Across the Nightingale Floor, by Lian Hearn

This was my second foray into “long” audiobooks — the first being The Picture of Dorian Gray — and I must say that I was much better able to focus on these eight hours of storytelling. Maybe all those tiny audiobooks are doing some good! I’m sure I still missed some important things, but I don’t feel nearly as lost as last time. 🙂

Across the Nightingale Floor is the first in a series called The Tales of the Otori, and is a fantasy novel set in feudal Japan. The main protagonist is called Takeo, né Tomasu, who is a member of a group called the Hidden who are not liked by the current ruler of the area. Early in the novel, he finds his entire village slaughtered and then makes an enemy of the ruler, Iida, and his mates before being rescued from certain death by Otori Shigeru. Shigeru names the boy Takeo and adopts him as his own son, but not without cost — Iida also happens to hate Shigeru and has some delightful plans for getting rid of him. The other narrator and lesser protagonist is Shirakawa Kaede, a beautiful girl held hostage for some reason (see, there’s an important thing I missed!), whose life soon intersects with Takeo’s in similarly delightful ways.

The writing was beautiful, as were the audiobook readers, and the story was engaging, but I have to admit I don’t remember much of it past what I listened to a couple of days ago. I didn’t end up really caring about any of the characters except maybe one, and when that character died with next to no fanfare I was rather miffed. I probably won’t be continuing this series, but I am glad that I listened to this book for the writing if nothing else.

Rating: 6/10
(A to Z Challenge, Support Your Local Library Challenge)

See also:
medieval bookworm

Pass me yours, if you’ve got ’em.