Grass for His Pillow: The Way Through the Snow

October 10, 2017 at 6:00 pm (Reads) (, , )

snowGrass for His Pillow: The Way Through the Snow by Lian Hearn


This book is the end of Grass for His Pillow, the second book in the Tales of the Otori, and it has the same structure as most second-books-in-a-trilogy: It ends without much resolved. Hearn brings a couple of subplots to a close here, but for the overarching, political plot that covers this entire series, the book raises the stakes and takes us to the heart of the conflict, and then steps away and lets us wait for the next book.

Luckily, I have the next book(s) in hand to keep the story going, but this kind of structure annoys me. Unfortunately, this is how trilogies work now. I’ve noticed it ever since The Matrix Reloaded, but I expect it’s been going on since before then. There are exceptions (The Obelisk Gate didn’t leave me hanging as much as I would have expected, and The Empire Strikes Back is a perfect second-movie-in-a-trilogy in that it does all it should for the larger story while maintaining a structure all its own), but lately it seems like those second books have to end in such a way as to guarantee readers will return for the third. I’d boycott them all together if I didn’t get invested in them for two books.

Hearn tells the story in her unobtrusive style, which is wonderful. Stuff happens, but it always feels like you’re along for a gentle ride, even as it does. Takeo and Kaede continue to serve as the central characters, and their relationship defines the story. The third book, I expect, will bring the overarching plot to a close, as all the preparation and setup of the first two books will collect there, but all of it derives from their relationship.

Hearn continues to tell a good story, though it suffers from being book two in a trilogy. Readers who have come this far with the story will want to keep reading, and those who might be interested in the premise should start at the beginning. It takes a little while to get into it, but once you are, it’s hard to quit it.

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