Read The Harsh Cry of the Heron by Lian Hearn Online

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The epic conclusion to the bestselling Tales of the Otori—"one of the most thrilling new series of our time." -The Times (London)A dazzling epic of warfare and sacrifice, passionate revenge, treacherous betrayal, and unconquerable love, The Harsh Cry of the Heron takes the storytelling achievement of Lian Hearn's fantastic medieval Japanese world to startling new heights oThe epic conclusion to the bestselling Tales of the Otori—"one of the most thrilling new series of our time." -The Times (London)A dazzling epic of warfare and sacrifice, passionate revenge, treacherous betrayal, and unconquerable love, The Harsh Cry of the Heron takes the storytelling achievement of Lian Hearn's fantastic medieval Japanese world to startling new heights of drama and action. Fifteen years of peace and prosperity under the rule of Lord Otori Takeo and his wife Kaede is threatened by a rogue network of assassins, the resurgence of old rivalries, the arrival of foreigners bearing new weapons and religion, and an unfulfilled prophecy that Lord Takeo will die at the hand of a member of his own family.The Harsh Cry of the Heron is the rich and stirring finale to a series whose imaginative vision has enthralled millions of readers worldwide, and an extraordinary novel that stands as a thrilling achievement in its own right....

Title : The Harsh Cry of the Heron
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9789791141055
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 744 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Harsh Cry of the Heron Reviews

  • Elena
    2019-03-11 13:55

    Trying to keep an excellent series going beyond the natural end is always complicated. I was optimistic for this one, however, because Lian Hearn has quite a talent for epic storytelling, and the first three Otori books gripped me from about paragraph 2. In this 4th book Hearn brings some of the more historical threads served as a backdrop to the earlier books to the fore in a story that by its own logic really can't end the way the previous did. The era of feudal kingdoms is over. It is an interesting set up: Otori Takeo, although destined by prophecy to be a great ruler and unifier, also is destined to fall in the way of a Greek trajedy. He believes it, and so can only fight so hard against it. But it isn't just prophecy that determines his fall, and it isn't just Takeo's family that will bear the brunt of this change. Hearn writes the inevitable aftermath of the epic trilogy as the story of outside forces (Portuguese explorers) and the internal logics of nationmanking coming back to undo the very ruler who brought them in. So I like this book on a meta-level, but I was left mostly unsatisfied by the character development. Seeing Takeo as the older, wiser father was a fun change, as was seeing some of the youngest characters grow up. And yet there were so many of them that the book lost focus. It seems like Hearn couldn't decide between writing another trilogy with this new generation of characters or tying up loose ends with one book. Because of this, the reader gets many choices of characters and subplots with which to to identify only to watch them all die, or fade out, or do something stupid before they can really develop before our eyes. It is frustrating. I wanted to really root for someone and watch them survive valiantly despite all obstacles, and I kept getting the rug yanked out from under me. Now, there are books where this kind of disappointment is endemic, and those books are often really good. But I didn't start reading the Otori books for a lesson in pessimism or realpolitik, and greek tragedy has never really been my thing. So I understand what Hearn was trying to achieve, but I was frustrated by all the interesting people left along the way. Still, there undoubtably will be a book in the future about Takeo's daughter, and I will undoubtably read it. Hearn's focus on strong female characters has always been a selling point in this series for me and I'm willing to bet that the new book will be more focused and hence a whole lot better.

  • Nancy
    2019-03-06 05:44

    So disappointing! I tore into this book after devouring the original trilogy, but finished the story feeling that my enjoyment of these characters was now compromised. While the story was compelling, I felt the behavior and decisions of some of the main characters were inconsistent with their personas in the first books, thus creating pivotal scenarios that left me questioning the strength of their personas so beautifully developed in the previous books. As much as I wanted to know the conclusion for the Tales of the Otori series, I would encourage readers to skip this book and savor the strength and depth of the original trilogy. If any final book to an otherwise excellent series needs a rewrite, this is it.

  • Vaso
    2019-03-17 09:07

    The best end that this series should have.... Excellent work!!!!

  • Jack
    2019-03-16 07:46

    He should've ended it after the second book. That way I wouldn't have to endure the torture the next two books brought me. Luckily, I'm not compelled to finish the series anymore, because the last one is a prequel. Anyway, onto the rant.If Brilliance of the Moon was terrible compared to Across the Nightingale Floor, then this book was terrible compared to Brilliance of the Moon. It was that bad.For one thing, it's set 16 years into the future, so the magic of the characters is gone. They're completely different, and not in a good way. The whole island is on the brink of war AGAIN (that makes it 3 times, right?) but this time, Takeo is a pacifist. Yup. You read that right.Also, it's all about firearms now, and it's left the traditional Eastern way of fighting.And I thought Japan was against Western influence.Anyway, there's a whole new cast of characters this time, including:Taku, one of Shizuka's son. Zenko, the other son of Shikuza. He married Kaede's sister Hana and together they're planning on betraying Takeo.Shigeko, Takeo's oldest daughter.Maya and Miki, Takeo's twin girls. Which reminds me another reason I hated the book: Kaede's an asshole. Apparently, her royalty has gone to her head, and she hates her daughters because she wants a son (she doesn't know about the prophecy yet). She also tries overthrow Takeo herself.And that brings me to the final reason why I absolutely hated this book: The ending.Basically, Kaede kicked Takeo's ass out of the castle, and then Akio shows up with Takeo's son and tries to kill him.Then, the son accidentally kills Akio, and somewhere in the fight one of the twins dies.Then Takeo kills himself.The worst part about it was that you didn't even experience the fight, you just read about it in a letter.And then there's the even worse part.Kaede does a complete 180 and "regrets what she's done". She also mentions that "she can't live without him" even though it was her fault Takeo died.Ya' dun goofed.And then the book ends.I'm not even kidding you.It just ends.It's like putting down a rabid dog: it happens really quickly but then you're glad it's over.Final Rating: 1 and 1/2

