Customer Reviews for

Across the Nightingale Floor: Tales of the Otori Book One

Average Rating 4.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

An Excellent Series

The Tales of the Otori series is an outstanding blend of action, drama, forbidden love, and stirring fantasy. To see the gifted Takeo rise to his destiny throughout these stories has been the equivalent of being there alongside him. Lian Hearn masterfully weaves togethe...
The Tales of the Otori series is an outstanding blend of action, drama, forbidden love, and stirring fantasy. To see the gifted Takeo rise to his destiny throughout these stories has been the equivalent of being there alongside him. Lian Hearn masterfully weaves together a story of a hero with exceptional abilities that is attempting to discover his own destiny rather than succumb to those being thrust upon him by Secret societies and Powerful warlords. Within the story is also the forbidden love of the Princess Kaede and Takeo as they both endure so much in their hope of being together. This intriguing story, set in the ancient beauty of the east, has easily won my praise and it will always remain to be one of the greatest series' I've ever read.

posted by Hiddenmastermind on December 26, 2008

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

Not so great

I was talking with a friend at my dojo about books and he recommended this one. I thought, 'Cool! Samurai, ninja, feudal Japan, I'll love it.' Turns out, I didn't really like it. About half-way through, I stopped caring about the characters, the story, and Hearn's fake ...
I was talking with a friend at my dojo about books and he recommended this one. I thought, 'Cool! Samurai, ninja, feudal Japan, I'll love it.' Turns out, I didn't really like it. About half-way through, I stopped caring about the characters, the story, and Hearn's fake Japan. There is so much rich history and potential for storytelling in the real historical Japan, I can only assume that he didn't want to make the effort of researching it. If you want to read about samurai, ninjas, and learn something about Japan (and good writing), then pick up Cloud of Sparrows by Takashi Matsuoka. You won't be able to put it down.

posted by Anonymous on July 2, 2006

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  • Posted November 10, 2009

    Vidid Without Being overly Anime

    The swords and special abilities were NOT the dominating elements of the story.
    Characters were fleshed out to the point where i had no lingering questions about them at the end of the tale.
    The story was compelling! I was zipping through the descriptions of places trying to hurry and get to "the good stuff" ha ha ha! Had to slow down a bit because at times i thought i should envision what the author was crafting. Especially in this book we are often in the same shoes as the main character regarding parts of the environment that he cannot see.

    I IMMEDIATELY bought book number 2 (which sadly is not available through B&N as an eBook - ludicrous!).

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 26, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    An Excellent Series

    The Tales of the Otori series is an outstanding blend of action, drama, forbidden love, and stirring fantasy. To see the gifted Takeo rise to his destiny throughout these stories has been the equivalent of being there alongside him. Lian Hearn masterfully weaves together a story of a hero with exceptional abilities that is attempting to discover his own destiny rather than succumb to those being thrust upon him by Secret societies and Powerful warlords. Within the story is also the forbidden love of the Princess Kaede and Takeo as they both endure so much in their hope of being together. This intriguing story, set in the ancient beauty of the east, has easily won my praise and it will always remain to be one of the greatest series' I've ever read.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 23, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    An excellent Japanese fantasy for Westerners

    Over the years, the legend "A New York Times notable book" on the cover of any book has guaranteed a small but devoted following. "Across the Nightingale Floor" is the first fantasy of any kind I can remember since the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy that deserves that label, although I don't think the Times had developed such a list in Tolkien's era. <BR/><BR/>In an author's note prefacing this book, Lian Hearn explicitly states that this story is set in "an imaginary country". If it isn't feudal Japan, it's the closest thing possible, and despite the indication in the author's note I prefer to assume that it is Japan. <BR/><BR/>The story reminds me in some ways of the plots and themes of some of Kurosawa's films. The main plot and the various sub-plots are far too involved to go into here. Suffice it to say that this is a book that is well worth your time if you are a lover of fantasy or of things Oriental, and if this is any indication of Hearn's talent I look forward to the next book in the series. <BR/><BR/>There does seem to be a mystery of sorts surrounding the author. I went to the websites mentioned in the book (http://www.theotori.com and http://www.talesoftheotori.com), and what little those sites told about the author has me very intrigued. I'm not even sure whether Hearn is a man or a woman, but I do know that s/he has a great deal of talent. Hopefully this is not the last I will hear about the Otori.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2006

