Read Across the Nightingale Floor by Lian Hearn Online

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In his black-walled fortress at Inuyama, the warlord Iida Sadamu surveys his famous nightingale floor. Constructed with exquisite skill, it sings at the tread of each human foot. No assassin can cross it unheard.The youth Takeo has been brought up in a remote mountain village among the Hidden, a reclusive and spiritual people who have taught him only the ways of peace. ButIn his black-walled fortress at Inuyama, the warlord Iida Sadamu surveys his famous nightingale floor. Constructed with exquisite skill, it sings at the tread of each human foot. No assassin can cross it unheard.The youth Takeo has been brought up in a remote mountain village among the Hidden, a reclusive and spiritual people who have taught him only the ways of peace. But unbeknownst to him, his father was a celebrated assassin and a member of the Tribe, an ancient network of families with extraordinary, preternatural skills. When Takeo's village is pillaged, he is rescued and adopted by the mysterious Lord Otori Shigeru. Under the tutelage of Shigeru, he learns that he too possesses the skills of the Tribe. And, with this knowledge, he embarks on a journey that will lead him across the famed nightingale floor—and to his own unimaginable destiny......

Title : Across the Nightingale Floor
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781573223324
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 305 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Across the Nightingale Floor Reviews

  • Nicholas Armstrong
    2018-11-22 01:24

    Okay. I'll try to be as kind and heartfelt as possible. This book is insultingly bad. Normally a bad book is just that, but this book is actually infuriatingly bad.Firstly, it's a fantasy book set in feudal Japan. That's fine. I would think that it being set in Japan, Hearn would have learned anything about the place, but she apparently did not. This book is written as if Hearn simply googled Japan and then decided to write a book on it. I'll go down the list of failings.Religion Japan wasn't Christian. It persecuted Christianity in the same way that Rome did; it's teachings undermined the ruling order. But in Hearn's world everyone is predominantly Christian, or at least they worship a god an awful lot like the Christian god; like looking down on suicide, which was a part of the way of life in Japan. So, okay, Hearn didn't do that justice; base a book of a land and F up their religion, okay. But this is the least of her offenses.Language Other novels written about or in Japan (Shogun, to name one) have tried to successfully capture the way people spoke; saying one thing and meaning another. Hearn tries to do this... I think. It's hard to tell because it is so blunt but she implies that they are saying something else. I guess. Either way the dialogue is awful. There is a two-page dialogue about a characters past that is painfully bad. It isn't emotional, even the character seems to know this, and it isn't realistic. The conversations are flat and would fail if they were imitating normal conversation, in that they should be trying for feudal speech they fail astoundingly.Terrain/Geography/History This is pretty hard to F up but Hearn does it anyway. She apparently read somewhere that Japan gets a lot of earthquakes, so the characters experience them, constantly. This would be informative of the climate and area, but it isn't - it's irritating. All it does is randomly distract from the story. The characters are talking about something and then the author stops to make everything shake, then everyone has to acknowledge the quake, then we resume. Maybe that's real, but it's also retarded. Include the quakes in exposition, don't stop the story to put them in. Realism only goes so far in books. If we had to read every time a character took a piss it wouldn't be interesting either. Now there is the infamous battle of Yaegahara from her book... which is clearly just a ripoff of the real battle of Sekigahara. The infuriating thing is that she uses the feuds, anger, and tension that came from the battle of Sekigahara but apparently didn't want to learn anything about it. Yeah, spending an afternoon researching battles and actual lords would have been so tough. It's insulting to every reader that she would be so lazy as to simply slap a 'Yae' in front of gahara and imitate such an important battle. How about a Japanese person writes a story about America and they talk about the bombing of Mearl Harbor? Or the Bivil War? Gimme a break. If you don't put the time into the work you don't deserve to have the job. Nuff said.Culture I'll just sum up the undulating wave of crap that she wrote under this category as culture. Hearn mentions the tea ceremony and Sesshu to add some sense of where the crap we are, but fails in both. The tea ceremony is highly regarded and ceremonial. It is obvious to anyone that knows anything about it that Hearn has no clue about it. So she simply puts a few ideas in and then assumes job well done. Or not. She does the same with Sesshu, a feudal artist. She drops him in and then completely inaccurately describes his artwork. Secondly, the characters act in no way as they would befitting their setting. Evidently Hearn has no clue about the hierarchy in Japan or how much different it was there than most anywhere else. Peasants were dirt to samurai. Samurai were the dogs of their lords, or daimyo. Or not. Hearn has everyone acting as if they grew up during the 1960's in America and freedom of speech is going strong. People constantly belittle lords, sons of lords, and people of higher rank. Speaking of samurai - THEY ARE CALLED SAMURAI! Why is it Hearn refuses to use the proper names for half of the things she is writing about? She will use fief to describe a lords power despite the fact that the average reader has no idea what a fief is, yet she won't use words like samurai, ninja, ninpo, ninja-to, and ninjitsu even though it's what THE BOOK IS ABOUT. It's as if Hearn was struck by some bizarre fear of using the actual words for anything. Normally this would just irk me, but it is to the point where misunderstanding is common. For example: The wooden training sword is called a boken not a pole. Those are completely different things. Hearn's lack of ability to describe anything leaves the reader with only the words she gives them, so when she says 'two people fight with poles' that is what we see. If she actually meant everyone fights with poles then... ugh, she really would have no clue what she is talking about.Historical Fiction This is not. It is hardly set in Japan. It is set in a place where they use the names of people from Japan. That is about it. The rest of this is the same fantasy garbage that proliferates the genre. And really, if you are going to base a fantasy world off of Japan then it should be pretty similar to it, otherwise why do it? You just like everyone looking Asian?So, aside from the fact that Hearn fails terribly at representing the people she set out to, how's the rest of the book?The characters are weak with unoriginal histories that are not spiced up in the least bit. The love is 'at first sight' which is the trademark of lazy writing. Why bother having to develop feelings when you can just say it was at first sight? Gimme a break. The hero, despite being written in 1st person, is remarkably flat. The beginning has him discovering his destroyed village and yet he seems pretty unperturbed by it. Later he feels something. Sort of.So, crappy characters. What else? Oh, everyone knows things that would be impossible for them to know just to move the story along and build superficial tension. For example: How the hell does a monk living in a temple in the forest know that the main character has acute hearing? Another: How is it everyone and their mom knows the main character is part of some assassin tribe by looking at him? Was his dad Elvis Presley and he looks just like him? I'm pretty sure assassins thing is to be unseen, but I guess that wouldn't make things tense, right Hearn?The prose is weak and most of the story takes place in exposition. They traveled here, they did this, and we are witness to very few of the actual happenings. What results is nothing that anyone really cares about.The only thing that bothers me more about having actually read this book is that anyone thought it was well-written, and worse, that it was awarded with anything. This is an insult to literature and I have very little hope left if this is what most people find 'good'.

