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Harsh Cry of the Heron: The Last Tale of the Otori | [Lian Hearn]

Harsh Cry of the Heron: The Last Tale of the Otori

16 years of peace and prosperity have passed since Lord Otori Takeo united the Three Countries. Takeo and his beloved consort, Kaede, have three daughters and a happy family life. Their success has attracted the attention of the distant Emperor and his general, the warlord Saga Hideki, who covet the wealth of the Countries. Meanwhile, the violent acts and betrayals of the past will not lie buried, and other secrets will not stay hidden. Everything that Takeo and Kaede have achieved is threatened.
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Publisher's Summary

An epic fantasy set in a mythical, medieval Japan, Lian Hearn's Tales of the Otori series has crossed genres, generations, and genders. Grand and complex in its themes, elegantly written, each book in the original trilogy has become a worldwide best seller. This surprise fourth installment (and real conclusion), The Harsh Cry of the Heron, achieves new heights of drama and action.

16 years of peace and prosperity have passed since Lord Otori Takeo united the Three Countries. Takeo and his beloved consort, Kaede, have three daughters and a happy family life. Their success has attracted the attention of the distant Emperor and his general, the warlord Saga Hideki, who covet the wealth of the Countries. Meanwhile, the violent acts and betrayals of the past will not lie buried, and other secrets will not stay hidden. Everything that Takeo and Kaede have achieved is threatened.

In full ninja versus samurai fashion, Hearn delivers a kinetic, heartbreaking, and uplifting resolution to a thoroughly gripping saga.

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

©2006 Lian Hearn; (P)2006 HighBridge Company

What the Critics Say

"Seizes you from start to finish." (The Washington Post)
"Hearn seamlessly fuses fact and fantasy to create a sprawling, bewitching realm of magic." (Publishers Weekly)
"The Otori saga gets better with each book, and this is the most absorbing entry in the series, complete with intrigue, magic, romance, and action. A perfect final chapter." (Booklist)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (1279 )
5 star
 (605)
4 star
 (417)
3 star
 (177)
2 star
 (48)
1 star
 (32)
Overall
4.3 (457 )
5 star
 (241)
4 star
 (132)
3 star
 (57)
2 star
 (20)
1 star
 (7)
Story
4.4 (450 )
5 star
 (258)
4 star
 (123)
3 star
 (48)
2 star
 (12)
1 star
 (9)
Performance
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  •  
    Helen Seattle, WA, United States 09-26-06
    Helen Seattle, WA, United States 09-26-06 Member Since 2000
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "I miss the former narrators!"

    Kevin Gray and Aiko Nakasone wove the Tales of the Otori into a graceful and lyrical dance. Their replacements fall flat with overly dramatic reading and wierd accents.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    CT 10-31-06
    CT 10-31-06 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    27
    5
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "A Let Down"

    Like others reviewing this book, I greatly enjoyed the first 3 books in the series. However, this one was much less entertaining and I agree the ending was a great disappointment.

    I also did not care for the narrators as they gane a "fake" feeling to the story.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lisa 10-18-06
    Lisa 10-18-06
    HELPFUL VOTES
    133
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    299
    26
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    6
    0
    Overall
    "Don't do it!"

    After listening to the first three Tales of the Otori I would have a difficult time heeding my own advice, but really, don't get this book! I was excited to hear the next installment because the others were so pleasurable, with that intense mixture of interesting characters in a world balanced between fantasy and plausibility.

    Unfortunately, this book is just terrible. The fantastical aspects have run amok, and were bizzare and unenjoyable. Ms Hearn seems to have forgotten her characters, because they became inconsistant and unlikeable in this overwhelmingly boring and frustrating tale. To add to the horror, the female narrator was terrible, only employing two voices - deep and annoying, or high and annoying.

    Your imagination will give this series a far better ending than it's original author did...

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nancy Oceanside, CA, USA 05-14-07
    Nancy Oceanside, CA, USA 05-14-07 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    9
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    8
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "READ this one.."

    Agreeing in full with other reviewers about Kevin and Aiko's reading of the previous books and the blatant lack of enjoyment I had with this one.
    I gritted my teeth through the first chapter with Henri Lubatti, finding his monotone sing-song voice to be very akward and anti-climactic to Kevin's. It severly lacked any draw-in that I was enjoying with the previous books. Plus, Henri's lack of experience with pronouncing japanese words (where Ho-oh is pronounced hoo-ooh, like a hoot owl) made it even worse.
    Then I listened to Julia fletcher for 2 minutes and gave up. She, too, was imperfect in her Japanese and even worse in her read of the female characters which Aiko had given so much character and drama to.

