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Grass for His Pillow (Tales of the Otori #2)

4.01  ·  Rating Details ·  17,227 Ratings  ·  506 Reviews
Praised for its epic scope and descriptive detail, Across the Nightingale Floor, the first bookin the Tales of the Otori series, was an international bestseller and critical success, named by the London Times as "the most compelling novel to have been published this year." With Grass for His Pillow, Book Two, we return to the medieval Japan of Lian Hearn's creation—a land ...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published May 31st 2004 by Riverhead Trade (first published August 11th 2003)
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Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur GoldenKafka on the Shore by Haruki MurakamiThe Tale of Genji by Murasaki ShikibuThe Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki MurakamiShōgun by James Clavell
Japanese Fiction
256 books — 203 voters
A Game of Thrones by George R.R. MartinJ.R.R. Tolkien 4-Book Boxed Set by J.R.R. TolkienThe Name of the Wind by Patrick RothfussThe Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. LewisThe Eye of the World by Robert Jordan
The Best Epic Fantasy
2,696 books — 19,588 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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I didn't enjoy this as much as the first book but it wasn't bad. Not much seemed to happen. The writing was still nice to read and lyrical, and it's a nice series to marathon.

Some spoiler-ish/rambly thoughts that won't make much sense unless you've read the book:

(view spoiler)
Jan 25, 2016 Vaso rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this series.... Well Done.....
I'm calling these books young adult as well as for adults, though I think the only reason I think of them as young adult is because the protagonists are in their late teens. These are definitely books I would have read and loved as a teenager; there's no explicit sex though lots of reference to it, and the violence is hardly as graphic as you see in movies.

Anyway, genre descriptions aside, this is a brilliant trilogy and I am literally only pausing long enough to write my review of book two befo
Dec 30, 2010 Karissa rated it liked it
This is the second book in the Tales of the Otori series by Lian Hearn. This book picks up where the first left off. Takeo leaves Kaede for training under the mysterious Tribe; whose supernatural abilities Takeo has inherited from his father. As his training concludes, and he is asked to take out certain missions, he must ask himself if his loyalties will lie with the Tribe or with the Otori? Kaede meanwhile is left on her own to return home and see what state her family is in. Kaede struggles t ...more
Darker and more mature than the first part, but just as good.
Jan 21, 2009 Jeph rated it liked it
Lian Hearn's "Grass for his Pillow" is a must-continue for fans of "Across the Nightingale Floor", and resumes the story of Otori Takeo and Shirakawa Kaede, of the first book, but leaves much to be desired in terms of plot, action and everything else that made Hearn's first entry in this series so magical and endearing.

"Grass" picks up almost exactly where "Across" left off. Takeo is now with the Tribe and much of the book focuses on Kaede trying to claim her inheritance of domain, meanwhile fen
May 10, 2010 Kandice rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This being the second, in a planned trilogy, I felt it was more of a "place holder" or a "where we are now" kind of book. It reminds me of The Empire Strikes Back. It's a continuation of the story of the characters we've come to love, but not much happens. We get a lot more back story, but not a whole lot of action, other than to put our heroes in a harder spot. That's okay, I already have the third book on my nightstand waiting to be read.:)

The Japan that Hearn has created is beautiful. I gener
Jun 09, 2015 Becca rated it it was amazing
For a middle-book in a trilogy, this one was really fabulously done, with the exception that it should have been longer. I love where the story-line is going even though I'm not sure where it will end up, the characters (which I thought were fabulous for the most part in the first book) have really grown on me, and the relationships that have developed are full and interesting.

One thing I really like about this author so far is she isn't afraid to subject her characters to the greatest pain pos
Oct 21, 2015 Jeraviz rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Lo más interesante que pasa en este libro es una pelea en una barca. Y dura dos párrafos.

Gran decepción. Me leí la primera parte hace años y me dejó buenas sensaciones pero ahora que retomo la saga me encuentro con que los personajes son planos y llenos de tópicos: El Elegido que según una profecía cambiará el mundo, el grupo secreto que trama venganza en las sombras, la damisela enferma que no puede estar con su amado... Lo único decente que veo es que el papel de las mujeres no lo relega a sim
Allison (The Allure of Books)
Apr 17, 2009 Allison (The Allure of Books) rated it really liked it
Recommended to Allison (The Allure of Books) by: Fiona
This book wasn't as good as the first one for me...just not quite as magical and exotic feeling...which could just stem from the fact I've been reading Shogun so the mythical Japanese world doesn't seem as mysterious to me as it did with Across the Nightingale Floor. The book still captured me from beginning to end, and I was caught up in the story. The book was pretty tense, and the ending set up very well for Brilliance of the Moon, can't wait to read it!
Florin Pitea
Aug 22, 2015 Florin Pitea rated it really liked it
"Grass for His Pillow" is pleasant reading and a nice addition to the Tales of the Otori trilogy. I can hardly wait to read the third volume in the series. Recommended.
Nov 17, 2011 Petros rated it liked it
Notice: I have made a review for every book of this series and they need to be read in order since they are supposed to feel like an on-going impression. So if you read the second without reading the first will feel rather off.