  • Χαρά Ζ.
    2018-12-10 23:40

    _Across the nightingale floor_So i decided to share my personal story with this book.. I was about 15-16 years old and a classmate, a good friend of mine had lent me this book. I read it, i loved it and then my brain completely erased all the data i had on the book. I mean, literally, i remembered nothing apart from liking it. Life happened and i forgot about it, but last year i was in a bookstore and i saw the second book of the series sitting on the self in front of me. The title is "Grass for his pillow". I stopped, stared at it and immediatly thought of the book that i have read years ago. I remembered how much i enjoyed it and i felt the urge to reread it. So i bought the whole series and the prequel and the sequel. And i am so glad i did. While reading it i had moments like being in a dream, a very distant and familiar dream of mine. The more i read the more i remembered and the more i remembered the more i was enjoying and loving it.This is a fantasy book set in medieval, feudal "Japan"(it is not Japan, but it definetely feels like it). The atmosphere is amazing, the writing is amazing (Lian Hearn uses both 1st and 3rd person narrative), great discriptions of the lands and great delineation of the characters. It is raw and brutal, but it is also very, very beautiful. This is a story about war, love, betrayal and revenge. I just loved this book for the second time.

  • colleen the convivial curmudgeon
    2018-12-12 21:27

    1 1/2In my review for Graceling I stated that I was a bit of a sucker for romance elements in action type stories. I have, in the past, admitted to, probably, over-rating certain books because the romance element gave me the warm-squishies, even though other aspects of the book were lacking or, at times, downright annoying. (See 'Fire Study'.)So it's a bit ironic that, for this book, I think the romance element between the two protagonists was the weakest aspect of the book. It was so eye-rollingly, groan-inducingly bad that I think the story would've been well-served if it was cut entirely. Or, if not cut, then handled better. Much better. Much, much, much better. (view spoiler)[I mean, it's worse than Romeo and Juliet, and, if you think about it, that's pretty bad. Their eyes meet, they're instantly deeply and desperately in love, to the point where they'd rather kill themselves than be without each other. (hide spoiler)] Yes, it really is that bad.Conversely, the romance aspect between two secondary characters was more touching, more realistic, and should've been developed a bit more.But, anyway, even before we got to the eye-rolls of the romance - and I mean this literally. I did actually roll my eyes several times - there were other issues.For one, I didn't really dig the narration. It felt simplistic and unengaging. There was a lot of "I was filled with grief, and I felt tears rolling down my face" type stuff - in other words, a lot of telling very little showing. Also, when the narration switches from the first-person perspective of the Takeo chapters to the third-person-limited of the Kaede chapters, there's not enough change of tone or style. You can tell it's the same writer writing both, and just substituting "I did"s for "she did"s. I would've appreciated a greater change in tone or texture, but, you know, any change would've been nice.Furthermore, I was really disappointed in the lack of cultural flavor. I know that this isn't a historical fantasy in the sense that it's set in a set time/place/culture, but it's clearly mimicking Japanese culture, but in such a half-assed way that half the time you feel like you could be reading a story set any where and when, and then when an element of Japanese culture is introduced it's often more jarring than anything. Especially because some of the elements didn't ring true. Granted, I'm not exactly an authority on Japanese culture, but some of it just didn't sit well - such as the slap-dash Tea Ceremony and the way that the bowing lacked hierarchy and protocol. (This was perhaps doubly jarring having read this shortly after Eon which, despite it's flaws, captures Asian culture more thoroughly, and weaves it throughout the story, instead of throwing random tidbits out, and Goodman seems to have done a good deal of research on hierarchial protocol, which Hearn seems to have glossed over entirely.)(Oh, yeah - and don't forget the random earthquakes, 'cause Japan has a lot of earthquakes, so we need to have a few randomly scattered throughout the story, even though they don't really serve a purpose or add to the storyline in any way...)But, that all said, it's not all bad. There are elements of the story which are good. I enjoyed watching Takeo grow as a character, his relationship with Shigeru, and developing his abilities that come from "the Tribe" (i.e. magical ninjas, because, as we all know, the ability to be a ninja is something which is passed on in the blood... Honestly, I prefer assassin type stories where it's a matter of training and honing ability, and less "you can go invisible 'cause you have magic blood", but, whatever.) And while certain things that happened didn't have near the emotional impact that they ought to have, and would have, I suspect, were the writing better, I still liked many of the elements of the story - the intrigue and double-talk (though, like Eon, the intrigue in this book suffers because you generally know which side everyone is on and there's never that guessing of "whose side is he really on?" and "what's her angle?" that a good book with well-written intrigue has).Um - where was I? Good things, right? I got side-tracked.Um - yeah... So.. It was a slow build, but the last quarter was pretty fast-paced, and if it weren't for the vomit-fest of the romance, it could've been a solid 3. (With the writing being what it was, I don't think it could've ever really managed more than that, though.)I mean, seriously. I wish I could convey just how terrible it was without being spoilery, but I can't, so allow me to rant behind tags: (view spoiler)[The whole "I just killed a man who tried to rape me" and "You just killed the man I came to kill, and my revenge is thwarted" and the "But we're alive and safe and we love each other (even though we've talked for, roughly, a whole 5 minutes), so let's have a 15 minute quickie while people are still fighting and the fucking castle is being burned down - and the effing corpse of the man you just killed is, like, right there!" and this after the Shigeru and Lady Whatsherface story is just poorly handled and buried... I mean... it was just awful, really. (hide spoiler)]