  • Hals
    2019-02-27 12:42

    I always find it incredibly hard to review, or even rate, a book I read as a child, because, first, how much of said book do I really remember? But most importantly, how much of what I remember feeling about this book is actually the book's doing, and how much is just nostalgia?I read The Harsh Cry of the Heron when I was in high school. It certainly wasn't my favourite book, and it wasn't the first one I read that made me cry. But it's the book that introduced me to bitter endings.My uncle had given me the first book in this series as a birthday gift when I was in middle school, and I had loved it, though it had seemed really weird to me. So when I found out the local library had the rest of the series, I couldn't wait to read it. I had to wait some time, though, to read the last one, and when I finally did, it had been, what? two years, maybe, since I had read the third book in the series.The first three books aren't sweet or comforting AT ALL, okay? Awful things happen to good men and most of them seem pointless, and people have to make sacrifices that really feel like sacrifices (by this I mean they don't just forget about the sacrifice they made because in the end it was worth it - though most of the time they still believe it was worth it.)But I didn't expect the last book to be so harsh.From what I remember, this book takes place some years after the third one. Takeo and Kaede (not sure about the name - I did say it's been some time since I read this book) are older (view spoiler)[and have children. You'd think they'd be happy, and for some time they are, but mostly I felt like they were miserable. Or so my memories tell me. (hide spoiler)]I don't really remember anything I didn't like about this book. It's well written, the characters are well fleshed out, and the plot is alright.But it is so dark, so depressing! There are few books that make me want to curl up under my blankets for the rest of my life and forget the world even exists, but this one did. When I said bad things happen to good characters in this series, I meant it, and as far as I'm concerned, I found no hope left in this book, in the end.In short, this is what I remember of this book: it is filled with a sort of quiet despair, and the harsh battles the characters fought in the previous books seem to have been fought and won in vain.

  • Reina
    2019-03-12 11:56

    Wow...What a way to finish the tale of the Otori, 16 years after the 'happy ever after', Lian Hearn truly did capture the essence of Japanese tales in all it's tragic beauty coupled with the usual innter turmoils of emotions in relation to their roles and duties in their daily lives.To be honest, the ending left me curious to see 'what happened next', thus I have some affinity to the characters throughout the tales.Best of all, I suppose, the author protrayed the beauty and tragedy that is human nature, how events and emotions can drive someone from the 'good side' to the 'bad side', how not everything is black and white, good or evil, but through the complexity of it all, we still must strive for peace and harmony until it's our time to leave the Earth as we know it.- It definitly has been an enjoyable read, and I now look forward to checking out the prequel to how it all began with 'Heaven's Net is Wide' ^^It's a 4 star from me, however I would place this as one of my favourites, since it inspired me as a foreigner living in Japan who also dabbles in writing as to what can work as a successful tale based on traditions of old on a culture that is so removed from the West.So 5 stars just to get it up there on my favourite shelf ^^

  • Alina
    2019-03-08 07:56

    Probably the weakest in the series: not enough attention for the development of the characters (much could have been added about the three girls, about Hisao and some others), new tribe skills introduced but not explained (cat possession, ghost mastership, Miki's unnamed talent), some characters left without an ending (as Shizuka, Kahei's family, Madaren), inconsistent behavior (view spoiler)[ especially in Kaede, whom I thought rather just and intelligent and couldn't imagine her capable of such sadism as to burn and destroy cities just on a whim, so very out of character. (hide spoiler)] The ending is kind of rushed and somewhat hard to believe.Nevertheless, the book has the same fluent prose style, very easy to read and plunge in the artfully created world.

  • Becca
    2019-02-27 13:44

    This is what I was afraid of. I loved and was extremely satisfied with the trilogy, particularly its bitter-sweet ending. It just felt right. I should have stopped there. Then there was this book, which was much more bitter than sweet in so many ways. Yet with all the bitterness in this book, it was incredibly well done and I don't regret reading it.Sixteen years has come and gone since the end of the last book. All the characters I came to know in the trilogy are old, still viable in a lot of ways, but have lost their immortality of youth. It seems all of them are struggling to find peace with their coming deaths. This whole novel was a struggle, one I couldn't look away from and I didn't find any of the endings happy, though many were peaceful. And honestly, though I left this book with a somewhat bad taste in my mouth, I must say Hearn's storytelling was once again riveting and colorful. I can't not like the overall book, though the disappointments were many.Kaede, who I had come to adore in the first three books, bitterly disappointed me in this book. I saw none of the strong woman she should have been. Takeo was still shrewd and strong to a point, but he let his infirmities and compassion weaken him in ways I did not expect of him. Kaede and Takeo's daughters were fabulous additions to the story, but because the story didn't really focus on them, I found their character development stunted. I had to accept their actions, particularly of the twins, at face value rather than really seeing how who they were directed what they did. It was a sad let-down after coming to know Takeo and Kaede so intimately.I would have loved more exploration into the tribe skills brought to light in this book. The ghostmaster, possession, and whatever skill Miki possessed that was so powerful but not named or explained make for tantalizing hints that could be stories in and of themselves. I feel there will be more to come even though Hearn named this book as the last tale of the Otori. She can't leave these characters in their sad state. Their tales have not been fully told.

