In Book I of the Otori trilogy, Across the Nightingale Floor, Lian Hearn created a wholly original, fully-realized fantasy world where great powers clashed and young love dawned against a dazzling and mystical landscape. Nightingale was named a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, one of Book magazine's best novels of the year, and one of School Library Journal's Best Adult Books for High School Readers.
In this second tale, we return to the story of Takeo (the young orphan taken up by the Otori Lord and now a closely held member of the Tribe) and his beloved Shirakawa Kaede, heir to the Maruyama, who must find a way to unify the domain she has inherited. In a complex social hierarchy, amid dissembling clans and fractured alliances, there is no place for passionate love. Yet Takeo and Kaede, drawing on their unusual talents and hidden strengths, find ways both to nurture their intense personal bond and to honor the best interests of their people.
Like its predecessor, Grass for His Pillow is a transcendent work of storytelling: epic in scope, shimmering with imagination, and graced in equal measure with rapturous writing and exhilarating action.
Don't miss the rest of the Tales of the Otori series.
©2003 Lian Hearn; (P) 2003 HighBridge Company
"With quick, direct sentences like brushstrokes on a Japanese scroll, [Hearn] suggests vast and mysterious landscapes full of both menace and wonder." (Publishers Weekly)
"Lian Hearn has created a world I anticipate returning to with pleasure." (The New York Times Book Review)
I enjoyed the story of the book, but I didn't enjoy Aiko's reading. I found it hard to distinguish between the different characters, and only occasionally did the words themselves really pop or carry distinct emotions.
Fun book to read, but here's the deal: if you read fiction--particularly adventure/fantasy fiction--all the time, the story is not incredibly unique. It's well written for young adults, and pretty fun to listen to, but it was fairly predictable for me, and I was never impressed by any of the stor¥ features. It gives the sort of feel that there isn't enough time to tell the whole story because some characters are only developed in a paragraph, because there are so many characters... read if you're young, don't if you're not.
The last half was fairly good. The first third was a tiresome sermon by the female lead explaining why she was pursuing equality and equal access in a male dominated culture. The book as a whole speaks as an imposition of modern values onto a medieval Japanese society. However, once action and some dialog replaced sermons, the book got better.
Nevertheless, the book is very much of a sequel setting up the 3rd book in the trilogy. It feels as if its whole purpose is to retrieve the story, pull in a few new plot lines, and set up for the culmination to come.
I couldn't wait to for my monthly credit to come up so that I could download this one, so I just went ahead and bought it.
These stories are some of the best I've gotten from Audible. I found myself wanting to leave for work early so that I'd have more time to dawdle in the parking lot, listening, before going in to the office.
The only change I would make would be to omit the details of the sexual liasons between the various characters; deleting them would not diminish the story in any way. Bored, I found myself fast-forwarding over them to get back to the actual story line about the strategies and battles.
The title of my review says it all. If you liked the first book you will most likely like this one and be prepared to want to read the third (like I am). If you didn't like the first book this one isn't as strong so is probably not up your alley.
I couldn't stop listening and even drove around my neighborhood many times more than necessary to prolong my drive - then found myself hurrying inside to plug into my earphones! Great characters - very well-developed, well-paced, great drama and action scenes and the love in the book is sweet, not syrupy and "sacrifice all for love" or anything. A truly remarkable book that I definitely recommend.
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.
This is an wonderful account of early oriental culture. It is written with breath-taking characters and an exciting story line. The story is nararated from both male and female view points which keeps the story intriguing.
A wonderful, complex tale continues. Beware if you are driving! very distracting trying to keep all the characters straight. @ 65mph... Knowledge of Japanese helpful. However the narrator Aiko Naksone should be teaching gradeschool - she is sooo slow and overpronounces (is that a word?) everything. She drove me nuts but the story is a good one.
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