Top positive review
Compelling, fantasy that stands the test of time...
Reviewed in Australia on 1 January 2018
It is a number of years since I read the "Tales of the Otori" series and as it was a kindle daily deal and I wanted the kindle version for my library as my paperbacks go walk about a lot... I bought it. However once I started reading it, I couldn’t put it down again as it was just as Excellent as I had remembered it.
‘Across the Nightingale Floor’, (Tales of the Otori - Book 1) brings the reader into a truly unique fantasy world, entering the feudal world of the Otori. It’s filled with magic, treachery and intrigue - inspired by medieval Japan and created by Australian author, Lian Hearn. Unlike most fantasy stories however neither dragons nor magic play a role. There are warriors like samurai and assassins like ninja's called the Tribe but there are groups of people that are entirely fictional like the Hidden who have very controversial religious beliefs that result in them being disliked.
In one of the Hidden villages called Mino we meet the main character Tomasu who is a young and adventuress boy who likes to explore the forest and it is this habit that saves his life when his village is attacked by the most powerful man in the Three Countries - Ida. Tomasu bumps into a man named Shigeru Otori who saves his life. From that point onwards his life changes forever and his name is replaced with Takeo Otori to prevent him from being discovered as one of the hidden.
Takeo has modest and quiet abilities that separate him from others around him although Takeo has learned only the ways of peace he possess deadly skills & supernatural powers. He has inherited these skills from his deceased father which allows him to go invisible, have sharp hearing, make a double of himself to distract opponents and put people to sleep with a few seconds of staring. Woven into the story is love through his meeting of the beautiful Kaede ... which makes things very complicated.
This book is classed as a cross over from Young Adult to Adult and due to its sexual content and occasional language and intricate plot I would say 15+years and above would be transported by it.
Overall, this is an intelligent book with war and romance at its centre along with characters that draw you even deeper into the story. Once you work out who the various, yet similarly named characters are it is an incredibly compelling story, well structured but with twists that take you by surprise. Once you start you’ll want to read the entire series (at least once!)