  • Vic
    2019-03-04 05:44

    I might have given this volume a five star rating for the second half of the story. I thought of all the books, including Book 5, this was the slowest to get going. Actually, it was almost uninteresting enough to stop reading and it was only the desire to complete the cycle that I persevered. As the story unfolded and the intrigue began to take shape I think Lian Hearn started firing on all cylinders. I absolutely loved the development of Takeo and Kaede's daughter, Shigeko, and the role she came to play as a heroine and faithful daughter. Her participation in the Emperor's contest in the capital and later in the major battle to save both Takeo and the Three Countries was almost mesmerizing.The Harsh Cry of the Heron seemed to have a depth and poignancy that exceeded the other books in the series. Although each story was brilliant in it's own right, and character development superb, I found my emotions being played by a virtuoso. One minute I was thrilled, the next disgusted, followed by disbelief, followed by anger, and so on until the final scene in the Temple where the story concludes. I have spent a lot of hours consuming a series that spans at least sixteen hundred pages and three generations of Otori, yet I want more. Now that's some great writing!

  • Kitvaria Sarene
    2019-02-25 12:43

    First off - I read this when I was only a teenager myself when it was brand new, so my opinion might be different if I read it today.I absolutely love the Otori trilogy and it's prequel, so I of course picked this one up as soon as it was out. But while the others sucked me in right away and had me engaged with the characters on a high level, this one disappointed me a lot. It felt like our main protagonist changed from a strong boy/man to someone always going on about just oh how old he is now. How everything hurts. How his back hurts. How he isn't young anymore.... You get the gist of it. While of course it might be hard to get old and "frail" when you were once a fighter and your body functioning is a big part not only of your life but also your survival and those of your loved ones - I still can't see him change to someone so "whiny" about it. And I could never do with moaning people. My way is always: clenched teeth and up and forward we go! (As said, I might feel differently if I read it for the first time today.)I know that not only did this book disappoint me, but it also put a but of a shallow taste on the other books, which was even worse for me.The plot itself I remember as being interesting, but completely overshadowed by the complaining.

  • Isaura
    2019-03-18 12:48

    Cuando una historia se basa en una profecía es difícil sorprenderse del final.. sin embargo este libro me dejó un sabor "raro" de boca.. fue un final triste como solo las buenas leyendas lo pueden tener..Una historia de amor legendaria, con subidas y bajadas y solo la pérdida de la confianza lo puede destruir.. Mi personaje favorito: Shizuka, no importa que pasaba ella supo mantener su sonrisa hasta que el dolor la destruyó y aún así logro convertirse en parte de los personajes legendarios..El que menos me gustó... Kaede, por alguna extraña razón nunca logré sentir simpatía por ella, si, luchó contra la adversidad, si, tuvo muchas cosas malas que vencer pero siento que ella siempre lo dio todo por sentado pero por como rechazó a sus hijas por "el que dirán" (cuando a ella Takeo nunca la rechazó a pesar de su "reputación") y luego dejarse engatusar por Hana... Le perdí el poco respeto que me había hecho tenerle.. Recomiendo esta serie con los ojos cerrados a todos los que disfruten de las grandes leyendas e historias de amor sin final feliz..

  • Kristin
    2019-02-27 10:03

    I loved the first three books of the Tales of the Otori series, but I don't think I can ever reread this one. It wasn't that it was poorly written, because it still maintained the lovely style of prose that the other three had. But, because of the 'prophecy' that was given at the start of the series, Hearn was forced to break the characters out of their predefined personalities. To have the prophecy come true, certain characters had to act out of character. When they've been defined in a certain way, and have adhered to that for all the other books, it becomes very irritating when they suddenly do not act that way. It really bothered me, which is why I was so dissatisfied with this installment in the Otori series.