    Sorry, but I'm going to buy the book and I urge those who enjoyed the first three books on audio to do the same and let Kevin and Aiko read for you in your mind.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kevin 09-29-06
    Kevin 09-29-06

    Lover of Reiki, good food and all things Japanese

    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    25
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Excellent book, poor narrating"

    I must agree with Helen's review, in the previous 3 books, Kevin Gray and Aiko Nakasone made the Tales of the Otori saga. They did not only read the stories with great enthusiasm, but you actually believed that they were actually Lord Takeo and Lady Kaede.
    Unfortunately, Henri Lubatti?s failure to fall into character along with his slow mono-toned narrating made it difficult to follow and Julia Fletcher?s narrating was somewhat better, but still lacked inspiration.
    The Story deservers a 5 star rating, but the narrators hurts it's overall rating considerably.
    I would consider buying the hardcover just so that the book is more enjoyable.

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    A.Singer 06-16-14
    A.Singer 06-16-14 Member Since 2014
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Good story - not the right readers"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Harsh Cry of the Heron to be better than the print version?

    The first three books in the Tales of the Otori series were read by Kevin Gray and Aiko Nakasone. Both were excellent in reading the narration and various character voices, with very good (as far as I could tell) pronunciation of the Japanese words (e.g., names, places). Aiko's voice made the female characters especially come to life because she made them sound very feminine in a way that I would expect from Japanese women of that time. When I started Harsh Cry of the Heron, I was immediately startled by the very different reader voices and never really settled into the characters. To the very end of this book I kept wishing for the original readers. Julia Fletcher (who sounds Irish), and Henri Lubatti are both good readers, but not for this story. Neither voice really suited the topic or the Japanese culture. Obviously I wanted to finish the series because I really enjoyed it as a whole, so I did listen to this final book, and I did enjoy it, but not to the degree that I did the first three books.

    The story itself was good with lots of detail and compelling subplots that keep it moving.


    Did the narration match the pace of the story?

    I'm not sure about the pace of the story - I suppose that was a match. There were times when I really felt that the voice inflection was wrong though. I would not avoid another book by either of these readers, they are both good readers but just not appropriate for this book when compared to the man and woman who read the first three books in the series.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Judith M. Nimmo Australian 04-15-14
    Judith M. Nimmo Australian 04-15-14

    Tesni

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    833
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    5
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Best of the series"

    I have listened to this series over the last few weeks, and found this fourth book well written, well structured, immersive and well read.

    The character development and plot points illustrate the tensions between personal choices versus responsibility to others and responsibility to the greater good. However, the characters were real enough to me to make the ultimate tragedy plausible and very moving.

    Due to negative reviews, I nearly did not down-load this book. However, I did not find anything disturbing about the performers - I was able to fully immerse myself in the story and characters.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gary Suwanee, GA, United States 03-25-14
    Gary Suwanee, GA, United States 03-25-14 Member Since 2011
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "narration is GOD AWFUL"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    The narrator


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    boring going through the motions/words.


    Did Harsh Cry of the Heron inspire you to do anything?

    Not buy "Heaven's net is Wide". I'm struggling to finish "Harsh cry of the Heron".


    Any additional comments?

    Really enjoyed the first three.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Katherine Folsom, CA, United States 03-19-14
    Katherine Folsom, CA, United States 03-19-14 Member Since 2003
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    10
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Wow how disappointing"
    Has Harsh Cry of the Heron turned you off from other books in this genre?

    I really enjoyed all the other books, including the prequel.


    What didn’t you like about Julia Fletcher and Henri Lubatti ’s performance?

    The narrators were annoying - I found myself almost enraged with the female narrator and - and the male narrator was trying to do some monotone thing that wasn't working. The narrators in the prequel are MUCH better.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Several characters, especially Kaede, were so incredibly dislikable and irritating that I almost had to stop listening. Many other characters were written out or forgotten without any explanation.It seemed to me that the author got tired of writing and attempted to wrap everything up with one letter - literally. Seems like cheating.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JEREMY Raeford, NC, United States 11-04-13
    JEREMY Raeford, NC, United States 11-04-13
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    7
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Meh"
    What did you like best about Harsh Cry of the Heron? What did you like least?

    I really liked the series and this book at least had characters I was still interested in.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Lian Hearn? Why or why not?

    Yes, the other books in this series, although I've yet to read the prequel, are very good.


    What didn’t you like about Julia Fletcher and Henri Lubatti ’s performance?

    I'm relatively new to audiobooks, so I suppose I've been lucky in that I really haven't run into poor performances until now. The, um, readers(?), attempts at gender change are painful to listen to, and would be comical if they weren't ruining the story. I will say that Julia Fletcher has a pleasant voice when she is not attempting a male character.


    Could you see Harsh Cry of the Heron being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    Yes, that could be really good. I would cast Kazunari Ninomiya and Yu Aoi in the male and female leads.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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