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Grass For His Pillow

(Tales of the Otori #2)

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  22,402 ratings  ·  679 reviews
Set in a mythical, feudal Japanese land, a world both beautiful and cruel, this intense love story of two young people takes place against a background of warring clans, famine and treacherous alliances.
Audio CD, Abridged
Published October 1st 2003 by MacMillan Audio (first published August 11th 2003)
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Average rating 4.03  · 
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 ·  22,402 ratings  ·  679 reviews

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Jan 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019-shelf, fantasy, ya
After the emotional events of the first book, the two lovers in this Japanese Shogunate-ish fantasy are split up. He's on the road and she must defend her new position as the head of her household. Winter is coming, indeed, in this tragic -- and beautiful -- setting.

Tone and setting are where this book shines, but the main characters have really grown into their own even if their situations are rather horrible. Or you know their situations are only going to get REALLY bad soon, anyway. :)

These A
Jan 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

The emotional turmoil doesn't let up. And to think I already know what will happen so I should be prepared!

This second book starts shortly after the first. Takeo has been taken hostage by the Tribe and is kept in a secret house so Arai's forces can't find him (Arai, thinking Takeo betrayed him, is furious). Kaede, meanwhile, convinces Arai to let her go to her family's estate for now, only to find it in shambles and severely damaged. Not only natural catastrophes (earthquakes, typhoons and the l
Amy Norris
This read was me giving this series a second shot. After not enjoying the first book, I decided to carry as it has really good ratings here on goodreads. Unfortunately, as much as it pains me to abandon a series, especially one by an Aussie author, I will not be continuing on.

I had the exact same issues with this book as I did with the first. Mainly, it was just boring. For a book about politics, warriors and war it is just so damn predictable. The writing was beautiful (as in the first) but thi
Aug 22, 2015 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.
“Death comes suddenly and life is fragile and brief. No one can alter this either by prayers or spells.”

Feb 11, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this series.... Well Done.....
Apr 27, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviews, fantasy
Grass for His Pillow is the second book of the Tales of the Otori series by Lian Hearn.

Now before I begin, I must say that I really enjoyed the first book. Sure, it had cliches and elements about it that I would usually not enjoy, but I found it an excellent read. I love the fantasy Japanese inspired world as it is one of my passions and the world-building is very strong.

‘I did not want to kill him. But I did.’

However, Grass for His Pillow was a lot slower. After reading over 300 pages I am left
Nov 17, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Siona St Mark
Really good book. Kaede really grew on me (not that I didn’t like her before) and now I think she is my favorite character. Towards the end of the book I kind of stopping liking Shizuka, and I’m afraid her character arc may not be what I want to see (not a bad thing, just disappointing). Takeo was cool and I liked the changes that happened to him in this book.

Overall really enjoying this series so far!
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
I liked this book well enough, though it suffered a bit from middle-book syndrome. Both main characters seemed to be immobilised by their indecision and the cliché of “the Samurai killing themselves to sustain their honour” was way overdone. Yet again, like its predecessor, this was a beautiful and tragic story. Although now, at the end of it I feel drained. So much grief! Maybe it also my current mood, being ill while on holiday, almost breaking my kindle, winter coming… I’ll hold off on the la ...more
Jan 05, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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.
not bad but it took me a long time to get through it. i just wanted super invested in the characters. that said, i found the storyline quite fun and intriguing once i got into it, so this book was reasonably good.

sorry guys, that's all i've got to say right now! sorry about all the trashy reviews recently x
Kacey Kells
Jul 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I finished reading 'Grass for his Pillow', Lian Hearn's 'Tales of the Otori #2'. Kaede and Takeo are now secretly married (Yay!!!). But I fear the consequences.... ...more
Aug 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 02, 2014 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
Florin Pitea
Mar 23, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"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. ...more
Pam Baddeley
This second volume in the Otori trilogy commences at the point where book 1 left off. Faced with an ultimatum from the Tribe, his biological father's people, to either join them and finish his training with them, renouncing his inheritance from his adoptive father Otori Shigeru, or else be killed, Takeo has to go with them. (Takeo's adoption into the Otori clan is later declared illegal by the self serving uncles who arranged for Shigeru's murder in any case). He then endures privations and puni ...more
From April 2011 — (3.5 stars) At the end of Across the Nightingale Floor, Takeo was kidnapped by members of the Tribe, a clan of murderers who are intent on making him one of theirs. Having inherited an uncommon number of exceptional gifts from his father, he is of great value to them. Here we find Takeo at first fighting them off and attempting to flee, without success. They eventually wear him down and he gives his word that he will stay with the Tribe, even as his heart yearns for Kaede. But ...more
M.E. Vaughan
This is a great follow up from Hearn's first book of the series 'Across the Nightingale Floor'. This was another re-read for me, but was very pleasurable as I actually remembered very little of the story. I didn't enjoy this book quite as much as the first, but was still drawn in and enchanted by the poetry of the writing and the tale itself. In particular, I enjoyed Kaede's development in this book, as she grasps her own power. The growth of the characters is gradual and well-done, and I am loo ...more
Oct 10, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I enjoyed reading Across the Nightingale Floor quite a bit, but my mistake was that I didn't buy the sequels at the same time. By the time I remembered to get them, two years had passed and, possibly because of that time away from Takeo's world, I didn't enjoy this second volume nearly as much. For the first several chapters I was completely lost as to who was whom (despite reading Wikipedia's largely useless recap of Across the Nightingale Floor beforehand), and by the time I started rememb ...more
May 07, 2010 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
Aug 17, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 28, 2011 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
2017 - I am still enjoying this series more than I did the first time I read it. I never got to the final book so I am re-reading everything to prepare myself. Maybe the second reading allows me to appreciate some of the more poetic qualities of the narrative, and not get caught up in whatever elements (predictability, characterization?) irritated me the first time. It is a well-constructed story, and well-told.

2013 - I have to admit that the ending came as a shock, not because I was su
Feb 22, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 08, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 21, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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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

Other books in the series

Tales of the Otori (7 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)
  • Orphan Warriors
  • Sibling Assassins: Children of the Otori Book 2 (Tales of the Otori)

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