geekery · reviews

Shorty Book Review – Across the Nightingale Floor

Across the Nightingale Floor (Tales of the Otori, #1)Across the Nightingale Floor by Lian Hearn
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A fantastical re-imagining of feudal era Japan. The plot is a bit thin and there isn’t much in the way of character development, especially for Kaede the female protagonist.
The story revolves around Takeo, a young man rescued by a lord from the massacre at his village. He is scooped up from rural mountain life and brought to a Lord’s mansion and trained to be an assassin. In the course of a year he goes from illiterate unskilled child to a competent budding ninja-warrior-young man.
Kaede is a hostage to the local overlord to keep her father’s loyalty. She is forced into marriage and is treated as a pawn on the local political board.
These characters don’t develop much beyond the usual template of hero and fair maiden, but it felt as if this was supposed to be a folk tale retold with more human seeming characters so depth wasn’t necessarily the point. The plot was readable and mostly interesting but predictable. The world building was what kept me going in this story. It’s richly described at times and has enough of a difference from actual feudal Japan that to me it was obviously a fantasy and not supposed to be set in this world.
I don’t know that I will be reading the rest of the series, but I feel it was worth the time I spent on it.

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