  • Ndahdien Ramadhan
    2019-03-15 06:50

    Fuihh.....makin seru aja nih cerita Lord Otori Takeo dan keluarganya. Setelah lumayan jelek di Klan Otori II dan meningkat lagi di Klan Otori III tapi dengan ending yang kurang memuaskan, akhirnya di seri IV ini semuanya terbayar. (yah walopun cape' mata n cape' tangan coz bukunya tuebell). Dibuku ke-IV ini bercerita tentang pengkhianatan, kepercayaan, perkembangan anak-anak takeo, kisah cinta shigeko (cinta yg tidak bisa terucapkan) yang sangat menyentuh dan kematian-kematian yang tragis.Anak-anak Takeo udah gedhe dan semuanya cewek; shigeko yang berjiwa pemimpin, Maya+Miki (anak kembar) yang kehadiranya tidak disukai masyarakat dan kaede karena mitos kutukan anak kembar (huh!! Nyebelin banget nih kaede di buku ke-IV ini). Tapi keahlian Maya+Miki tinggi banget, karena itu mereka lebih sering tinggal brsama tribe buat berlatih. Sementara itu kemampuan takeo telah menurun drastis akibat cacat ditangannya, ditambah dengan banyaknya orang kepercayaan Takeo yang tewas dan kisah mengejutkan tentang adik Takeo yang ternyata masih hidup; Intrik pengkhianatan dari anak Shizuka & Arai (Zenko) yang menikah dengan Hanna (ade’ kaede) yang seru abiz, dan kekhawatiran kaisar dengan reputasi Takeo yang terus meningkat membuat posisi Takeo sebagai pemimpin 3 negara terancam. Kehidupan di Tiga Negara udah makmur dan terbebas dari perang selama 16 tauh berkat kerja keras otory-kaede dan tunduknya tribe. Tapi kelompok Kikuta pimpinan Akio masih terus menyimpan dendam namun sedikit kecewa dengan hisao, anak takeo hasil hubungan dengan yuki (KLan Otori I) yang ga' nunjukin kekuatan kikuta yang dahsyat. Tapi akio berhasil menjalin kerjasama dengan zenko yang telah berkomplot dengan kelp. kuroda + pihak asing + lord kono (anak fujiwara yg hombreng itu lho).Taku (adik zenko) dibunuh kelp. kikuta atas perintah zenko, tekad Takeo untuk menghindari perang dengan kaisar ternyata gagal, Maya disekap Akio yang justru membantu Hisao untuk menggunakan kekuatannya menjadi pemimpin dunia arwah dan mendengarkan pesan Yuki, Shizuka diancam untuk ikut Zenko/bunuh diri, Miki melarikan diri dari Shizuka untuk mencari Maya, Hana yang diliputi dendam karena cintanya ditolak Takeo bersiap membuka rahasia takeo akan anaknya kepada Kaede dan segudang rencana licik lainnya menemui Kaede yang baru melahirkan anak laki-laki.Yup, perang emang tidak bisa dihindari. Kehadiran Takeo di kekaisaran yang semula diterima dengan baik akhirnya juga berakhir perang karena kaisar tersinggung dengan ikutnya jerapah (lambang restu surgawi terhadap pemimpin) kembali ikut Takeo. Teknik pertempurannya bagus, di sini Shizuka menjadi pahlawan karena berhasil memanah mata sang jenderal. Tapi kemenangan ini tidak ada artinya karena Kaede dengan sangat mengejutkan berhasil dipengaruhi Hana dan meninggalkan Tiga Negara. Akhirnya untuk menggalang kekuatan melawan Zenko, Shizuka bersedia menjadi istri sang Jenderal dan Takeo meletakkan kepemimpinannya dan kembali ke biara. Sementara itu, Maya dan Miki dengan bantuan arwah Yuki berhasil melarikan diri dan pergi ke biara.Di biara inilah Takeo menemui ajalnya, bukan seperti ramalan yang selalu menghantui Takeo, tapi...hmmm baca ndiri ajalah, ntar malah ga seru kalo diceritain semuanya:D

  • Diane
    2019-03-01 07:51

    I have loved the rest of this series, but because of the repeated prophecy of the death of the protagonist, I have dreaded the end of this book, and completely put it down for about ten days, in the middle. Lord Otori Takeo is a likeable character, with serious flaws more than compensated by his strength of character: he has a strong sense of justice and has established the rule of law, a vision of peace which he has accomplished and maintained for fifteen years, and cares about the fate of all his people, nurturing and cultivating them as one would a farm, in late feudal Japan where many lords ruled for their own benefit, exploiting the common people with abandon.As the end of the series, this book had a great deal to accomplish, and accomplish it, she did. While not as lyrical and magical as the earlier books, I felt that she ended the story with Takeo's dignity, Makoto's humane serenity, and redmption for the character whose crisis caused the collapse of the peace. I'd have given it 4.5 stars if I could; I recommend it highly!

  • Michiyo 'jia' Fujiwara
    2019-03-15 11:10

    Apa jadinya kalau kisah Cinderella berlanjut (diakhir kisah Cinderella, akhirnya ia menikah dengan Pangeran pujaan hatinya kan) ?? Kalau misalnya kisah Cinderella berlanjut, aku kira..baru mengira... akhir kisahnya bukan lagi (mungkin).. and they lived happily ever after.. sama seperti kisah yang terjadi antara Takeo dan Kaede..Mereka memang akhirnya bisa bersama, mereka menikah, menjadi penguasa, punya anak..tapi.. :”( ada kecemburuan, ada intrik politik yang semuanya bermuara pada langgengnya kekuasaan.. dan pada akhirnya Takeo harus menghadapi takdir yang telah diramalkan kepadanya jauh sebelum ia menjadi penguasa tiga kerajaan.. tuhhh...kaaann!!!

  • AJ
    2019-03-10 05:49

    WHY DID EVERYONE HAVE TO DIE?! TURN THE PAGE AND BANG EVERYONE'S DEAD!! Loved it, couldn't turn the pages faster! (:

  • Miglė Keliotytė
    2019-03-13 09:43

    Phew. Finally.