  • Mariel
    2018-11-27 02:17

    I was protesting the Chinese food place down the block today. It's ridiculous. None of their offered cuisine is truly Chinese. If I want to eat American I'll go to Pizza Hut, thank you very much. If that wasn't bad enough I later had lunch at the restaurant next door. They had these little cookies. If you break open the cookies there's a piece of paper that pops out with a message of something that might happen to you. This time I didn't eat the paper first and read what it said. "The Tales of the Otori books are set in an imaginary country in a feudal period. Neither the setting nor the period is intended to correspond to any true historical era, though echoes of many Japanese customs and traditions will be found, and the landscape and seasons are those of Japan...." Alternate reality and borrowing from life isn't anything new. Judging by other goodreads reviews it seemed to bug some readers quite a bit. One time I watched Darren Aronsky's The Fountain with an ex (a Spaniard) and he snottily asked me if I knew that none of the historical Spanish scenes really happened (I'll remember this when I've forgotten his name). C'mon, alternate history isn't new! I'm sorry, I can't focus on Star Wars because Yoda looks familiar. Where have I seen him before (this is going to bug me)? So, warning in fortune cookie book, I can handle it. If you don't overlap then you are living alone. Originality is valuable for the extra mile we can't walk alone.There's a bug infestation. Let me get that... Oops. I think I just changed history when I squashed that bug. It turns out that Tom Cruise was not the very last samurai after all. What harm could that have done? I'm sure it's all right. This is a fantasy novel from 2002. If it came out a little later it would have been published as a young adult novel (market trends and all that). There could be warnings about the odds of young adult fantasy novels being about a young hero who magically has all of the powers he's going to need inside of him? More annoyingly (to me), he also has all of the self righteous fuel he's going to need. One dead mama, coming up. Hey, I met these hot guys and they just gave me all my ideologies. Neat! I don't care if that '80s ya book ripped off the one child policy from China, if George Lucas liked Japanese films. Everything else with WWII. You can make a better dish out of the same recipe your grandma always used. But the odds are so very high it will taste much the same and I've had this meal before. I'm a little tired of it. I spit out honor. Where's the personal touch? The you that doesn't remind me of someone else (honor tastes like chicken). The other person in the same memory. What would you do today if you spent today alone? Set your story in any place you like. Please let me recognize your character from someone else.Across the Nightingale Floor is good when young Takeo interacts with people he meets, be it villagers or the lords he fears or respects, as if he's feeling out how to behave. Unfortunately, the first person leaves a lot of time for rhetoric as well as doing. The relationships he doesn't know how to already play as if he were Good Will Hunting in front of a chalk board staring down a hard math problem are good. Just live, don't think about the end game of power, please. Then the honor! Groans.People are kinda the same and different. Why can't worlds and lands be the same way? Kinda different and kinda the same. It's when you can't work with what you've got that I have a problem. Like if it is already finished (duh, the easy magic!). How about something alternative? Step on another bug (sorry, bugs. I swear that I try not to kill bugs). Change the course again. You can do it if you're writing your own story. Kaede, the female lead and different perspective was pretty good. Maybe doesn't step far enough out of kinda the same stories of female quasi leads in hero quest fantasies (you know, I'm a woman. I have to get married, I love that guy, I want to marry for love). She has potential to offer a life that's not handed on borrowed fine china because it's not magical egotism. At least she wanted someone to trust and the end result wasn't defeating something. There are two more books in the series. I'm probably not going to read them. Not unless I am hungry and don't know what else to read. The odds are better that I'll find something I couldn't have found on my own in someone else's day. P.s. Hearn should have kept her real name. Rubenstein! How about taking Lafcadio (where the Hearn comes from)? Lafcadio Rubenstein! Pen names are mightier than swords. That's not my fault. I became lame when I changed history.

  • Phrynne
    2018-11-27 19:34

    It deserves a whole star just for that amazing title! How could you not read a book called Across the Nightingale Floor? So the title was great, the cover was good but how was the story? Well it was pretty good. I enjoyed the Japanese feel to it although by the end I was a little tired of all the honour which obliged people to do anything other than what they wanted to. There were some good characters not all of whom made it to the end of the book! ( a lot of heads rolled). Altogether it was a good read although sadly not good enough to make me search out the sequel.

