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JMK Purple Flamingo
5.0 out of 5 starsEnjoyed book two
Reviewed in the United States on January 20, 2019
The story and descriptions made you feel as if you were there. I do not live where it snows, so the descriptions of the coldness made me glad that I live in southern California. Looking forward to reading Book 3.
3.0 out of 5 starsVery much in the style of the first book; but I found myself getting bored.
Reviewed in the United States on April 27, 2008
This is the second book in the Tales of the Otori series by Lian Hearn. This book picks up where the first left off. Takeo leaves Kaede for training under the mysterious Tribe; whose supernatural abilities Takeo has inherited from his father. As his training concludes, and he is asked to take out certain missions, he must ask himself if his loyalties will lie with the Tribe or with the Otori? Kaede meanwhile is left on her own to return home and see what state her family is in. Kaede struggles to consolidate her power and claim the inheritance she was left in a world that is run by men.
This was a fitting second book for this series. It moved along at the steady, descriptive pace of the second book. Although for some reason I found myself getting bored while reading this book. The lush descriptions, while detailed, didn't bring the book to life in the way I hoped they would. I had a little trouble understanding some of the stupid decisions made by Kaede and Takeo along the way. Despite these misgivings, if you liked the first book you must read the second book. It is very much in the same style of the first book and continues the story of Kaede and Takeo. This book definitely builds to a climax preparing you for the war and conflict of the third novel.
5.0 out of 5 starsSuperb - adventure, mystery & intrigue
Reviewed in the United States on February 15, 2018
One of my favorite reads. The main character is beautifully portrayed in a historical Japanese venue. The writing is superlative and creates detailed scenes easily envisioned. Best of all, though this is part of a series of books, each stands well on it's own. Try a sample; I'm sure you'll want to read all of it.
5.0 out of 5 starsReview of unabridged audio version
Reviewed in the United States on February 3, 2004
Rating System: 1 star = abysmal; some books deserve to be forgotten 2 star = poor; a total waste of time 3 star = good; worth the effort 4 star = very good; what writing should be 5 star = fantastic; must own it and share it with others STORY: From back cover: "Takeo has now been claimed by the Tribe; held by them against his will, he is condemned to work as an assassin. Meanwhile, Shirakawa Kaede must try to unify the domain she has inherited, while fighting off would-be suitors and hoping that Takeo will return to her." MY FEEDBACK: 1) You don't really need to read the first book to understand this story because the author does enough reflection and backstory to get a reader up to speed. BUT...it is so much better if you do read Across the Nightingale Floor first. 2) The characters of Takeo and Kaede are explored more and we as readers continue our bond and love for them. Kaede plays a much larger role in this book than the first. 3) This second/middle book doesn't seem to suffer from middle-book syndrome but continues with the same strength as the first. The first book resolved enough without having to read this book, but this book definitely sets the stage for interesting events to happen in the 3rd book. Very little is resolved in this book. This book was truly the rising action of the series making you feel that the climax is just around the corner and me as a reader anxious to get there. 4) The same actors come back to this book to do the voices in this unabridged representation of the book. The acting is very well done and enjoyable throughout. OVERALL: Fantastic continuation. I can't wait till the end of the trilogy!
I thought this suffered a little from "middle of the trilogy" syndrome. Dramatic events occurred in the first book, along with the introduction of many interesting characters. Here we seem to be in a bit of a holding pattern while everyone catches his breath and waits for the finale. Part of it was due to the overall intended atmosphere of the book. It is winter and everything slows to a halt--with only plans being made for when the snow clears and major campaigns can now be fought. Part is due to the mysterious Tribe--Takeo is amongst them, but only interacts with a few lower-members, whose relationships with him don't change much. And surprisingly little is revealed about them--save that what we have guessed or learned from the first book. I wanted a bit more of a climatic arc to be had with that part of the story, but it was not to be. However, the world remains beautifully, even sublimely rendered. And there is that subtle tension that underlies the events, which pulls the reader along. I greatly enjoyed the first book and am content with this, the second book, and wait eagerly for the conclusion to this compelling tale.
