Catherine's Reviews > Across the Nightingale Floor

Across the Nightingale Floor by Lian Hearn
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's review
Jun 18, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: assassin-killer-bounty-hunter, historical, magic-mystical-ability, series, japan, ninja-samurai, young-adult, fantasy-paranormal-sci-fi
Recommended to Catherine by: new_user
Read from June 20 to 23, 2010

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 himself be taken by these different groups who don't really value him. They just seem to value the services he can provide. It's hard to blame him for that weakness though, because it seems like there's no way to escape these groups who want him. I'm very torn over my attitude toward him.

It was hard at first to get into this book. I have a difficult time being immersed in a storyline when I constantly feel that I'm being told the story. It was like Takeo was an old man at the time and was reciting his coming of age story. Entertaining, yes, but also very distancing.

I really liked the fact that there were so many side characters. Even if they didn't play a big part it was nice to see them as part of the atmosphere. A lot of books have a bad habit of making their characters seem like they live in a vacuum. I'm pleased that wasn't the case here.

I felt so bad for the women in this world. They seemed to never win. They were hostages and pawns and controlled at all turns. Even women with control over their property were in a very precarious position. It was a little disheartening.

Even though I did feel distanced from the story it succeeded in making me root for characters. When that situation with Kenji pops up toward the end I was absurdly angry on Takeo's behalf. If I could have reached through the book and stabbed him in the eye I would have. I was also rooting for Takeo and Kaede. I wish there was a simple solution for them.

I guess that's why the book was so depressing. I got attached to the main characters and couldn't help but feel for their plights. Whether that was sympathy, concern, or anger depended on which point I was at in the story.

Overall I enjoyed it, so I guess I'll have to give it four stars.

Thanks for the rec new_user!
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Reading Progress

06/21/2010 page 19
6.0% "I wonder what is so special about his looks." 5 comments
06/21/2010 page 27
8.0% """They buried the stonemason alive beneath the boulder," Lord Otori remarked offhandedly, "so he would never build another bridge to rival this one, and so he could guard his work forever. You can hear his ghost at night talking to the river."" -Great bridge! As a reward we plan to kill you. I know, I know we're so generous!" 1 comment
06/21/2010 page 37
12.0% "Looks like the book follows more than one storyline." 1 comment
06/22/2010 page 49
15.0% "It sucks to be a girl in this story. Especially a hostage." 2 comments
06/22/2010 page 75
23.0% "So the Tribe has a sort of magic?"
06/22/2010 page 92
29.0% "Oh man, Shigeru is going to have some explaining to do when Maruyama meets up with him."
06/22/2010 page 117
37.0% "So that's what the title means..."
06/22/2010 page 146
46.0% "I always find it so odd how love is described in these kinds of books. I looked at her, boom we love each other, we'll never get over it." 2 comments
06/23/2010 page 186
58.0% "Can the Tribe really just take him if the want to?" 4 comments
06/23/2010 page 198
62.0% ""As we descended the steps again I could hear them mocking us, making the jokes I'd learned the Tohan always made at Otori expense: that they prefer boys to girls in bed..." Why would that be mocking? I thought it was accepted in their culture because of what Takedo said on pg 22. "I knew about desire, had satisfied my own with the other boys of my village, or with girls in the brothel...""
06/23/2010 page 212
66.0% "Okay, Kenji has just made my shit list."
06/23/2010 page 262
82.0% "Oh God, the men there are disgusting. Thank goodness Kaede got some of her own back." 12 comments
06/23/2010 page 287
90.0% "My version wasn't 320 pages it was only 287."

Comments (showing 1-10 of 10) (10 new)

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message 1: by new_user (last edited Jun 23, 2010 10:36PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

new_user You're welcome! I'm so glad you liked it! This is that book you were looking for with the consequences for the heroes, right? ;)

But I know what you mean. It was a depressing world, and Takeo's life is harsh. And all the women. Also, Kenji deserves a whupping. But that's the stuff of great stories! LOL. There are some triumphs too.

I hope you're going to read the next book. Are ya, are ya? *hops*

Catherine Yes, I did like the fact that there were consequences. It was nice that not everything turned out roses, you know?

Yep, I think I will read the next book. It's out at my library but I plan to put a hold on it. Have you read the whole series?

message 3: by new_user (last edited Jun 23, 2010 10:44PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

new_user Yay! The next one is sort of more heartening.

I've read the original three. She wrote a fourth, but it's kind of just tacked on and I couldn't really get into it, maybe because I read it so much later than the rest. She wrote a prequel for Shigeru I plan to read too. Don't you just love Shigeru? I hope his prequel does him justice.

Catherine I did love him. Even though he wasn't all benevolence when he first took Takeo with him I honestly believe that he grew to love him. His relationship with you know who was so tragic. When I found out what happened to all of them I was so depressed. I'm a sucker for a happy ending.

Vered There was something about her writing, beautiful and depressing but at the same time a bit detached .
I was emotionally involve, but from afar.
Does that make sense?

Catherine That is exactly how I felt Vered, thank you! I couldn't figure out how to phrase it very well, but you said it beautifully.

Vered Thanks! So it wasn't just me... I'm just glad I made sense :)

Catherine You definitely did. I'm glad you commented because it helped put my own feelings into words. Sometimes I struggle with how to put across my thoughts in a way that makes sense. All I ended up being able to convey in this review was distance, like I'm being told a story. :( Not clear enough.

new_user I think you express yourself well in your reviews, Catherine, and you pinpoint your problems with the book well.

Catherine Why thank you Nu. That's a lovely thing to say.

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