  • Chris
    2018-11-15 02:34

    This is a weird book for anyone who has more than a passing knowledge of Japan.The author is a great fan of Japan, its culture and its history. That's obvious just by looking at her name, Lian Hearn, which is a pseudonym. According to Wikipedia, it's a contraction of "heron," an important bird in the Tales of the Otori series, but it's also the surname of one of the most famous Western experts on Japan, Lafcadio Hearn. She's gone to great lengths to instill Japanese culture into every part of this book, from the names of people and places to social and political customs, even clothing and holidays. For all intents and purposes, this is a story about feudal Japan.Except it isn't.The Tales of the Otori takes place in a kind of alternate-universe Japan, a place where everything is the same except where it isn't. Once you get past that, the book becomes a lot of fun to read. And if you don't know much about the history and culture of Japan, that all shouldn't be a problem.It's the story of a boy from an isolated town, one of the Hidden - a small religious sect that faces political and religious ostracism (see Christians in the Edo Period) from an isolationist and power-hungry warlord (see Tokugawa Ieyasu). Young Tomasu is the only survivor of a raid by that warlord - his family, his friend and his people were burned to the ground and he only lived thanks to the appearance of the Lord of the Otori, Shigeru.Wracked with guilt over the death of his brother, Shigeru took Tomasu in as his son, renaming him Takeo. The boy found himself in a new land, with a new home... but that wasn't quite all. He soon discovered that he had a secret birthright, passed down through his father. Takeo was a member of The Tribe, a mysterious clan of spies and assassins who possessed near-mystical powers. They could move silently across nearly any floor, they could become invisible, or appear to be in two places at once. They were masters of the shadow and deliverers of death.See Ninja.It's a neat story, and the beginning of a series of books which are the author's first major foray into adult-ish fiction. It probably qualifies as Young Adult fiction, so if you're into that (as I know some of you are), it'll be a good read.Thanks to Mom for sending me this....

  • Rebecca
    2018-11-17 23:37

    I really enjoyed this one, and I regret avoiding it in bookstores for so long. It was an engaging read with a great Japan-inspired setting, and I liked the historical fiction plus fantasy elements feel to it. It has its flaws and things did bother me (particularly the insta-love) but I'm looking forward to reading the sequels. A few spoiler-ish/specific/random thoughts:(view spoiler)[- My favourite character was Shigeru. I liked him from the beginning and his character had a lot of potential. HAD. His death was very sad. :( - The insta-love was bad. Literally the second they saw each other they were like, I AM IN LOVE. It felt like Romeo and Juliet in a way, and there was even talk of them not living without each other... wait what? That escalated quickly. That and the whole having sex near a corpse. Their relationship isn't believable at all, and if it was a bigger part of the book I doubt I'd have rated it as highly as I did. It is interesting though to see their relationship as a parallel to Shigeru and Maruyama's. - I liked the writing, particularly the flow and how nice it was to read. The switch from third to first person with each chapter/perspective can be a bit jarring, but it surprisingly worked for me. - I wanted so much more from Kaede... At the beginning, I felt bad for her but it's sad to think that other than her killing Iida at the end all I associate with her is falling in love with Takeo and the whole feeling faint/ill a lot thing. I really hope Kaede gets more development in the next books. - I didn't care much for Maruyama either but I appreciated her influence. I did like Shizuka and Yuki though.- The last 50 pages or so seemed to happen so suddenly. I was beginning to wonder how things were going to spread over the series, and honestly I wasn't expecting Iida to be defeated so quickly. *Shrugs* Bring on the aftermath.- I really liked the platonic relationships: Shigeru and Takeo, Kaede and Shizuka, etc. I wanted more from them but still, I liked them. - Basically yay assassins and history and stuff! (hide spoiler)]Full/actual review coming soon... ish.Source: Publisher (Hachette Australia) - thank you!

  • Felicia
    2018-11-18 20:35

    This book was great, I would love to see it made into a movie. It was like reading the plot of a great Kung Fu movie, with a touch of "Memoirs of a Geisha" and some magic thrown in. I will eagerly read the next book.

  • StoryTellerShannon
    2018-12-05 20:21

    This is actually a fantasy novel, but, for marketing purposes it's being sold as fiction. Perhaps it's because the magical elements in this tale are very light and it focuses more on a Japan that never existed. Focus is on two character viewpoints only: a teenage boy in first person and a teenage girl in third person. The mix works and it's one of the first times I've seen such a viewpoint mix, though, I'm sure this author isn't the first to do it. The boy, Tomasau/Taeko, hops around with different names while he's trained by a SHOGUN style samurai in the use of weaponry but also in the use of his magical powers. These powers allow him to go invisible and create an illusionary double of himself . . . but only for short periods. He also has an uncanny hearing ability where he can walk into a house and exactly determine how many people are within. The girl, Kaede, is the political prisoner of another SHOGUN style family where she must suffer insults and pray that prosperity is returned to her family, who were on the losing side of a war. The boy's SHOGUN style savior/father figure is also from a losing side and he is playing a dangerous game: there are some within and outside of his family who want to see him dead. A more powerful SHOGUN style lord has invited him to come to his domain and marry Kaede. But it's all a setup, for they plan to murder him while he is there as well as several of his old supporters, including an old female flame. The boy, of course, is the one hope in saving not only his savior, but, also Kaede, who becomes his love interest by the end of the tale. Look for simple elegance in the writing style, straight forward SHOGUN style politics (though not nearly as complicated as SHOGUN), bloody combat and lots of water symbolism.

  • Janina
    2018-11-30 02:32

    Great epic/pseudo-historical fantasy with an amazing setting reminiscent of medieval Japan. This first installment of the Tales of thr Otori managed something epic fantasy rarely does for me: it captured me from the very first page. When you take a look at the plotline, Across the Nightingale Floor has all the ingredients of an average epic fantasy: We have the orphaned hero, who is rescued by a noble stranger and discovers he has special abilities. We have the heroine, who is a pawn in her father's political plays. We have a cruel ruler, intrigue, secret rebellions and forbidden love. Yet this book never felt average or even ordinary to me. Lian Hearn creates a fascinating atmosphere with her vivid descriptions of landscapes, cities and people. This may sound strange, but especially the weather circumstances felt very real to me. I as the reader suffered from the heat, humidity and rain together with the characters.And those characters were enthralling, never seemed flat and I would love to read more about them. But beware: Hearn definitely isn't scared of killing off favourites, so if you can't live with that, you probably should stay away from this novel ;). The only thing that irked me a little bit: The love at first sight moment between the hero and the heroine. I definitely would have liked to see some more development here, not just one moment of instant attraction. But I have to admit, it didn't annoy me as much as it would have in YA paranormal, for example. Somehow it fits more with this kind of story.

