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Across the Nightingale Floor (Tales of the Otori #1)

4.05  ·  Rating Details ·  28,145 Ratings  ·  1,621 Reviews
In his black-walled fortress at Inuyama, the warlord Iida Sadamu surveys his famous nightingale floor. Constructed with exquisite skill, it sings at the tread of each human foot. No assassin can cross it unheard.
The youth Takeo has been brought up in a remote mountain village among the Hidden, a reclusive and spiritual people who have taught him only the ways of peace. But
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Paperback, 305 pages
Published January 1st 2002 by Riverhead Books
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(showing 1-30)
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Nicholas Armstrong
Aug 11, 2009 Nicholas Armstrong rated it did not like it
Okay. I'll try to be as kind and heartfelt as possible. This book is insultingly bad. Normally a bad book is just that, but this book is actually infuriatingly bad.

Firstly, it's a fantasy book set in feudal Japan. That's fine. I would think that it being set in Japan, Hearn would have learned anything about the place, but she apparently did not. This book is written as if Hearn simply googled Japan and then decided to write a book on it. I'll go down the list of failings.

Religion Japan wasn't Ch
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Χαρά Ζ.
Dec 12, 2015 Χαρά Ζ. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
_Across the nightingale floor_

So i decided to share my personal story with this book.. I was about 15-16 years old and a classmate, a good friend of mine had lent me this book. I read it, i loved it and then my brain completely erased all the data i had on the book. I mean, literally, i remembered nothing apart from liking it. Life happened and i forgot about it, but last year i was in a bookstore and i saw the second book of the series sitting on the self in front of me. The title is "Grass for
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Phrynne
Sep 19, 2015 Phrynne rated it liked it
It deserves a whole star just for that amazing title! How could you not read a book called Across the Nightingale Floor? So the title was great, the cover was good but how was the story? Well it was pretty good. I enjoyed the Japanese feel to it although by the end I was a little tired of all the honour which obliged people to do anything other than what they wanted to. There were some good characters not all of whom made it to the end of the book! ( a lot of heads rolled). Altogether it was a g ...more
Mariel
Aug 04, 2011 Mariel rated it liked it
Recommends it for: the u in honor
Recommended to Mariel by: chinatown
I was protesting the Chinese food place down the block today. It's ridiculous. None of their offered cuisine is truly Chinese. If I want to eat American I'll go to Pizza Hut, thank you very much. If that wasn't bad enough I later had lunch at the restaurant next door. They had these little cookies. If you break open the cookies there's a piece of paper that pops out with a message of something that might happen to you. This time I didn't eat the paper first and read what it said. "The Tales of t ...more
colleen the convivial curmudgeon
1 1/2

In my review for Graceling I stated that I was a bit of a sucker for romance elements in action type stories. I have, in the past, admitted to, probably, over-rating certain books because the romance element gave me the warm-squishies, even though other aspects of the book were lacking or, at times, downright annoying. (See 'Fire Study'.)

So it's a bit ironic that, for this book, I think the romance element between the two protagonists was the weakest aspect of the book. It was so eye-rollin
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Chris
Jan 31, 2008 Chris rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, japan
This is a weird book for anyone who has more than a passing knowledge of Japan.

The author is a great fan of Japan, its culture and its history. 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. She's gone to great lengths to instill Japanese culture into every part of th
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Rebecca
I really enjoyed this one, and I regret avoiding it in bookstores for so long. It was an engaging read with a great Japan-inspired setting, and I liked the historical fiction plus fantasy elements feel to it. It has its flaws and things did bother me (particularly the insta-love) but I'm looking forward to reading the sequels.

A few spoiler-ish/specific/random thoughts:

(view spoiler)
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Felicia
Jul 12, 2009 Felicia rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
This book was great, I would love to see it made into a movie. It was like reading the plot of a great Kung Fu movie, with a touch of "Memoirs of a Geisha" and some magic thrown in. I will eagerly read the next book.
StoryTellerShannon
Nov 17, 2011 StoryTellerShannon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy-scifi
This is actually a fantasy novel, but, for marketing purposes it's being sold as fiction. Perhaps it's because the magical elements in this tale are very light and it focuses more on a Japan that never existed.

Focus is on two character viewpoints only: a teenage boy in first person and a teenage girl in third person. The mix works and it's one of the first times I've seen such a viewpoint mix, though, I'm sure this author isn't the first to do it.

The boy, Tomasau/Taeko, hops around with differ
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Janina
Apr 25, 2010 Janina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance, fantasy
Great epic/pseudo-historical fantasy with an amazing setting reminiscent of medieval Japan. This first installment of the Tales of thr Otori managed something epic fantasy rarely does for me: it captured me from the very first page.

When you take a look at the plotline, Across the Nightingale Floor has all the ingredients of an average epic fantasy: We have the orphaned hero, who is rescued by a noble stranger and discovers he has special abilities. We have the heroine, who is a pawn in her fath
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Alina
Jan 13, 2015 Alina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great series about ancient Japan with its samurais and their conduct codes, ninja-like fighters, Christians' persecutions; it has political scheming, interesting twists and turns, intriguing liaisons between characters, sword fights, love, treachery, friendship.
The characters are well-developed, complex, with inner turmoil and weaknesses.