    Not so great

    I was talking with a friend at my dojo about books and he recommended this one. I thought, 'Cool! Samurai, ninja, feudal Japan, I'll love it.' Turns out, I didn't really like it. About half-way through, I stopped caring about the characters, the story, and Hearn's fake Japan. There is so much rich history and potential for storytelling in the real historical Japan, I can only assume that he didn't want to make the effort of researching it. If you want to read about samurai, ninjas, and learn something about Japan (and good writing), then pick up Cloud of Sparrows by Takashi Matsuoka. You won't be able to put it down.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2006

    Really Fun Read

    I just loved reading this book, which I did in a day. It is excellent fantasy. I just wish I came accross series like this more often.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 5, 2005

    Amazing!

    Its one of those books that just suck you in. I would reccomend this book to anyone, young or old. I bought book 2 half way through reading Across The Nightingale Floor. This book has everything!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 5, 2005

    Fantastic Storytelling

    This book is the perfect beginning to an epic trilogy. Hearn manages to create powerful imagery that revives the strongest elements that the average person knows of fuedal Japan, and puts a unique twist on them. Filled with characters filling the classes of peasants, Samurai, Geisha's and Ninja, there is excitement throughout the entire book. The strongest book in the series, it will not disappoint.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 18, 2004

    They way a book should be written

    This book has it all; suspense, action, love, drama, intrigue, deception. I loved this book. I would recommend this to everyone, men and women, young and old. It's not just a chick-flick type book or a summer or beach read. I will let my son read it when he gets a little older, he's 12 now so in a year or two.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2004

    Intrigue, Love, Death, Supernatural Powers

    I picked this book up in the bargain bin as well and bought it because the jacket has a quote that compelled me, 'just as the river is always at the door, so is the world always outside'. This is an excellent book. It is written beautifully but the language isn't too elaborate that it becomes cumbersome or difficult to read. I would recommend this book to both male and female readers. I can't wait to read the rest of the series.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 18, 2003

    Light on the Fantasy part, but an excellent story.

    What a great book! I'm so pleased to have discovered a new Sci-Fi Fantasy author. If you're into the heavy version of the Fantasy genre, this book may not be for you, as there's not a lot of fantasy, but there's enough that it can't be classified as just fiction. I'd say it's rather like a King Arthur novel in that sense. The story is set in feudal Japan, but there's not much historical background in the book. There really doesn't need to be, as the story could have been set in feudal anywhere, but some of the details work best in Japan (such as the Nightingale Floor). Our hero, Takeo, is found living quietly in a remote mountain village. After the villagers are massacred by Lord Iida`s men, Takeo (Tomasu at this point) meets up with Shigeru, Lord of the Otori clan. Takeo goes to live with Shigeru, takes lessons in many subjects (including writing, art and swordplay among other things), learns of his true background and the abilities he has because of his background, and is eventually adopted by Shigeru as his heir. In the meantime, a lovely young woman named Kaede is being held by Lord Noguchi as a hostage. She is being treated badly, even though she is nobility. Noguchi is allied with Lord Iida, the most evil guy around. Eventually, Noguchi decides that Kaede would be most useful as a pawn and she is betrothed to Shigeru. Sadly, Shigeru is in love with Lady Maruyama. It¿s a nice underlying love story to go with the adventure. Takeo, it turns out, is a member of the Tribe. The Tribe has magical abilities that are passed on genetically. Takeo¿s father was of the Tribe. In Takeo, the powers are strong (Does this surprise anyone? If they were weak, we probably wouldn¿t have much of a story¿Luke I am your Father¿but I digress). The Tribe¿s abilities include super hearing, invisibility, and splitting into two, among other things. Everyone in the story seems to feel that all the world¿s problems would be solved if only Lord Iida were dead. Trouble is that he¿s quite powerful and pretty paranoid. He¿s had a Nightingale Floor built in his quarters. The floor has been built to be extra squeaky, so that no one can walk across it without making noise. But, perhaps Takeo, with his magical abilities can take care of this for us¿ All in all, I enjoyed this book and am looking forward to the two sequels.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2003

    Excellent idea but....

