Across the Nightingale Floor: Sword of the Warrior

October 5, 2017 at 6:00 pm (Reads) (, , )

swordAcross the Nightingale Floor: Sword of the Warrior by Lian Hearn

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The first three books in the Tales of the Otori series were published in two parts. The Sword of the Warrior is the first part of the first book, Across the Nightingale Floor, and it serves as an introduction to everything. It establishes the setting (an alternate feudal Japan) and its main characters (Takeo and Kaede), as well as the political plot this story is to follow. It’s tempting to call this “Game of Thrones in Japan”, but it’s not quite that epic.

Hearn has a lyrical style that flows over the reader like a stream washing over rocks. Her narrative is understated in that it portrays more than you would expect, and the story is rather calm, especially considering that there’s the threat of assassination and other violence in Hearn’s world. She also creates her characters well, putting the focus on them instead of all the things happening around them. Those things are important — they server as the plot — but the story is really about Takeo and Kaede’s coming of age amid all the machinations of the world.

It’s hard to rate these books individually, since it will take two parts to get the full story. So far, though, it’s a compelling read that tricks you into thinking not much is happening. Fans of quiet fantasy should like them, even though the story feels more like a historical one than a fantasy.

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