The only thing that disappointed me was the romance element, exaggerated a tad too much in my opinion: when she first laid eyes on him, she started trembling
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Silver Thistle {adores JAFF & TEOTWAWKI.  Oh, and accronyms :P}
Across the nightingale floor was a little step away from my usual reading material but the rave reviews intrigued me so I gave it a shot. I rashly bought all 5 books in the series and now I'm doubting the wisdom of that.

Just because it's aimed at a lower age group, doesn't mean it has to be childish but if I'm honest, I found it quite slow despite the killing and the violence and the love interest. The lead character finds he isn't the person he thought he was and discovers special talents he di
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♥Xeni♥
Mar 26, 2011 ♥Xeni♥ rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Adventure fans!
It took me only about four hours to finish this book. I zoomed through it due to the gripping storyline and the vivid scenery and characters.

In a land that is similar to feudal Japan, warlords are battling for power. Takeo is caught in between, inadvertently, when his village is destroyed by the evil Lord Iida and he is taken under Lord Otori Shigeru's wing. Not so surprisingly, Takeo has not manifested powers that come to light while living with Shigeru. While training these powers, he realizes
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Martini
Interesting setting in a (fantastical) Japan. Enjoyable story and characters. I especially liked that Kaede, the female protagonist, was not simply a damsel in distress.
But I could have done without the instalove.
Paula
Nov 05, 2012 Paula rated it did not like it
I call Twilight on this one.

Man, you can waste so many cool things just by adding magic into the story. It removes any sense of struggle, any effort on the part of the characters.

Also, destiny is a dark and sometimes tragic thing, losing control over your own life - not just a way to get everything from life without having to earn it!

The characters are flat, the language simplistic, the description basic and lackluster, the cultural coloring nothing beyond popculture crap, the plot contrived, t
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Vaso
Feb 11, 2013 Vaso rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ένας εντελώς διαφορετικός κόσμος..... Πολύ ωραίο....
Catherine
I'm really conflicted about what to grade this book. I enjoyed it, but it was really depressing. When I closed the book all I felt was the futility of these people trying to make their own decisions. Someone is always there to take away their choice in one way or another.

Takeo, who is the main character, was an interesting person to follow. He seems strong in the sense that he is able to adapt to any new situation and still retain the core of who he is. But, he also seems weak because he lets hi
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Karolina Kat
Jan 17, 2015 Karolina Kat rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
The worst issue of this book is a promise of great historical fiction setting, that turns out to be a fantasy one, loosely inspired by the Japanese culture. Another thing is the choice of protagonist and main plot - the first one is a typical cliché (teenager who turns out be the most important in the entire world, who holds immense powers), the latter - a quite predictable story of vengeance and rather cringing romance.

It could still be an ok adventure story but there is just one more unbearabl
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Margaret
When I finished Lian Hearn's Tales of the Otori series (of which this is the first), I felt as though I'd been eating Hershey's chocolate when I expected Valrhona (or at least Lindt).

These much-heralded books are set in a fantasy version of medieval Japan, and on the face of it, the story is promising: Takeo is the lone survivor of the massacre of his village by an evil overlord. He is rescued by the mysterious Lord Otori Shigeru, who adopts Takeo and brings him into his plans to overthrow the
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Kat  Hooper
Mar 31, 2009 Kat Hooper rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobook
Across the Nightingale Floor has a beautiful, concise writing style, good characterization, fast pace, and interesting plot. It's main weakness is the ridiculousness of the love-at-first-sight. It makes the characters seem a bit shallow.

Warning about the audiobook: I listened to this book on CD. There are two readers — a man for the voice of Takeo, and a woman for the voice of Kaede. The man is an excellent reader with a lovely voice (he's got the oriental speech sounds just right). I think his
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Vicky Ziliaskopoulou
Φαντάζομαι αν ήμουν νεότερη (έφηβη) μπορεί να μου άρεσε. Ήταν μια καλή ιστορία που μιλούσε για την αφοσίωση και θα μπορούσα να πω την αγάπη και το μίσος, τον πόλεμο και τον έρωτα. Ένα παραμυθάκι που ήταν γεμάτο με μαγεία και άτομα με εξαιρετικές ικανότητες.
Το πρόβλημα είναι ότι για να μου αρέσει ένα βιβλίο πρέπει να μην υστερεί στις περιγραφές και αυτό είχε σοβαρές ελλείψεις. Δεν μπόρεσα να κάνω εικόνα κανέναν από τους πρωταγωνιστές, μόνο ότι ο ένας ήταν ψηλός, ένας άλλος είχε ωραίο χαμόγελο κα
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StoryTellerShannon
This is actually a fantasy novel, but, for marketing purposes it's being sold as fiction. Perhaps it's because the magical elements in this tale are very light and it focuses more on a Japan that never existed.