  • Petros
    2019-03-06 05:47

    There is a time skip many years into the future where Takeo loses control of the land and everybody is fighting each other. But who could be opposing him when he has killed all the other warlords? The answer is, his own relatives, who for some stupid reason hate him now. Even Kaede, the love of his life, considers him a jerk. The tone of the final book is very different from the rest by being constantly mean and depressing, with the characters being spiteful to each other without much justification. Many events are also not shown; they are just described through boring dialogues which results to a mostly dull read. Plain and simple the author lost interest, she didn’t know how to continue and reflected her frustration on how the characters behave.The finale is predictably Takeo confronting his son, who does not kill him directly. They have a fight which depresses Takeo and with nobody loving him anymore he chooses to kill himself. All of which are of course not shown but told after everything is over. And that’s how the story ends, with a dull and predictable way that left everybody disappointed. That’s what happens when you abuse asspulls, you don’t know how to get to a predetermined ending, and lose interest along the way.

  • Sarah
    2019-03-17 14:01

    What can I say. The range of charcters. The world. The perfect imperfections that come with being human in a world a nature vs nurture. What made this story even better as that we got to enjoy Takeo and Kaede's future after having grown with them in their youth. I loved seeing the internal struggles that Takeo and other characters had to deal with. It was a reminder that nothing is ever black and white. No one is perfect. "Good" people can have wicked thoughts and "evil" people can show kindness.....and prophesies never turn out how you expect.

  • Haidn
    2019-03-04 09:59

    I've been reading this series for a good part of the year - really liked the authenticity of the settings - and was very keen to get into this book once I'd read the first 3, as I was getting into the plotIt was different to see Takeo as the father figure this time, but not bad because it worked quite well. The lack of map and extensive character glossary was slightly annoying, but I actually wrote my own character glossary afterwards.But what really struck me first as strange was the change in narration. For the first 3 books, the stories are narrated in 1st person ("I") by Takeo and Kaede mainly, and we get to know the way they think very well. The Harsh Cry of the Heron had a wider range of characters narrating, but it was in 3rd person ("he, she, takeo", and although it still gave a good description of their thoughts I preferred the original way of 1st person. However in a way the wider range of characters narrating in THCOTH made it effective, with different viewpoints from the good, bad, young and old. (Eg: Takeo, Maya, a bit from Shizuka, Shigeko, though I didn't notice much from Kaede.)Also what I noticed, which many others did too was the change in Kaede's character. I didn't like it, she had developed into a strong lady standing up for females in the 1st 3 books, but then in this one she didn't seem as empathetic, motivated(?) and especially the strong desire to have a boy child and not loving her twin girls seemed contradictory.HOWEVER, I'm not writing this review to say what I didn't like, if anything I'm trying to say what i didn't initially like but later realised was very cleverly crafted. I liked this book a lot.For example, the death of Maya seemed terrible, and was a very sad moment but it was so relieving (and slightly exasperating) to finally see Kaede see Miki as an individual, and aspiring girl - just like she was, and finally love them both wholeheartedly. A sad plot twist but one that helped complete the storyline for Kaede.It was gutwrenching to see Takeo kill himself, but I have to admit it was the only way which ended the storyline for him, fulfilling the prophecy that had been hanging over him for the entire series, and making Kaede see her mistake and not making Hisao the evil son. I guess a really gutwrenching plot twist that you really feel for means it's a good book.In conclusion though, if I had wanted anything changed I would have really liked more of a follow up for Madaren - she seemed to be introduced to the story then dropped - and Shizuka. Although thinking about it, it was mentioned that Ishida left to find her, and that Shin the bodyguard was actually watching over her, so I guess that was Lian Hearn's way of letting us know she was fine.And Shigeko's marriage to Sada was a little sad, but innevitably necessary to keep the story realistic, because the 3 Countries themselves couldn't have defended themselves against the entire 8 Islands. Like Shizuka, I wondered what happened to Hiroshi, but I guess the paragraph when Shigeko told him that Saga had proposed was quite deep, showing how they knew they would always have an invisible connection but realised they wouldnt physically be able to be together.Good book, good bookPS: I was very upset when the giraffe died - but still: good book

  • Matty-Swytla
    2019-03-11 10:47

    I knew that this book would break my heart. The more I read, the more I could foresee the destruction of everything dear to me at the end of the book. In a way, the story of this last instalment is an exploration of death, disappointment, tragedy, and suffering like the one we've seen with lord Shigeru and lady Maruyama of the first book. It was such a sharp flash-back to that time I knew the bright future at the start would unravel with the tragic intensity of Japanese, Chinese, and Korean dramas. (Seriously, I can count on one hand how many period dramas and movies ended perfectly for the main couple. This is no exception now and I’m bitterly disappointed in Kaede, although some of the blame goes to Takeo as well.)I know I've been dismayed by tragic endings to many an Asian movie or tale, but this book almost took a step further to make me feel utterly depressed. I was only saved from it by the somewhat rushed ending. If we had seen the events through Takeo's eyes, it would have had the emotional charge of a small nuclear bomb, but being only told what happened strips it of intensity. I know it was a tragic end, and utterly appropriate for Takeo, but it still felt nothing like Shigeru’s death. Perhaps I was torn between too many characters in this book and could not properly focus on a selected few thus being more emotionally connected to them.A flaw of the book it that we see the Otori children only in small snippets; yet most of their actions impact the fate of their parents and land. This is not something I can overlook, especially since Maya proved to be a character I could only barely tolerate. I wanted more of them and to see what happened to the love between Shigeko and Hiroshi in the long run. I can imagine their strong bond lingering on, but more than that... I’m not sure she’ll be happy. I was also surprised by Madaren, Takeo’s sister, and the abrupt disappearance of her character in the middle of the book. I feel the author should have written two books to deal with these characters in an appropriate way and still keep the relevant historical background intact. The book feels rushed in places and yet so utterly like the first three books in other. We still get to breathe in the peace of the temples, the bustle of the cities, but these descriptions don’t evoke the same emotions as they did in the very first book when they just took my breath away with their lyrical magic. The book is still a worthy conclusion to the saga, but perhaps I’ll pretend the first three books are the true Tale of the Otori, just to keep Kaede and Takeo at their very best.