  • Carolin Wahl
    2018-11-24 01:36

    Lieblingsbuch.Es wird Zeit für einen Re-Read. Zehn Jahre, nachdem ich es das erste Mal gelesen habe.

  • Silver Thistle {adores JAFF & TEOTWAWKI.Oh, and accronyms :P}
    2018-12-07 18:25

    Across the nightingale floor was a little step away from my usual reading material but the rave reviews intrigued me so I gave it a shot. I rashly bought all 5 books in the series and now I'm doubting the wisdom of that.Just because it's aimed at a lower age group, doesn't mean it has to be childish but if I'm honest, I found it quite slow despite the killing and the violence and the love interest. The lead character finds he isn't the person he thought he was and discovers special talents he didn't know he had. He falls in love with a girl he shouldn't and loses most of what he holds dear.I'm not actually sure how I feel about the book. I liked it enough to get through it and I kept turning pages to see where it was going but I never really connected with the characters and I'm not left hungry to find out what happened next. Considering I've already spent money on the remaining books, I expect I'll get around to finding out eventually but I wouldn't bother if I hadn't already got them.It has a feel of feudal Japan to it and reminded me in parts of 'House of Flying daggers' (which is one of my favourite films), and that may be why I persevered with it.It's aimed at younger readers but has adult themes running though it and perhaps that's where my ambiguity is coming from....it's adult enough to make it enjoyable, but not enough to make it engrossing.I don't know. I'm torn.It's not a bad book though. Despite all the violence and killing, it's actually quite a gentle book and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it for younger readers.Think of it as a mashup of 'House of Flying daggers' and 'Crouching Tiger' but for a younger audience.

  • ♥Xeni♥
    2018-11-20 20:34

    It took me only about four hours to finish this book. I zoomed through it due to the gripping storyline and the vivid scenery and characters.In a land that is similar to feudal Japan, warlords are battling for power. Takeo is caught in between, inadvertently, when his village is destroyed by the evil Lord Iida and he is taken under Lord Otori Shigeru's wing. Not so surprisingly, Takeo has not manifested powers that come to light while living with Shigeru. While training these powers, he realizes their true purpose: death and assassination. Forced to reconcile his nature while also trying to protect his adoptive father from the political intrigues, Takeo has a few more burdens thrust upon him, one of which is first love. Kaede has been held hostage since the age of 8, and only suffered under it. Now she is to be married off to the Otori Lord as a political pawn. The Tribe, of whom Takeo is descended, also step in to claim back their heritage. Throughout this interwoven plot are a collection of smaller stories and side characters, which all coincide with the larger picture. What I liked most about this novel is that it was one of those rare YA books that don't feel like YA. The characters were realistic. The culture appealing and teaching in an unobtrusive way. And the plot flowed forward from the beginning, never really hitching or coming to a stop and never moving too fast to understand. The whole novel was a delight to read, and I will definitely continue on with the second in the series!

  • Alina
    2018-12-03 19:36

    A great series about ancient Japan with its samurais and their conduct codes, ninja-like fighters, Christians' persecutions; it has political scheming, interesting twists and turns, intriguing liaisons between characters, sword fights, love, treachery, friendship. The characters are well-developed, complex, with inner turmoil and weaknesses.The only thing that disappointed me was the romance element, exaggerated a tad too much in my opinion: when she first laid eyes on him, she started trembling, became feverish and knew she cannot live without him..“The less people think of you, the more they will reveal to you or in your presence.” “I believe the test of government is the contentment of the people.”

  • Paula
    2018-11-13 00:20

    I call Twilight on this one.Man, you can waste so many cool things just by adding magic into the story. It removes any sense of struggle, any effort on the part of the characters. Also, destiny is a dark and sometimes tragic thing, losing control over your own life - not just a way to get everything from life without having to earn it!The characters are flat, the language simplistic, the description basic and lackluster, the cultural coloring nothing beyond popculture crap, the plot contrived, the ending rushed, the motivations...I could go on and on. It basically reads like a bad RPG session of The Legend of the Five Rings.The first half: an incredibly long buildup with no sense of direction. Would be cool: the teenage protagonist, having witnessed the slaughtering of his entire village, goes mute. A psychologically powerful concept which makes Takeo interesting...if it weren't for the stupid-ass explanation later in the story: that it was just his magical ninja powers kicking in...The moment when it gets almost interesting: when all the characters finally meet. Unfortunately, there is no outcome, no conflict, no resolution whatsoever.The second half: virtually just 'ticking boxes'. They go from A to B, killing X and Y, and so on, and so forth.Would be cool: the romance between two secondary characters. They are mature, they are in danger, they both have duties to fulfill, they plan ambitiously to get out of the trouble... Unfortunately, both die offscreen for stupid reasons, like any Star Trek redshirts. The ending: just awful. Gave me nightmares.Stay away from this book. It will give you brain damage.

  • Martini
    2018-12-03 02:36

    Interesting setting in a (fantastical) Japan. Enjoyable story and characters. I especially liked that Kaede, the female protagonist, was not simply a damsel in distress. But I could have done without the instalove.

  • Vaso
    2018-12-12 18:27

    Ένας εντελώς διαφορετικός κόσμος..... Πολύ ωραίο....

