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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 (6522 )
5 star
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4.1 (2637 )
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4.3 (2623 )
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Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    David 05-05-05
    David 05-05-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
    9
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    254
    5
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Overall
    "Across the Nightingale"

    All 3 books are very enjoyable

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Shawn 05-02-05
    Shawn 05-02-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    5
    5
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Unimaginative, with a horrible narrator"

    Unfortunately I can't recommend this book due to its rediculous predictability. Also, the narration is broken up between two narrators due to the fact that there are to pov's in this book. This is not only jarring, but the female narrator's narration is so bad as to be unbearable. I've often been tempted to skip these sections entirely... oh well, on to the next audiobook. I suppose I can't rely as heavily on the ratings in the future.

    3 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Egor GREENSBORO, NC, United States 08-29-12
    Egor GREENSBORO, NC, United States 08-29-12 Member Since 2011
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Interesting idea, great story...meh narration."
    What was one of the most memorable moments of Across the Nightingale Floor?

    Takeo's crazy journey into the castle to end the suffering of the hidden people in the cages.


    What three words best describe Kevin Gray and Aiko Nakasone ’s voice?

    Kevin's voice was clear, concise and convincing. He really felt like he had lived the story that he was telling. I preferred having sped up his narrations a touch, but otherwise, no complaints.

    Aiko...not so much. Her voice had that "I'm telling an obvious lie in a way that you can tell that I am" tone to it, which made it really awkward to listen to.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Perhaps not extreme, but I was well surprised with how this book turned out. Other than maybe having over-done it some on the "romance" parts... The story turned out to be gripping and thrilling and I'm gonna be picking up the second book as soon as I get a new credit.

    In short... Damn good story.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JanBreesmom MIRA LOMA, CA, United States 04-17-12
    JanBreesmom MIRA LOMA, CA, United States 04-17-12 Member Since 2012

    Breesmom

    HELPFUL VOTES
    132
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    344
    150
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    FOLLOWING
    19
    15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "In Another Time, Another Place"
    Where does Across the Nightingale Floor rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Perhaps in the middle of the scale.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Across the Nightingale Floor?

    When the two women bonded when they spoke alone near the end of the book where the pregnancy was revealed.


    Which character – as performed by Kevin Gray and Aiko Nakasone – was your favorite?

    The lead character's voices. They both narrated very well.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    No. It did not seem a book to bring out extreme reactions.


    Any additional comments?

    I am very interested to read more in this series--to see where they are going with this story.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John 03-24-12
    John 03-24-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    115
    12
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    0
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    "Female Narrator Reads too Slowly"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    This is my first review and the only reason I am submitting it is because this narration has pushed me to the polar limit of my patience. The female narrator is absolutely abysmal. She reads at the pace of a simpleton, and pronounces her words like this is her third language. I set her to read a 2x normal speed because it aggravates me to listen to her. I feel like I have to pull the words out of her. The story is good, but she is a huge distraction. Beware...


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sherrie 03-12-12
    Sherrie 03-12-12 Member Since 2012

    Addicted to books in all forms.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    199
    23
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    1
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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
    17
    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 2012
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    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

    Lila Gustavus

    HELPFUL VOTES
    9
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    22
    5
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    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

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