  • Jennifer
    2019-03-20 10:51

    One of my favorite series of all-time (Tales of the Otori) quietly released the final book in the series The Harsh Cry of the Heron. by Lain Hearn. We didn't even know it was out until we happened upon it in Barnes & Noble.It is nearly impossible to read this book without comparing it to the most recent fiction book I've read (A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin. Both take place in a fictional feudal society--Martin's is a fictionalized Europe, Hearn's is a fictionalized Japan. Both deal with political intrigue, secrets, fealty, and how the ruling class operates. Both have a touch of the supernatural.But I strongly prefer the Otori series to Songs of Fire & Ice. Many of the issues I had with Thrones, most importantly its degradation of women, and lack of understanding of women and motherhood is completely absent in this series. While, it could be said to go to the other extreme in many ways (putting women in a position they would have never enjoyed in feudal Japan), it still works, and left me feeling less uncomfortable than Thrones did.If you have not read the first three books in the series, this is not the one to start with, and it would not be fair for me to analyze specific details of the plot, as it would ruin the whole point of the first three books! [1]I will analyze plot techniques, as both strengths and weaknesses. The book, like the other three often relies too much on irony to create suspense, but it also ends up creating a sense of comfort for the reader that leaves one completely unguarded for the fact that sometimes the reader is not omniscient. At times, things seem to conveniently show up to make plot points easier to get through, but I will say, don't give up hope, often these eye-rolling type passages actually ARE important in the end for reasons not immediately apparent when they occur.The book starts off with what I will forever dub Star Wars Prequel Problem, which is essentially, if the good guys are the ones in power, how exciting can the story really be? The beginning of the book is an utter bore, like sitting through a Congressional hearing on grass growing techniques.Towards the middle of the book, you think you have it all figured out. You do not.The ending is both expected and completely unexpected. I found it nearly impossible to put the book down when the literary shit hit the fan. Do not get complacent. This is not the nicely predictable ending ALL the books spelled out.In the end, this book has only helped solidify this series amongst my all time favorites. I often don't read books more than once, and I plan to read this again within the next few years.

  • Trisno
    2019-02-26 06:06

    Setelah perjuangan berat yang dilalui oleh Takeo dan Kaedee, mereka akhirnya menjadi sebuah keluarga yang bahagia selam 16 tahun, hidup dalam kedamaian dan rakyat yang makmur.Memiliki seorang putri yang mewarisi kecantikan Kaedee dan juga 2 putri kembar yang sangat berpengaruh dalam buku kali ini. Arai Zenko yang mejadi suami Hana (adik Kaedee), anak dari Sizuka, kakak Taku, akhirnya menghianti Takeo ketika dia sedang pergi menghadap kaisar penguasa 8 pulau. Penghiatannya ditandai dengan pembunuhan adiknya sendiri, Taku. Kemudian Hana, membocorkan rahasia Takeo mengenai anak yang didapatnya dari Yuki (cucu Kenji Muto). Maya, salah satu anak kembar Takeo tanpa sadar telah membunuh adiknya yang masih bayi dengan menggunakan tatapan kikuta-nya yang mematikan. Dan kematian adiknya tersebut membuat duka yang sangat dalam bagi Kaedee ditambah lagi informasi dari Hana mengenai hubungan gelap Takeo dulunya dengan Yuki. Akhirnya, Maya pergi meninggalkan kota bersama dengan roh Yuki(mati dibunuh oleh Kikuta setelah melahirkan anak Takeo, Hisao) dan juga meninggalkan kembarannya Miki. Kaedee membakar istana mereka sebagai pelampiasan rasa marahnya kepada Takeo dan pergi bekerjasama dengan Arai Zenko untuk melawan suaminya Takeo.Takeo mendengar kabar kematian putranya dan kondisi istrinya setelah mereka berhasil bertempur melawan pasukan kekaisaran (pertempuran yang tak terduga). Suatu hari Takeo berhasil bertemu dengan Kaedee secara diam-diam, tapi Kaedee sudah marah dan memintanya bunuh diri. Dengan rasa malu yang besar akhirnya Takeo pergi kembali ke Terayama, biara tempat dia dulu pernah mengasingkan diri. Dia diam disana dan menyerahkan tahta Tiga Negara kepada putri tertuanya Shigeko. Di Terayamalah akhirnya dia mati dengan menggunakan senjata anaknya sendiri Hasio, yang akhirnya menjawab semua ramalam yang sudah digariskan bertahun-tahun silam. Putrinya Maya, meninggal juga dalam insiden tersebut.Makoto, seorang pendeta yang ada di biara tersebut menulis semua kejadian yang terjadi dan memberikannya kepada Kaedee ketika perang sudah usai. Kaedee merasa bersalah atas kematian suami dan putrinya. Tetap dia tetap bertahan karena dia memiliki 2 putri lag dan 1 putra dari Yuki. Zenko dan istrinya Hana, akhirnya diminta untuk bunuh diri karena sudah melawan Otori dan Tiga Negara kembali dalam keadaan aman. Shigeko menikah dengan Jendral kekaisaran dan mereka memimpin Tiga Negara dan Delapan Pulau.Mayat Takeo dan putrinya Maya, dikuburkan di dekat makan Shigeru, ayah angkat dari Takeo.

