Trying a New Function of Good Reads

I made a little review for this on Good Reads, and thought I'd try using their "Blog This" button. r0ck3tsci3ntist recommended the book to me, and I really enjoyed it a great deal.

Across the Nightingale Floor (Tales of the Otori, Book 1)

Across the Nightingale Floor by Lian Hearn
rating: 3 of 5 stars
I wasn't that surprised to find that the author had lived in Japan for several months doing the research to create the detailing for this triology. The detailing, feel of the seasons, the imprint of the castles and the caste reactions were lovely and solid. Everything from food to architecture at least felt real. I liked that the author states with the forward that it really isn't Japan; but that any mistakes or offenses taken are the author's fault.

The story itself was pretty solid, especially with the consequences of certain actions; but the romances were overwrought and glossed over. I don't mean just not-explicit as I didn't expect anything explicit, but it's like the love thing JUST IS without any relation or reason with the personalities involved other than it Just Has To Be.

The magical aspects of the male protagonist are consistent, but they're still... magical and pseudo-explained with genetics, which I could suspend my disbelief for that. He still had to make hard choices, powers or not, and on the most part they don't buy him the things that are really important to him and had consequences to them that were good and solid. So I was okay with that.

I rather like both protagonists, though I'll admit that I like the female one better AFTER this book, in the preview of the second; but then I always prefer my women competent. This is clearly the "growing up" book, and I'm hoping to see how they use their new abilities in the next book.

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Oh, totally, she was way too helpless in her own head, but given the culture she was supposed to be set in... *shrugs*

I am very forgiving of books. *laughs*

And there were enough cultural details to intrigue me mildly and realize that I've probably put more details in my Twin Souls fanfic than she had in the first novel. That was... odd to realize.
This is where it really comes across as a YA book. The relationship of the two protagonists is really a sweetening of, as in easy look at, simple teenaged sexual infatuation.

Basically, he wants to make it with this beautiful girl. The girl feels the same way about him. In this they are very childish. Plus she is a product of her environment. Women, even heiresses, were killed for non-compliancy in that age, same as the Middle Ages of Europe.

I felt that the hero's relationship with the young warrior priest to be opportunistic yet somewhat more mature. I believe this happened in the first book - they run together for me a bit now, it was a couple of years ago that I started reading them.

edit - too many typos. :p

So yeah, it's a decent read, not perfect by any means. I couldn't finish the last one, it just became too predictable. I was very glad that my son read them though.
Yeah, the explanation about the YA part of it makes sense. And definitely I got the "product of her environment" and her fifteen-year-old ignorance is evident in spades.

YEAH. The hero's relationship with the young warrior priest just knocked me on my keester at the very end of the book, I was like WHEN did that happen? Did I miss that? And I go back and see nothing, but... goodness... It was definitely more mature, and more based on who they are.

Neat that your son read them. I think I'll go through the whole series (one of the reasons I'm less than discriminatory with my reading is that I read fast enough it's not a huge investment of time), and it was popular enough that part of my brain wants to see why. There's enough of the exotic without her taking it so far that she'd lose people the way I think I sometimes lose folk with some of the nuances of my detailing.
3 out of 5 stars doesn't compell me to even look at the book... considering that I value your opinion.
Certainly... it's definitely not a great adult read. There were nuances I enjoyed, but I wouldn't recommend it highly.
I was given book 2 of the second set of books -- at some point I should back and read the first four.... And whoa, I did not realize the author was female.
*laughs* I don't know if the author is female, but someone made a comment about the nom de plume being based on a man who was famous for studying Japanese culture, or so say some of the reviews on Good Reads... *pokes around a moment* Ah here...

"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." -- Chris

The reviewer obviously thought she was a woman.

[Edited: Eh, I'm an idiot when I'm tired.]

There are nuances of what the author glosses over, and what she chose to detail that really makes me think she's female, too.

Edited at 2009-03-11 05:13 am (UTC)
Her Goodreads page has a photo and indicates her gender (which is how I found out). ^_^ I just recall from reading the foreward -- and based on the male pseudonym -- that I assumed the writer was a younger American male. So much for assumptions, heh.
Ah ha!

That makes even MORE sense, then. *laughs* I didn't even think to click that.
btw, if you haven't read any Lafcadio Hearn, I recommend trying him out. Odd duck, Mr. Hearn.

Edited at 2009-03-11 04:19 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I'm grateful for your recommendations in this subject area. The wiki entry seemed rather intriguing.