  • Catherine
    2018-11-17 21:35

    I'm really conflicted about what to grade this book. I enjoyed it, but it was really depressing. When I closed the book all I felt was the futility of these people trying to make their own decisions. Someone is always there to take away their choice in one way or another.Takeo, who is the main character, was an interesting person to follow. He seems strong in the sense that he is able to adapt to any new situation and still retain the core of who he is. But, he also seems weak because he lets himself be taken by these different groups who don't really value him. They just seem to value the services he can provide. It's hard to blame him for that weakness though, because it seems like there's no way to escape these groups who want him. I'm very torn over my attitude toward him.It was hard at first to get into this book. I have a difficult time being immersed in a storyline when I constantly feel that I'm being told the story. It was like Takeo was an old man at the time and was reciting his coming of age story. Entertaining, yes, but also very distancing.I really liked the fact that there were so many side characters. Even if they didn't play a big part it was nice to see them as part of the atmosphere. A lot of books have a bad habit of making their characters seem like they live in a vacuum. I'm pleased that wasn't the case here.I felt so bad for the women in this world. They seemed to never win. They were hostages and pawns and controlled at all turns. Even women with control over their property were in a very precarious position. It was a little disheartening.Even though I did feel distanced from the story it succeeded in making me root for characters. When that situation with Kenji pops up toward the end I was absurdly angry on Takeo's behalf. If I could have reached through the book and stabbed him in the eye I would have. I was also rooting for Takeo and Kaede. I wish there was a simple solution for them.I guess that's why the book was so depressing. I got attached to the main characters and couldn't help but feel for their plights. Whether that was sympathy, concern, or anger depended on which point I was at in the story.Overall I enjoyed it, so I guess I'll have to give it four stars.Thanks for the rec new_user!

  • KatHooper
    2018-12-12 02:24

    Across the Nightingale Floor has a beautiful, concise writing style, good characterization, fast pace, and interesting plot. It's main weakness is the ridiculousness of the love-at-first-sight. It makes the characters seem a bit shallow.Warning about the audiobook: I listened to this book on CD. There are two readers — a man for the voice of Takeo, and a woman for the voice of Kaede. The man is an excellent reader with a lovely voice (he's got the oriental speech sounds just right). I think his reading made me sympathize with Takeo more than I would have if I had read the book in print format. But the female reader was terrible — she speaks slowly and too distinctly, as if she's reading to kindergartners. This was extremely annoying! Fortunately, most of the book is written with Takeo's narration, so her reading didn't ruin it for me. Also, I think, as an American reader, I might have benefited from actually seeing the oriental names, rather than only hearing them. It took me a while to distinguish between some of the names because they were all unfamiliar to me and ... (sorry) they all sounded too similar at first. If you're planning to read this series, read it in print, not by audio.Read more Lian Hearn book reviews at Fantasy literature.

  • Karolina Kat
    2018-12-02 23:29

    The worst issue of this book is a promise of great historical fiction setting, that turns out to be a fantasy one, loosely inspired by the Japanese culture. Another thing is the choice of protagonist and main plot - the first one is a typical cliché (teenager who turns out be the most important in the entire world, who holds immense powers), the latter - a quite predictable story of vengeance and rather cringing romance.It could still be an ok adventure story but there is just one more unbearable thing - the language, which was forced and aspired to be the characteristic, ethereal Japanese narration, but resulted in being a comical one.

  • Margaret
    2018-11-21 19:31

    When I finished Lian Hearn's Tales of the Otori series (of which this is the first), I felt as though I'd been eating Hershey's chocolate when I expected Valrhona (or at least Lindt). These much-heralded books are set in a fantasy version of medieval Japan, and on the face of it, the story is promising: Takeo is the lone survivor of the massacre of his village by an evil overlord. He is rescued by the mysterious Lord Otori Shigeru, who adopts Takeo and brings him into his plans to overthrow the lord who destroyed Takeo's village, and Takeo discovers that he has supernatural talents which tie him to a guild of assassins and spies.The elements of the plot are fairly standard -- orphaned hero, mysterious rescuer, hidden talents, love at first sight (with the heroine, Shirakawa Kaede), an evil overlord to conquer, prophecies which must be fulfilled -- but Hearn weaves them together in a way that could well be interesting to read. The problem is that her storytelling is distant and flat, which gave me little emotional connection to the characters and thus less interest in the outcome of the story. Hearn seems to be striving for an elegant, spare style like that of a Japanese screen or garden, but what she misses are the details: colors, flavors, tactile sensations. Fight scenes are over in a few sentences; journeys are pared down to a couple of paragraphs.The second and third books improved in this respect, but they remained curiously unengaging, perhaps partly because Hearn missed her opportunity to hook me in the first book. I thought the story was interesting, I liked many of the characters, I really wanted to like the books more, but I couldn't cross the distance created by the style to become really absorbed in them.

  • Jessie(Ageless Pages Reviews)
    2018-11-28 01:35

    Quick thoughts:-stilted dialogue and flat characters dominate the book-the pseudo-Japanese aspects feel more like lazy research and lack of care especially when... -the narrative misuses the importance and meaning of the tea service, the bowing/social hierarchy that shaped Japan, etc.-the insertion of Christianity into even a faux-version Japan is not awesome or accurate-awkward tense shifts from third to first for different narrators -the narrators each sound exactly the same-ridiculous case of "eyes meet and love blooms passionately" instaloveThis book had promise but squandered nearly all of it. Kaede is wasted here. Takeo is flat and boring; their instalove is unnecessary and unbelievable. I am beyond disappointed in a series that I had been looking forward to reading. This was not a good book for me.