I am mostly focusing on the style of storytelling and a lot less on if it reads well or something sophisticated like that. For the same reason I tend to have lots of SPOILERS which means that if you read this text you will know THE OVERALL PLOT and how much I DIDN’T like
Etant une grande fan de la saga Le Clan des Otoris, je n'ai pas hésité une seule seconde à emprunter ce roman à la bibliothèque.

Lian Hearn retrace ici la révolte du domaine Chôshû contre le bakufu, un gouvernement militaire, entre 1857 et 1867. Nous suivons plus particulièrement Tsuru, une jeune japonaise qui rêve de devenir médecin comme son père.

L'histoire est prometteuse pour toute personne qui aime les romans historiques et qui s'intéresse à l'histoire du Japon (personnellement j'ai foncé,
Like others have mentioned, 'Grass For His Pillow' is a bridge, obviously leading up to events in the third book. While the book is slow, the language is still flowery and engaging, and I am continually intrigued by the complicated web of politics and honor. I greatly appreciate how the Tribe's abilities are supernatural, yet it does not feel like fantasy or magic.

However, I am finding it exceedingly difficult to establish an emotional, immediate connection with the main characters, Takeo and Ka
Sep 22, 2012 Andrew rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: japan, fantasy
Compelling enough, but felt to me more like an interlude between the start and conclusion of the trilogy. It has been many years since I read the first book, so it took a considerable amount of time for me to remember the events that took place in it. But even still, I felt like the emotional pitch of the book was a bit flat. There were a few exciting moments, but even the situations that should have been powerful lacked the impact they should have had. It's possible that was intentional to evok ...more
Feb 23, 2012 Sandy rated it liked it
Recommended to Sandy by: Chamness
In this book, our hero Takeo figures out over the course of about 200 pages that all of the decisions he made at the climatic end of the first volume (Across the Nightingale Floor) were stupid. He then spends the last 100 pages attempting to undo these decisions and set things right - the act of which promises to cause the conflict that will drive the last book in the trilogy since aparently the timing is no longer right so now the "right" decisions are actually bad decisions.

Honestly, Kaede's
Feb 16, 2011 Search rated it really liked it
I think the series has grown on me, I am finding the writing in the 2nd book to be much better quality, and my complaint with the last book about detail has been rectified in this book. The pacing is slower than in the first book, though I have found this slowing down to be well compensated by the rise in quality of the prose.
Upto now I don't agree with the general opinion that this book is somehow lesser than the first one, on the contrary it may be better.
After finishing this book one can see
Apr 24, 2012 Ambrosia rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
While the plot structure of this second book in the series is a little less traditional than the first, that actually works in many ways to its advantage. Both of the main characters are trying to find their identity in various ways, and while the plot is far less action-oriented, I found the character development associated with their internal struggles to make them far more compelling than they were in the first book. Towards the end, when Takeo sees Kaede and observes how much they've both ch ...more
I *read* the first two Tales of the Otori books as audiobooks. There were two readers for each of the two main character's voices: Takeo and Lady Shirakawa. Takeo's reader was male and sounded Asian, which really helped bring the story to life, as it takes place in a sort of feudal Japan.

The second book loses some momentum, and then hands the reader the very thing s/he's been waiting for much too easily. There is plenty of intrigue, spying, plotting, and excitement as well as death - dealt to t
Jun 04, 2008 Brooke rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2008, fantasy
Although I gave this the same number of stars I gave Across the Nightingale Floor, I enjoyed book 2 of this trilogy less than the first one. While things happened in book 1, this book was mostly about the characters being holed up for a winter while making plans about what to do in the spring. It moves the characters forward, as they decide to make plans for themselves rather than allowing themselves to be pawns for other people, but nothing goes into action. It's a shame that an entire book wa ...more
Barbara Spencer
Jan 03, 2015 Barbara Spencer rated it it was amazing
I loved Across The Nightingale Floor and wasn't the slightest bit disappointed with Book 2, as if so often the case. Instead, of contracting the action, Lian Hearn expanded it, to take in the story of Kaede Shirakawa and also the Tribe, the men whose gifts are shared by Takeo. Paid assassins, their skills are in great demand as powerful warlords seek to control or assassinate their enemies. Forcing Takeo to go with them, they are determined that he should learn the ways of the Tribe, that is abs ...more
Miglė Keliotytė
May 08, 2015 Miglė Keliotytė rated it it was ok
Uf. Finally finished.

