Across the Nightingale Floor
Posted by spragujs on March 12, 2012
Across the Nightingale Floor, book 1 of the Tales of the Otori by Lian Hearn continues my recent trend for reading Japanese set (or authored) fiction. Or more properly listening to. (I also recently listened to 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami, but wanted to review this one before moving on to the next in the series and getting them mixed in my head.) Here’s a portion of the Audible.com blurb:
Sixteen-year-old Takeo’s village has been massacred by an evil warlord, and he is about to be slain by the men who murdered his parents and neighbors. At the last moment, his life is saved by a nobleman, who claims the boy as his kin and begins his education.
But nothing is as it seems. Takeo discovers that he has rare powers that are useful to those around him. As he grows into manhood, he must decide where his loyalties lie: with his noble master and adoptive father; with the Hidden, a secret, spiritual sect whose beliefs are forbidden; or with the Tribe, the assassins and spies who consider him one of their own.
The novel was exciting, giving one a tiny glimpse into what life must have been like in feudal Japan. The story was full of love won and lost, lives lived and lost, secrets, magic, and war. I have high hopes for the next book(s), as Takeo (and company)’s story has only just begun!
For the most part I enjoyed the audio version. The accents and characterizations were wonderful. However, I found Aiko Nakasone’s reading tough to get used to. She spoke v e r y s l o w l y (but clearly!) so that I felt as though I were being read down to, and it could be a little grating at times (particularly the beginning of each of her chapters). Fortunately, when she read for Shizuka she tended to speed up a little to match the character and often in doing so I at least noticed the slowness less for the rest of the chapter (possibly giving me a bit of unfair fondness for the character, which I think I’d have liked even without this bias)! ;)