  • Vicky Ziliaskopoulou
    2018-12-12 21:35

    Φαντάζομαι αν ήμουν νεότερη (έφηβη) μπορεί να μου άρεσε. Ήταν μια καλή ιστορία που μιλούσε για την αφοσίωση και θα μπορούσα να πω την αγάπη και το μίσος, τον πόλεμο και τον έρωτα. Ένα παραμυθάκι που ήταν γεμάτο με μαγεία και άτομα με εξαιρετικές ικανότητες. Το πρόβλημα είναι ότι για να μου αρέσει ένα βιβλίο πρέπει να μην υστερεί στις περιγραφές και αυτό είχε σοβαρές ελλείψεις. Δεν μπόρεσα να κάνω εικόνα κανέναν από τους πρωταγωνιστές, μόνο ότι ο ένας ήταν ψηλός, ένας άλλος είχε ωραίο χαμόγελο και η άλλη (επίτηδες δεν βάζω ονόματα) ήταν πολύ όμορφη. Τί φορούσαν; Πώς χτενιζόταν; Πώς ήταν τα όπλα τους; Τα τοπία; Τα κάστρα και τα σπίτια που ζούσανε πώς ήταν; Οι φωνές τους; Τέλος πάντων, ειλικρινά πιστεύω ότι σε εφήβους θα αρέσει, εγώ μάλλον παραμεγάλωσα για αυτό.

  • StoryTellerShannon
    2018-11-23 01:30

    This is actually a fantasy novel, but, for marketing purposes it's being sold as fiction. Perhaps it's because the magical elements in this tale are very light and it focuses more on a Japan that never existed. Focus is on two character viewpoints only: a teenage boy in first person and a teenage girl in third person. The mix works and it's one of the first times I've seen such a viewpoint mix, though, I'm sure this author isn't the first to do it. The boy, Tomasau/Taeko, hops around with different names while he's trained by a SHOGUN style samurai in the use of weaponry but also in the use of his magical powers. These powers allow him to go invisible and create an illusionary double of himself . . . but only for short periods. He also has an uncanny hearing ability where he can walk into a house and exactly determine how many people are within. The girl, Kaede, is the political prisoner of another SHOGUN style family where she must suffer insults and pray that prosperity is returned to her family, who were on the losing side of a war. The boy's SHOGUN style savior/father figure is also from a losing side and he is playing a dangerous game: there are some within and outside of his family who want to see him dead. A more powerful SHOGUN style lord has invited him to come to his domain and marry Kaede. But it's all a setup, for they plan to murder him while he is there as well as several of his old supporters, including an old female flame. The boy, of course, is the one hope in saving not only his savior, but, also Kaede, who becomes his love interest by the end of the tale. Look for simple elegance in the writing style, straight forward SHOGUN style politics (though not nearly as complicated as SHOGUN), bloody combat and lots of water symbolism.

  • Doreen
    2018-11-29 22:37

    Very fast read, in part because it was so utterly gripping (I nearly missed my bus stop because of it, then accidentally whapped the guy sitting across the way from me with my cello case in my hurry to get out.) Everything is beautifully detailed, and for this Legend of the Five Rings fan, it was an excellent addition to the mystical samurai sub-genre. My only quibbles were with the shifting narrative, which is fine if you keep it all from the same kind of viewpoint (e.g. consistently third-person as in Martin's Game of Thrones series) but switching back and forth from 1st to 3rd as done in this book was just distracting. Also the relationship w Makoto at the end seemed to come out of nowhere, though I'll admit that sometimes relationships just do. Otherwise, I quite look forward to reading the rest of the series, though I'm in no tearing rush to find them. Also, I'm quite a fan of some of the author's non-pseudonymous work.Now having read some of the negative reviews on the site, I'm a little appalled by how people are freaking out about how Ms Hearn isn't properly 'dignifying' Japanese culture (and usually, so far as I can tell, these people aren't all that familiar with the culture to begin with.) The book, like a lot of manga, doesn't pretend to be realistic, so the high level of dudgeon directed towards it on that account is certainly unwarranted.

  • Allison (The Allure of Books)
    2018-11-28 18:17

    Right from the beginning, this book will grab you. The characters and setting are so exotic and enticing...you will first want to be there, and then, as you read, start to feel that you are.I was so caught up in the fantastic descriptions and places that I wasn't even thinking as much about the plot! There were a couple of twists and turns that left me gasping in disbelief. A magnificent story in every aspect, can't wait to read the rest!

  • Michelle, the Bookshelf StalkerQueen of the Undead
    2018-11-28 00:35

    This wasn't bad at all. I think I want to read book 2. I had a few issues with it but I think it had to do with my own ethnocentric views about the culture. I totally get the entire loyalty thing, the submissive nature between servant (which is everyone but the lords) and the Lords, and the whole clan/tribe thing but I still felt weird about it. I needed more resolution in the end, I don't know. Still thinking about this...excuse the rant.