  • Annie
    2019-03-08 08:02

    In spite of the suggestion of the subtitle of this book, The Last Tale of the Otori, I discovered an ad for _Heaven's Net is Wide; the First Tale of the Otori_ coming some time after _The Harsh Cry of the Heron_. I *guess* after having come this far, I'd better read that one too. If I *must*.Continuing with my feminist critique; In the last book of the "trilogy" _The Brilliance of the Moon_ I made the point that after her marriage all power was stripped from Kaede. In the book it's even worse. She does absolutely nothing of significance except be emotional and the recipient of her husband's lust until she becomes pregnant and has a son. Then in the last fourth of the book, after the baby dies, she goes off the deep end, runs away with her sister Hana who has been plotting the destruction of Takeo's reign the whole time (nominally Kaede and Takeo's reign, but she never asserts any power until this point), and brings about Takeo's fall and ultimately his death.Other prominent female characters are Takeo and Kaede's daughters Shigeko and the twins Miki and Maya. Shigeko is Takeo's heir. She has been taught to be a warrior and a leader. But she does so at her father's will. Shigeko never expresses any desires of her own, except to marry Hiroshi, a desire that she is denied and accepts. Shigeko accompanies Takeo to the emperor's court when the legitimacy of Takeo's rule is brought into question. She fights in a competition in her father's place and wins against her suitor, the warlord Saga who threatens to attack the Three Countries. Later, in battle she wounds Saga, thereby winning, only to discover that Hana and Zenko's plotting has come to fruition in their absence. To save the kingdom (because her own forces were inadequate) she marries Saga and he crushes Zenko's armies. Although Takeo, before his death, stipulates that they should rule as equals and that Shigeko's daughters should inherit Maruyama, I have little hope of such behavior for the warlord who keeps concubines and is frequently described as power hungry and brutal.Maya and Miki are twins, considered a misfortune in their society. Maya becomes possessed by a cat and under control of Hisao her half brother while Miki for the most part drifts from place to place under the control of various protectors. After the promise of the first two Otori novels of strong, interesting women _The Brilliance of the Moon_ is a disappointment, and _The Harsh Cry of the Heron_ is a tragedy.But I did enjoy them thoroughly. I was hardly able to put them down.

  • Keziah
    2019-03-07 12:05

    I fell in love with the world of Lian Hearn’s Tales of the Otori in the first few chapters of the prequel Heaven’s Net Is Wide. The blending of historical feudal Japan with the magical was so evocative it captured my heart. A world where samurai existed and the magical powers of the ninja too existed in the families of a few. A world where so many were persecuted for so little. Harsh Cry of the Heron takes place many years after the events of the main trilogy. Takeo and Kaede’s reign has seen peace and prosperity to the Three Countries and yet now they face their greatest foe, the Emperor of the Eight Kingdoms and his general Saga. The last of the prophecies given to Takeo in the main series will be carried out in this book.Sadly Kaede annoyed me almost from the beginning of the book. I had always enjoyed her character, so strong and resolute in a world where she was treated as little more than a possession by all the men around her. And yet she was being narrow minded and superstitious something that I’d never really attributed to her before. Her attitude to her twin daughters Maya and Miki was selfish and mean and really led to so many of the events in the book.I cannot fault the writing in this book at all, and to be honest I cannot fault the plot either, simply my heart yearned for a slightly happier outcome for so many of the characters. Once again the casual attitude to the brutality of the world in which the series is set at once both lessens and deepens your horror at the suffering of so many of the characters. The sexual abuse of the young Hisao and the twisting of his mind and personality by Akio is just one horror which is never fully examined as a horror. Hisao himself looks forward to the occurences because they are the only signs of affection he has ever received in his short life. In a way this makes it even worse for the reader, because the actions are so comon place that the world is re-emphasised as a dark and twisted place.While a part of me wishes I had of stopped at Brilliance of the Moon, I am glad I read this as the entire series really is a work of art and worthy of a read for anyone with a love of Japan.

