The 2nd book review is here. And it is of one of my very few favourite series. Yes I read all the time, many of them are good, but very few of them are on the favourite list.
Today we are talking about the frist book of this series: Tales of The Otori, and the book is Across The Nightingale Floor.
I've read the book some 5 years back and was completely taken in by it and could not have imagined such a book exist. Then I read it again and again within the 5 years, still taken by it every single time. The narration, the words and every single paragraph is essential in contributing to the overall story telling of the book, and no time and emotion is wasted under Lian Hearn's writing.
The story is set on the wars of clan in Japan some 500 years ago, and how the characters in the book trying to stay alive and at the same time dealing with pain, love, hatred, sadness and every human emotions. The scenery, the battlefields, the fights and the pain all came to life under the writer's pen, and I can often picture those scenes in front of my eyes, as if I was watching the movie itself.
The main structure of the story is not of something new: wars within clans and fierce warlords trying to bite more than they can chew. Every piece of land is an opportunity not to be missed. But the individual details and characters are of very interesting plots. Otori Takeo, the main character, was born with special talents. He can hear every sound, place every footsteps, put a person to sleep with his gaze, and even be at two different places at the same time. He is from the Kikuta clan, which possessed all these special talents.
And how he trained to cross the nightingale floor is another plot that is so interesting. The nightingale floor, is made up by a kind of wood that would sing under your feet whenever youwalk on it. Iida Sadamu, the fierce warlord who everybody hates, had the nightingale floor installed in his castle, thinking that would makes him sleep peacefully and keep the assassins at bay. And Takeo was determined to walk across the nightingale floor without awaking the castle and kill Iida.
Woman factor is always important in the story, having two main characters who stir the story and the men the way it goes. Lady Shirakawa is especially important, as at the age of 8 she was taken hostage and now at 15 she is the prettiest girl around and every warlord and man desires her. Fortunately for her, she has a reputation that whichever man who desires her, will die, for 2 of the men she was to be married to, all dead just before the ceremony.
If you like a little Japanese history and love reading story with deep emotions, this is a must read.
All her other books at Lian Hearn
"Just as the river is always at the door, so is the world always outside.
And it is in the world that we have to live."
-- Lord Otori Shigeru