I guess this book just wasn't for me. It was a task to read Grass for His Pollow to me. I really wish it was different, as I enjoyed the first book of this series more. But... it just felt like nothing happened in this book at all. When actually, a lot of things happenened, it just didn't feel like it.

Anyway, fans of the first book might like this one as well. Maybe it's just me who didn't, as there are a lot of positive reviews. So don't take my word for gold, it's just my
Don Mitchell
Sep 06, 2009 Don Mitchell rated it it was ok
The last half was fairly good. The first third was a tiresome sermon by the female lead explaining why she was pursuing equality and equal access in a male dominated culture. The book as a whole speaks as an imposition of modern values onto a medieval Japanese society. However, once action and some dialog replaced sermons, the book got better.

Nevertheless, the book is very much of a sequel setting up the 3rd book in the trilogy. It feels as if its whole purpose is to retrieve the story, pull in
Jul 08, 2014 Isabel rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ingles, fantástico, 2003
Filler. Good thing I didn't spent my money on it. Not much happened. I think I sorta slept trough it. There was lot of talk of past events. (view spoiler) But really ...more
Feb 06, 2013 littlemiao rated it liked it
Shelves: 2013
I have to admit that the ending came as a shock, not because I was surprised by the concluding event, but because not enough had happened in the story to justify a conclusion. Nothing particularly climactic, since in my mind, the last event (no spoilers) was fairly predictable. It seemed like it was cut off just for the sake of getting another book out of it. Still, it is obviously setting the stage for something dramatic and I am invested enough to keep going.

The fact that the male protagonist
Mar 06, 2014 Bettie☯ rated it liked it
A nice read mostly from Kaede's point of view. It did not feel like a bridge the way some second-in-a-trilogy books do.
Michiyo 'jia' Fujiwara
Rumit..makin rumit..liat Genealogy Tree-nya dulu ya:

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Pasca kematian sang antagonis, Lord Tohan Iida di seri sebelumnya..wilayah kerajaan Tohan dan negeri jajahannya..otomatis mengalami kekosongan..tak ada kepemimpinan..kosong.. dan Lord Arai Daiichi sang desertir secara sepihak adalah penguasa baru wilayah ini..Bagaimana nasib percintaan Takeo dan Kaede???


Lord Takeo yang disambut bak pahlawan karena telah berhasil memenggal kepala si lord antagonis..padahal sang pembunuh seben
John Wiswell
Jul 02, 2013 John Wiswell rated it it was amazing
As many reviews have already pointed out, Grass For His Pillow sure is the middle book of a trilogy. Where Across the Nightingale Floor had its own arc and a villain to slay, Grass For His Pillow is mostly about setting up Kaede’s political power for the wars that will take place in the final book, The Brilliance of the Moon. Our two heroes, Takeo the magical ninja and Kaede the cursed courtesan, are stuck in much more abstract conflicts: Takeo running for his life from the people who once claim ...more
Feb 27, 2013 Helmut rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: japan
Wer bin ich? Wohin gehöre ich?

Der zweite Teil der Geschichten um die Otori glänzt mit ähnlichen Eigenschaften wie Teil 1, Across the Nightingale Floor. "Grass for his Pillow" ist dabei noch deutlich zurückhaltender mit Action und bietet stattdessen tiefe Einblicke in die Persönlichkeit der Protagonisten, die über den ganzen Band weiter ausgearbeitet werden. Nahtlos geht die Handlung vom Vorgängerband weiter - nachdem Takeo praktisch dazu genötigt wurde, sich dem "Tribe" anzuschließen, beginnt nu
Nov 19, 2007 Jennifer rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, fantasy, japanese, own
The stories take place in a fantasy world based on ancient Japan. The stories follow a boy, Takeo, as he is thrust into a warrior-based society after his family is slaughtered. It also follows the tale of Kaede, a beautiful, but cursed girl who becomes the love and passion of Takeo's life.

The stories are derivative of many boy-hero books, you'll see hints of Lord of the Rings, and even Star Wars if you look carefully enough. While the book relies heavily on this style, it doesn't take away from
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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)
  • Across the Nightingale Floor (Tales of the Otori, #1)
  • Brilliance of the Moon (Tales of the Otori, #3)
  • The Harsh Cry of the Heron (Tales of the Otori, #4)

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“Death comes suddenly and life is fragile and brief. No one can alter this either by prayers or spells.” 10 likes
“Moartea vine pe neasteptate, iar viata e fragila si scurta. Nimeni nu poate sa schimbe asta, nici prin rugaciuni, nici prin vraji.” 1 likes
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