  • Ioritzmoreno
    2019-02-20 05:53

    Desde el momento en el que terminé el tercer libro supe que este no me gustaría. Temía leer el triste final que esperaba desde que se supo la profecía. Y aun así a sido todavía mucho más triste de lo que me podría haber imaginado. De todos modos, durante toda la lectura mi único pensamiento era saber qué ocurría con los personajes, casi carecía de importancia el resto. Me parece que la mitad de las páginas sobran, el libro podría haber sido igual de intenso que el tercero de ser así. El personaje de Kaede nunca llegó a convencerme como el de Takeo, por ejemplo, en el primer libro su historia no me decían mucho, en el segundo empezó a ganarse de verdad mi simpatía, y en el tercero admiré su entereza. Sin embargo en el cuarto todo se va al traste, desde el momento en el que los prejuicios pueden con ella. Es comprensible sus reticencias para con la tribu, pues ella bien sabía que no podía confiar en ellos o en sus habilidades. Aunque tras quince años de paz en Los Tres Países, ya no fueran un problema. Pero con sus hijas no hay excusa. Ella que no soportaba la superioridad del hombre sobre la mujer, sucumbía a los prejuicios, tachando de antinatural a sus propias hijas.Pero con diferencia lo peor, es cómo lleva a Takeo hasta su final. Es comprensible que se sintiera dolida, pero quemar la casa de Shigeru, el suelo del ruiseñor, y a Chiyo con ella no tiene perdón, y menos entregar el pueblo a los soldados. Desde luego, si había alguien que merecía un final cruel era ella por su idiotez. Takeo sin embargo, se afianza como personaje, y es por eso que en todo momento se sabe cómo acabará. Sus debilidades eran su sentencia de muerte. La historia está llena de momentos épicos, y nostálgicos, la propia carta que escribe Makoto al final contando lo ocurrido es prueba de ello, está llena de significado. Siendo sincero, hubiese preferido que la historia acabara con el tercer libro. Ahora mismo el sabor que me deja "El Lamento de la Garza" es agridulce.

  • Walter Underwood
    2019-03-06 05:41

    I'll try do do this without spoilers, though the major flaws in this book are storytelling and plot.There were ominous overtones early on, so I decided I was OK if everything just fell apart, after all, that is how the Heiki Monogatari ends. I'm not saying it ends that way, but I was prepared.I was not prepared for it to be boring and confusing. People head out to various places for various reasons and if you don't already know where Hagi and Hofu are in relation to each other, too bad, because there is no map. I got pretty tired of getting a recitation about each entering character: parents, aunts, and uncles and who had killed whom.The oddest thing is how passive Takeo is throughout the book. He follows advice and occasionally paints birds. Things happen to him, he doesn't make things happen. He does initiate a couple of things at the end, one is a failure and one resolves some foreshadowing from the whole series. Other characters don't really do much either. Most of them have decided what they are going to do before the book starts, and then they do it. A couple of the women kinda go crazy, which seems terribly out of character for both of them, though at least they do something.Mostly, characters are moved around by the Will of Heaven, or perhaps the Hand of the Author. One character does take initiative and change things, and that is an animal. By the end of the book, I think I liked the horses better than any of the people.Unless you feel a real need to read this book, stop after the first three.

  • Colleen Stone
    2019-03-10 09:46

    This book is both brilliantly written and immensely frustrating. This is one of those books, especially if you have read the preceding trilogy, that will grip you like all properly crafted books will. The book draws you back into the feudal Japan inspired world of the Otori and crafts a thrilling tragedy. Minor spoilers below.While I personally find tragedies born from miscommunication trying (the desire to smack some of the characters with a rolled up newspaper for being thick was overwhelming) what really made me angry about the book was that it torn down much of growth and success of the characters from the first trilogy. Many of the triumphs of the previous books feel hollow, considering that they are negated/mitigated in the next novel. Happy endings aren't a necessity for me, but watching the characters I emotionally invested myself in for over three books all suffer great tragedy was unpleasant. Some of the decisions made by the characters also felt rather out of character to me- which made the book even more frustrating. (end of spoilers)I still love the series and the world Ms. Hearn created. The appropriation of Japanese culture to create a feudal world of fantasy was wonderfully done.

  • Fiona Van
    2019-02-21 08:47

    This is the fourth of a quartet of novels. It was designed originally as a trilogy - Across the Nightingale Floor, Grass for his Pillow and Brilliance of the Moon, all of which I read some years ago. The final story takes us to the death of the two main characters and the continuance of the Otori Clan, under the leadership of Takeo’s daughter Shigeko. The stories are part myth and mysticism and part ancient Japanese history. The hero Takeo is the illegitimate son of a warlord, brought up by his mother, who is one of the Hidden (a proscribed Christian sect) and inheritor of the skills of The Tribe, who are assassins for hire. It rattles along as a jolly good story, and is a crossover title, being published by Picador both for adults and for older children but it has an integral integrity which gains it a place in mainstream fiction. You come to care deeply for the fates of Takeo and his wife Kaede and the final book achieves a moving and emotionally truthful climax which is very satisfying.

  • oliviasbooks
    2019-03-04 07:01

    I will make an exception and leave this unfinished one (I had reached page 63) unrated. I have not been displeased with its entertainment value at all when I was reading its first chapters, but whenever I had a chance to pick it up and continue I decided to read something else each time. The hauntingly beautiful eyes on the cover have started to look at me with reproach and the battered second hand volume seems to pop up unexpectedly all over the place to remind me of my lack of discipline and stamina. My solution to end this phase of discomfort is making the book disappear from my view - both physically and virtually. Sayonara, Otori Clan. We'll meet in volume One again some other day.