    Ok first off i am gonna say that i did enjoy this book though it was an excellent plot and good use of characters but i thought the book should of been longer. I would of liked for them to of gone into more detail of his training, the political game that was being played, and even somef the story told from Arai's, Lord Otori's, and Iida's point of view. I guess I just didn't think it was complex enough but that is to to say I didn't enjoy!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2012

    This book is amazing!

    This book is the kind of book that you cant put down

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 8, 2012

    Wow!

    I couldn't put it down I loved itso much. I definatley recomend this book to anyone that loves great characters, amazing storylines, and characters you wish you could drag from the book and hit yourself!!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2012

    Its a Great Series. But.

    I would not pay the 12.99 it took to get it. I paid 13.99 for Inheritance, when it first came out. Which contains nearly 700 pages. This book only contained 227. Not worth the 12.99, that I could have spent something else. Sorry.

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  • Posted August 8, 2011

    Love it

    Just enough romance, action, philosophy,and japanses culture! A must read!!

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  • Posted March 20, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A book to fall in love with

    The Nightingale Floor
    A book to fall in love with. Kateo travels to the capital with Shigeru, knowing they could be both going to their deaths. Loyalties, allegiances and loves all change destiny's in this book. Shigeru is murdered and his wife to be believed to be cursed. Shigeru's true love takes her own life and the lives of her children, while Kateo and Kaede are able to finally reveal their depths for each other only to be torn apart again. The characters are beautifully developed and the scenes come alive with each turn of the page. This should be the second book in the series, can't wait to read the rest. A

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  • Posted March 19, 2011

    A great Japanese story

    I stumbled across book 5 in the discount section of my local BN and found the story a wonderful blend of fiction wrapped with a factual representation of early Japanese society.

    The book's main characters are credible, dynamic, and engaging. The story has a complex message of honor and righteousness with espionage, intrigue, and sinister planning. I found the ending of this book shocking and very much disappointing as the characters futures (positioned nicely for book 2 which I downloaded already) traveling in directions I myself didn't want them to go.

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  • Posted February 23, 2011

    An Interesting Perspective of an Eastern World

    Across the Nightingale Floor has a strong start, as we see Takeo's world fall to pieces and all that he knew vanish at the swipe of a sword. The actions of Lord Shigeru and the merciless Iida propels Takeo on a journey among rivaling clans. At the same time of these events, readers are also introduced to Kaede. A fifteen year old girl of nobility, that is being held hostage as a pawn in a large political fight over a clan alliance. Through the guiding force of fate, these two eventually cross paths. The end result makes for an interesting novel. The setting is loosely based off of feudal Japan which provides western readers an interesting insight to asian customs and culture. The author (Lian Hearn) spares no expense in her endeavor to create a realistic feel to the novel. Even the names in this novel have asian influences. As a result this book would not be recommended for people that forget or lose track of what name matches up with the character; as there are many similar looking names in the novel. Hearn's presentation of asian culture is refreshing and adds a certain foreign appeal to the novel as a whole. From reading, one can see that attention to detail not only assists the characters in the novel, but can also be applied to their own lives for their benefit. In all Hearn has created a riveting novel which can be added to her collection of four other works such as Grass for His Pillow.

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  • Posted March 30, 2009

    Opening To a Captivating World!

    This book was amazing. It was the second time that I read it and I was still shocked by the plot!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 22, 2008

    A reviewer

    This was a great fantasy book that blurs the line separating reality from great fiction in a way that reminded me of martial arts films: very fantastical, very action-oriented. Like most good fantasy and sci fi books it is a coming of age story and the character really develops. It is not historically accurate, but develops some themes I have encountered in other Japanese movies and books in an unusual way. I ordered the first book in the series online and had to order the others after I finished this one--I could barely wait for the others to arrive. I am trying to read the series for the third time but I have recently moved and misplaced this first one!

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