Nightingale Floor better?

    Nothing, it's irredeemable.


    Has Across the Nightingale Floor turned you off from other books in this genre?

    No, because it doesn't belong in the genre it was categorized as. It's not fantasy, it has nothing to do with this wonderful genre.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Kevin Gray and Aiko Nakasone ?

    The narrators were innocent in this case, I'm sure they were trying to do the best they could with the material they were given.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    Nope.


    Any additional comments?

    I couldn't, I just couldn't stand this book. I have no idea what the people who gave this book five or four stars were thinking. I just have to wonder what kinds of books they read in general if they praise this dreadful story to high heavens. Across the Nightingale Floor is one of the most boring books I've read in a long, long time. The story was going absolutely nowhere, the plot was mundane and I felt as if my brain cells were slowly disappearing. And categorizing it as a fantasy is misleading. Placing a story in a made up country (uncannily resembling feudal Japan that really had nothing to do with an alternate world) does not a fantasy novel make. I've been reading fantasy books all my life, so I would know.
    I realize I'm being harsh but I am very upset and mislead by all the praise and high ratings I fell for. This book deserves three stars at best. Check that, it really only deserves two stars. I was feeling generous suggesting three.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andre Pawhuska, OK, United States 11-27-11
    Andre Pawhuska, OK, United States 11-27-11
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    26
    4
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Flat characters"

    Well, the narrator has a pleasant voice. The writing style is pleasing enough. There is a poetic feel to this one, however, I just couldn't get into it. I think it's due to a lack of character development. They all seemed one-dimensional and flat. The main story line should be compelling and drive the story forward... but it didn't work for me and felt very bland. I probably won't be finishing this one.



    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    The Supreme Galooty Mist, OR, United States 08-26-11
    The Supreme Galooty Mist, OR, United States 08-26-11 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    23
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    5
    5
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    1
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    "Feudal Japan Bodice Rip & Tear Romance"

    The potential of this book was unfulfilled in the end. The setting was well done. The characters were well conceived and well drawn. The narration was considerably above average. But there were holes in the fabric of the novel. Certain intriguing avenues were left unexplored. While entertaining enough it left me dissatisfied, for when all was said and done it amounted to nothing more than a romance novel.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Keith Springfield, MO, United States 07-22-11
    Keith Springfield, MO, United States 07-22-11
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    71
    1
    Overall
    "A Book Without Substance, A Waste of Time"

    This book has no depth of plot, characterization, setting, or theme. There is nothing "epic" about it. Containing no intellectual originality or artistic complexity of any kind, this adult reader found it trite and boring. A fantasy by formula, it was little more than a shallow cartoon and a total waste of time and money.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Melanti 07-12-11
    Melanti 07-12-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
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    126
    2
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    0
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    "Excruciatingly painful female narrator"

    The male narrator is decent, but the female narrator is terrible! She speaks with such careful and exact enunciation that there’s a discernable pause between each word and a lesser one between each syllable. Everything seems so carefully metered – a syllable seems to take her the same length of time to say, no matter what syllable it is. It just doesn’t flow together like it should and thus seems laborious rather than natural.
    Also, she severely understates emotion. One line, in particular, I recall, was read with a trace of exasperation. Not a lot – just a trace. And it was read in the same quiet tone as the rest of the script. The descriptor that followed it was “ she demanded irritably.” Um. Right. That really sounded like a irritable demand.
    I’m only a couple of hours into the book now, but I give up. I actually started cheering when Takeo’s section started up again. If I’m that happy to not hear the narrator’s voice, there’s something wrong. Somewhere along the way, I’ve picked up a paperback copy, so I’ll be finishing this one in print.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Geoff Newmarket, ON, Canada 04-27-11
    Geoff Newmarket, ON, Canada 04-27-11 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
    ratings
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    106
    7
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    1
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    "About the blandest thing I've ever read"

    The writing and narration are so unremarkable that its popularity astonishes me. Not inherently bad, just completely by the numbers. Shogun beats it by miles for a fun tale of feudal Japan.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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