Walter Underwood's Reviews > The Harsh Cry of the Heron: The Last Tale of the Otori

The Harsh Cry of the Heron by Lian Hearn
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's review
Apr 04, 2012

it was ok
Read from March 29 to April 04, 2012

I'll try do do this without spoilers, though the major flaws in this book are storytelling and plot.

There were ominous overtones early on, so I decided I was OK if everything just fell apart, after all, that is how the Heiki Monogatari ends. I'm not saying it ends that way, but I was prepared.

I was not prepared for it to be boring and confusing. People head out to various places for various reasons and if you don't already know where Hagi and Hofu are in relation to each other, too bad, because there is no map. I got pretty tired of getting a recitation about each entering character: parents, aunts, and uncles and who had killed whom.

The oddest thing is how passive Takeo is throughout the book. He follows advice and occasionally paints birds. Things happen to him, he doesn't make things happen. He does initiate a couple of things at the end, one is a failure and one resolves some foreshadowing from the whole series. Other characters don't really do much either. Most of them have decided what they are going to do before the book starts, and then they do it. A couple of the women kinda go crazy, which seems terribly out of character for both of them, though at least they do something.

Mostly, characters are moved around by the Will of Heaven, or perhaps the Hand of the Author. One character does take initiative and change things, and that is an animal. By the end of the book, I think I liked the horses better than any of the people.

Unless you feel a real need to read this book, stop after the first three.
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