Focus is on two character viewpoints only: a teenage boy in first person and a teenage girl in third person. The mix works and it's one of the first times I've seen such a viewpoint mix, though, I'm sure this author isn't the first to do it.

The boy, Tomasau/Taeko, hops around with differ
...more
Doreen
Sep 17, 2010 Doreen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very fast read, in part because it was so utterly gripping (I nearly missed my bus stop because of it, then accidentally whapped the guy sitting across the way from me with my cello case in my hurry to get out.) Everything is beautifully detailed, and for this Legend of the Five Rings fan, it was an excellent addition to the mystical samurai sub-genre. My only quibbles were with the shifting narrative, which is fine if you keep it all from the same kind of viewpoint (e.g. consistently third-pers ...more
Allison (The Allure of Books)
Mar 02, 2009 Allison (The Allure of Books) rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Allison (The Allure of Books) by: Fiona
Right from the beginning, this book will grab you. The characters and setting are so exotic and enticing...you will first want to be there, and then, as you read, start to feel that you are.

I was so caught up in the fantastic descriptions and places that I wasn't even thinking as much about the plot! There were a couple of twists and turns that left me gasping in disbelief.

A magnificent story in every aspect, can't wait to read the rest!
Literary Ames {Against GR Censorship}
Assassins are cool. Super powers, who wouldn't want some? That this is set outside the US and the UK, a huge plus. So what went wrong?

Early on I assumedAcross the Nightingale Floor had been translated due to inconsistent, simple and superficial language. And I wasn't alone in my thinking. However, a quick search revealed the author to have been born and raised a few miles from where I live in England.

Very little emotion is shown by Takeo, our hero, despite what should've been some harrowing sce
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Jonathan
Oct 21, 2011 Jonathan rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fantasy lovers, series fans, assassins of the Tribe
Shelves: fantasy, favourites
Across the Nightingale Floor by Lian Hearn had been sitting on my to read shelf for a little over a year. Having finally succumbed and read the book I was not let down by the superb storytelling on offer. The world is familiar and yet at the same time distant, the characters are beautifully rendered with palpable emotion and the tale is intriguing. In fact many of my favorite elements in any story were present. In many ways this truly imaginative piece, set in a forged world serves to underline ...more
Jessie  (Ageless Pages Reviews)
Quick thoughts:

-stilted dialogue and flat characters dominate the book

-the pseudo-Japanese aspects feel more like lazy research and lack of care especially when...

-the narrative misuses the importance and meaning of the tea service, the bowing/social hierarchy that shaped Japan, etc.

-the insertion of Christianity into even a faux-version Japan is not awesome or accurate

-awkward tense shifts from third to first for different narrators

-the narrators each sound exactly the same

-ridiculous case of
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Anggia Retno
Jan 02, 2009 Anggia Retno rated it really liked it
A beautiful story...
Dimana takeo bertemu dengan lord otori (shigeru), diangkat anak dan bagaimana takeo yang ternyata merupakan keturunan kikuta memiliki kemampuan untuk membalaskan dendam lord otori shigeru dengan membunuh lord iida... Ceritanya bagus menarik banget, dulu sampai ga sabar nunggu buku keduanya,, takeo jadi kayak kebagi antara dia seorang bangsawan pewaris shigeru dan seorang kikuta. Dan takeo jatuh cinta sama kaede gadis bangsawan yang cantik banget yang dijodohin sama lord shige
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Jay Kristoff
Jan 06, 2012 Jay Kristoff rated it really liked it
4.5 stars

A great read with some beautiful prose. The setting was utterly Japanese without actually being set in Japan (it's an imaginary Japanese-inspired country, with constructs from the Edo/Tokugawa period) and the author pulled it off marvelously.

My only real beef (and it's a tiny one) was near the ending of the novel. Since our protag and narrator is (view spoiler)
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Michelle, the Bookshelf Stalker  Queen of the Undead
This wasn't bad at all. I think I want to read book 2. I had a few issues with it but I think it had to do with my own ethnocentric views about the culture. I totally get the entire loyalty thing, the submissive nature between servant (which is everyone but the lords) and the Lords, and the whole clan/tribe thing but I still felt weird about it. I needed more resolution in the end, I don't know. Still thinking about this...excuse the rant.
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Lian Hearn's beloved Tales of the Otori series, set in an imagined feudal Japan, has sold more than four million copies worldwide and has been translated into nearly forty languages. It is comprised of five volumes: ACROSS THE NIGHTINGALE FLOOR, GRASS FOR HIS PILLOW, BRILLIANCE OF THE MOON, THE HARSH CRY OF THE HERON and HEAVEN'S NET IS WIDE. The series was followed by two standalone novels, BLOSS ...more
More about Lian Hearn...

Other Books in the Series

Tales of the Otori (5 books)
  • Heaven's Net is Wide (Tales of the Otori, #0)
  • Grass for His Pillow (Tales of the Otori, #2)
  • Brilliance of the Moon (Tales of the Otori, #3)
  • The Harsh Cry of the Heron (Tales of the Otori, #4)

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