  • Literary Ames {Against GR Censorship}
    2018-11-23 02:18

    Assassins are cool. Super powers, who wouldn't want some? That this is set outside the US and the UK, a huge plus. So what went wrong?Early on I assumedAcross the Nightingale Floor had been translated due to inconsistent, simple and superficial language. And I wasn't alone in my thinking. However, a quick search revealed the author to have been born and raised a few miles from where I live in England. Very little emotion is shown by Takeo, our hero, despite what should've been some harrowing scenes in the beginning in which he lost his entire family in the massacre of his village, witnessed by him. Balancing 'show' and 'tell' is a common problem and unfortunately there's far too much 'tell' than there really should be. Long conversations, flimsy explanations and detailed summaries are shortcuts used here contributing to a severe lack of depth concerning Takeo's character and a level of unreadability to his chapters as I was unable to connect or sympathise with him.On the other hand, Kaede, our heroine, manages to engender sympathy for her plight right away. Her chapters were noticeably different in quality, contained more action and the feminist-themed commentary was intriguing. "Even beauty is dangerous for a woman. Better not to be desired by men." Again and again this is proved in this patriarchal, feudal Japan. Including superstitious nonsense regarding the powers of women cursing men just by being arbitrarily associated with them. If a man happens to die at the hands of the woman he tried to rape it's the would-be rapist's fault, not the woman's. That's the social norm of the time period this is set it.Kaede's insta-love at first sight towards Takeo and its reciprocation turned me off for it's commonality and overuse amongst young adult novels but THT suggested it could be taken as "fated to be mated". I think, in the end, it was a mixture of both. Their relationship was engineered to be Shigeru and Maruyama's history repeating itself, an ill-fated one where being together would mean death. Our hope this second time around is that they'll finally be reunited and gain a happy-ever-after. For me, this isn't something I like, this repetition in the vain hope all will work out in spite of history attesting to that fact it most likely will not. I can see the poetic beauty and note the tragic Shakespearean nature of these circumstances, though I can't appreciate them here, not with this writing. And certainly not when it looks like the other books will draw out the angst-ridden will-they-or-won't-they. No, thank you.Hearn gives away her ending early on via heavy foreshadowing. Predictablity isn't something I'm a fan of, although I am grateful the author didn't go full Romeo and Juliet on her characters, close call though it was. I'm also glad the issue of sex wasn't glossed over or ignored. Sex was heard, had with prostitutes, and had next to a rapidly cooling corpse in what must've been a blood-spattered room and clothing. Sexy.Usually I'm an ardent lover of politics and dastardly machinations, I wasn't in this case. I had zero invested in the plot and no side ever revealed itself to be a favorable one to champion. Takeo, Shigeru, Iida, Kenji and the Tribe. I hoped for nothing. No, I tell a lie. I hoped they'd all die quickly so I could finish the damn book and move on. As super secrets assassins go I wasn't terribly impressed with the Tribe. Like everyone else they had an agenda, not one I could get behind, and possessed no members I could warm to. They were petty and patronising with no respect for free will, what's to like about that? Their skills were only mildly paranormal, mostly standard stuff to use to fight, escape and evade: enhanced strength and hearing, fast reflexes, creating temporary shadow doppelgangers to distract, and hypnotic gazes that can send you to sleep. Out of all the assassin scenes Takeo's acts of mercy were the ones to make a good impression on me and a bad one on Kenji, Takeo's teacher:"It's that softness he has," Kenji said. "It drives him to act from compassion, even when he kills."Villain, Iida, is defeated unbelievably fast and easy. You could argue a stroke of luck, a fortuitous accident, if you will. Not in my eyes. Iida lost his credibility as a convincing foe in the moment he was beaten. For someone so completely paranoid and obsessed about security he underestimated his opponents and ignored possible threats, not just the one that brought him down either.I understand what the author was trying to achieve with Across the Nightingale Floor and no doubt it would make for a beautiful, graceful yet tragic movie. As a book, it failed to seduce me. Reading shouldn't be hard work. Just skimming I struggled to stop my eyes from glazing over in utter boredom until the last 20% when the pace picks up. I couldn't, in good conscience, recommend this to anyone.*Read-along with The Holy Terror and Cillian.

  • Jonathan Terrington
    2018-11-21 00:14

    Across the Nightingale Floor by Lian Hearn had been sitting on my to read shelf for a little over a year. Having finally succumbed and read the book I was not let down by the superb storytelling on offer. The world is familiar and yet at the same time distant, the characters are beautifully rendered with palpable emotion and the tale is intriguing. In fact many of my favorite elements in any story were present. In many ways this truly imaginative piece, set in a forged world serves to underline why I love fantasy novels to such a great extent: because through their enigmatic, familiar yet separate worlds they reveal truths about our own world while still escaping the bounds of normality. The tale focuses on two separate points of view: that of Kaede and that of Takeo. Kaede's point of view is narrated in third person while Takeo's was revealed in first person allowing for two interesting perspectives. Takeo becomes a master assassin, learning to control his mysterious powers, while separately Kaede struggles with an unwanted approaching marriage and with a reputation for killing all the men she's engaged with in any way. This is an active and well paced novel, clearly written with passion. I believe that when authors write their best the passion and enthusiasm should be visible within their words despite any flaws and it is clear here that Lian Hearn was engaged in building her world. A world which it was a wonder to enter and explore.However that said there were some elements of the plot which fell a little flat. At times the explanation lacked a little. I would personally have enjoyed it more if Hearn took more time to explain the nature of Takeo's mysterious powers rather than simply stating he could appear invisible or create a fake image of himself. Also the romance between Takeo and Kaede seemed underdeveloped and unrealistic. Which was a pity considering that the two separate characters had been framed with care and dedication. Still this was an incredibly easy read, lacking in deep philosophical or psychological meditations perhaps but still truly exploring the real reason for novels existing: to tell stories. And the story contained within Across the Nightingale Floor is one of wonder, intrigue and excitement. I will definitely continue on to explore the next book in this series and I hope to find it as compelling as the first. For Lian Hearn has written a novel that captures why authors write, to tell the story in their soul through another person's eyes. A story that engages and amazed this reader. I fully recommend this.

  • Fran
    2018-11-27 21:42

    A beautiful story...Dimana takeo bertemu dengan lord otori (shigeru), diangkat anak dan bagaimana takeo yang ternyata merupakan keturunan kikuta memiliki kemampuan untuk membalaskan dendam lord otori shigeru dengan membunuh lord iida... Ceritanya bagus menarik banget, dulu sampai ga sabar nunggu buku keduanya,, takeo jadi kayak kebagi antara dia seorang bangsawan pewaris shigeru dan seorang kikuta. Dan takeo jatuh cinta sama kaede gadis bangsawan yang cantik banget yang dijodohin sama lord shigeru (ayah angkat takeo). Paling suka waktu bagian takeo nyusup masuk ke benteng iida untuk ngebebasin shigeru, keren banget...