Grass for His Pillow is the continuation of the Tales of the Otori series about young Takeo. This book resumes where Book One, Across the Nightingale Floor ends. Thankfully, the story continues. The vivid descriptions, the mental portrayal of the scenery in which young Takeo & the heroine, Lady Kaede Shirakawa, find themselves, is vibrant and real. Lian Hearn takes a known world (Japan) and crafts another world just like it in which to set his story. There are many wonderful moments in this story and to tell them here would only lessen the experience. If you love detailed, well worded and unique character portrayal, please enjoy this title today!
At this point, I've read all five of these books: the TALES OF THE OTORI trilogy as well as its epilogue and prequel. I read them contiguously and without pause--making sure that, before I finished one book, I had the next in hand. I would recommend the OTORI series for anyone who 1) has a modicum of interest in Japan, 2) likes a breath of magic, 3) enjoys surprise, 4) looks for the quality of nobility in characters, and 5) loves a good read. What's not to like!
2.0 out of 5 starsBeautifully written but a weak sequel
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 3, 2014
As the original Tales of the Otori Trilogy was originally written as a single novel, I think its clear why this novel contains all of the same strengths and weakness as Across the Nightingale Floor. While the prose is still hauntingly beautiful, I felt that this sometimes did not act in its favour as the flowery language often took the edge off the horror that the characters were exposed to.
I have rated this novel slightly lower than its prequel because I also felt that it succumbed to middle novel syndrome. Unlike Across the Nightingale Floor, it did not follow a strong plot but instead felt like an extended build up to the final novel. The pacing was very uneven, slow to start and far too fast towards the end, as its only purpose appeared to be to put Takeo and Kaede in position ready for the last part of the trilogy to begin.
The secondary characters also felt a little weaker this time around as, while the cast list was huge, I felt as though I did not get to know any of them. The biggest offender was Arai, who barely featured in the novel despite being its principle antagonist. Although the novel tried to emphasise his power, I never really felt it as it went unseen within the story.
However, Kaede and Takeo do remain incredibly likable and sympathetic protagonists. I especially loved how much development Kaede got within this story - she really did go from strength to strength and her gradual rebuilding of Shirakawa is testimony to how far she has come as a character.
4.0 out of 5 starsA good follow up to 'Across the Nightingale Floor'
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 14, 2011
It began slow, but picked up by the middle. However, I wasn't bored by the beginning pace. Instead I soaked up the descriptions of the landscape. The beginning mainly focused on Kaede finding her way in a man's world and even though it wasn't fast paced, it was nice to see a female character actually doing something about her inferior position. I'm glad many familiar characters were brought back in this sequel. Near the end of the book it grew quite interesting as the story developed and discoveries were made about characters. However, I did feel the cliffhanger to this book wasn't as gripping as 'Across the Nightingale Floor' in the sense I didn't feel the same urge to read the next book so eagerly. However, it didn't stop me from purchasing the last of the trilogy straight away so I hope this tale will have an ending to match the high standards of the previous two.
I like this series, full of history (albeit somewhat fictious) an interesting setting and some interesting characters that you really start to care about. Would recommend the series as a whole, though I personally think the first and third books of the original trilogy were better than this part. This book itself is a little slow and I felt not a whole lot really happened in it, but it does eventually build up to some pretty great stuff. Would definitely recommend for the series sake.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 23, 2013
This, second book continues to develop the narrative drive of the first. When a prophecy was mentioned I nearly decided to quit and delete it. I bore with it and was glad I did. The skills of the tribe - where they come from is still obscure. Genetics? NO. Magic? I HOPE NOT. I hope this gets resolved at some point. The nuances of feudal Japan have been well researched and are detailed well. A very pleasing book. I hope it can be maintained through the rest of the series.