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3.37 of 5 stars 3.37  ·  rating details  ·  41 ratings  ·  6 reviews
Throughout the twelfth century, two rival clans, the Minomoto and the Taira, struggled for supremacy in Imperial Japan. Each attempted a rebellion and, for a time, the Taira gained ascendancy. But their rule turned despotic and at last, during the Genpei War of 1179-1185, the Minomoto drove the Taira out of the capital and took control for themselves.

At the final battle of
Hardcover, 448 pages
Published February 3rd 2001 by Tor Books
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(showing 1-30 of 134)
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Genre: Japanese pseudo-history

For all of the supernatural elements to the story, this book feels like you're reading a history book. It is the story of the Gempei wars between the Minamoto and the Tiara, there isn't really a main character, nor is the story particularly character driven. The tone of the book is like looking at a Zen Garden and the beauty of it can be taken as such - but mostly I fell asleep.
Althea Ann
Can I admit it? I didn't finish this book! I very rarely don't finish a book, but I got more than halfway through it and realized that reading it had become a chore. I wasn't enjoying it, and felt no desire to even find out what happened to any of the characters. It's too bad, because Dalkey is obviously a capable, talented writer, and the book is very well researched. However, she made a decision to base the style of the book on classic Japanese manuscripts such as The Tale of Genji. I've great ...more
You have to be a fan of feudal Japanese history to enjoy a book like this. That said, I thoroughly enjoyed Dalkey's exploration of the Genpei War. Though it had fantasy elements and was a historical fiction, it also followed the actual history of the war very closely as far as I can tell. It is not a quick read and if you don't already have a familiarity with Japanese names or the time period, I can see how it would be a pain to read.
The story was a bit hard to grasp, but it said at the beginning that it was actually based on a monogatari so that's understandable. I liked it for it's accuracy, not so much for it's story. It is a lot like a history book, so I wouldn't recommend it to someone who isn't already interested in feudal Japan.
Alix Hope
A very true interpretation of the Heike Monogatari. Difficult for those who have no background in ancient/pre-modern Japanese literature to understand or get into, and the writing style could definitely have been amended to be less "epic poem" like, but I enjoyed it a lot. Nii no Ama is kickass.
Nov 14, 2012 Kat added it
Shelves: couldn-t-finish
I like historical fiction, but I also like books with a main character (or two or five or a dozen! I like casts of thousands too!) who provides the reader with a way into the world, and after a couple dozen pages, Genpei had not provided one, and so I lost interest.
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Kara Mia Dalkey is an American author of young adult fiction and historical fantasy. She was born in Los Angeles and has lived in Minneapolis, Pittsburgh, Colorado, and Seattle. Much of her fiction is set in the Heian period of Japan.

She was married to author John Barnes; they divorced in 2001. She is a member of the Pre-Joycean Fellowship and of the Scribblies. She is a graduate of the Fashion In
More about Kara Dalkey...
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