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Across the Nightingale Floor (Tales of the Otori) Paperback – Unabridged, 2 Apr 2004

4.6 out of 5 stars 112 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books; 2 edition (2 April 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 033041528X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330415286
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.1 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (112 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 55,270 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

Across the Nightingale Floor more than lives up to its billing as an exceptional new literary sensation, from the tragic excitement and drama of a sacked village on the opening page, to the later multi-layered court intrigues and tales of family revenge by ancient Japanese dynasties. The engaging story and appealing characters combine incredibly well to produce a highly readable book that should appeal to many different-aged readers.

Takeo is just 16 when he loses his family to the evil Lord Iida and it seems like incredible luck when he is saved from death by the noble Shigeru, rightful heir to the Clan of the Otori. As Takeo travels into new territory and towards a new, unknown life, the tribal rivalries, romances and histories at large in this new world are revealed to him. These are treacherous times. Everyone is at risk, and few can be trusted. Takeo also has a special gift--inherited skills that mark him out as different from other men. He is at once desirable and highly dangerous to those in power. His life is soon in danger.

It's a fascinating landscape and a riveting story; it's genuinely very difficult to put down once you've started it. Unusually for a children's book with so many characters, several with strange-sounding names, the story is easy to follow. The writing is exceptional, with very few words out of place. The author, a pseudonym for Australian writer Gillian Rubinstein, is generous enough to paint the characters and scenery in great detail, yet keeps the writing clipped enough for the plot to move along at a steady pace. Importantly, there are no slow bits.

The book does not flinch from adult content and is certainly a mature read. There are numerous deaths, several beheadings, torture, cruelty and even a little lovemaking. All, however, are within context and not gratuitous. (Age 12 and over.) --John McLay --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

'The most compelling novel to have been published this year' Amanda Craig, Observer --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on 25 Mar. 2004
Format: Paperback
I have always enjoyed fantasy novels, but long ago got thoroughly sick of the d&d mages and mercenaries, evil-dark-lord-of-the-north-taking-over-the-world-with-an-army-of-trolls. This is the sort of fantasy book that grabs my attention now, and it really did grab it by the throat.
As you'll have realised, it is set in Japan, and I think that it must some time in the early modern period as the 'hidden' people amongst whom the main character, Takeo, grew up sound remarkably like Japanese Christians. It has all the clichés, two lovers torn apart by war, etc, etc, but it is far from a cliché. Takeo is far from 'flat' as I've seen one reviewer describe him, he is an enormously complex character dragged this way and that by his upbringing amongst the Hidden, his powers and ties to the 'Tribe', his inheritance from the Otori and his love of Kaede. His struggles to resolve all of these different currents will take far more than one book, and having read the second (Grass for his pillow), will take more than two. If you are looking for a beautifully written historical novel with breathtaking characterisation and some magic thrown in (and let's face it, who isn't!) then this book (along with the other two in the series) will be just your cup of tea.
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By A Customer on 5 May 2004
Format: Paperback
I totally LOVED this book. I found it even more exciting than Northern Lights, and it reminded me of the film Crouching Tiger. It is set in an ancient oriental land run by violent clans and a powerful and sinister organisation called the Tribe. Takeo (the hero) finds himself torn between his loyalty to the Otori clan, The Tribe, and the Hidden - the persecuted community he was born into. Then he falls in love with the beautiful Kaede... It's SUCH an exciting book, and the best thing is, it's the first part of a trilogy, so there are two more books to read! I've already started the second book (Grass for His Pillow).
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I'm torn with this book. I loved the faux-feudal Japan setting, the political wranglings and the magical elements, but quite a few things let it down for me.

Takeo and Kaede are both apparently about 15 and yet behave not at all like 15-year-olds. I know it's a fantasy world etc, but their demeanours most of the time seemed no different to the adults they were dealing with, so very often I forgot they were meant to be much younger.

The love at first device was not to my liking at all - they take one look into each others' eyes and are immediately burned by passion and desire? Ugh, no thanks.

Much though I enjoyed the magical system in general, it was presented very haphazardly which really let it down. I've read many great books where a young student learns a new magical craft and it can be presented in such a way that the reader learns along with the character and really gets a lot from it. Aside from Takeo's hearing which was introduced quite naturally and quite well, the reader didn't witness him learning any of his other Tribe-endowed skills. We learned that the second self was a potential skill because Takeo sees Kenji use it, but it's never shown being taught. Instead Takeo sets off to research a mission and states that here he will use his second self (oh OK, so he can do that now?), here he will go invisible (WHAT, there's invisibility now?!) and so forth. Very disappointing.

There were however a couple of nice plot twists that kept me guessing right to the end and I was glad to see that Hearn wasn't scared to kill off some major characters in order to move the plot along. I probably will read the next to see what happens to Takeo now, but not in any big hurry.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A beautifully crafted work. I bought this book as a gift for my teenage son but had to read it first. The writing is spare and elegant and the landscape descriptions are luminous. The two central love stories are treated with compassion and restraint.
I am really looking forward to the next books in the trilogy.I don't read much fantasy fiction but this must surely be the best writing in this genre since Ursula Le Guin's Earthsea Quartet.
Highly reccomended for all readers aged twelve and upwards.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
One of the best novels of its kind I've ever read, this grips you from the first page and ends leaving you desperate for more. The hero is a teenaged boy who has grown up with his mother's peaceful, hidden tribe. One day he returns to discover she and his entire village has been killed by the evil war-lord who is always expanding his lands and power. Rescued by an older warrior, our hero has to learn the skills of an assassin in order to cross the impassable "nightingale floor", avenge his mother and rescue the girls he loves.
Passionate, vivid and beautifully written this is like the film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, with elements of the supernatural in combat. It will thrill anyone of over 12.
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By Em on 19 Jun. 2003
Format: Paperback
I've waited ages for this book to go into paperback, and I read almost all of it in one go!
The writing is beautifully understated and pared down, there's not an unnecessary word in it.
The characters are finely drawn and realised, Takeo is a confused mixture of boy and almost adult, with all the mixed emotions that period of life can being, and there are real female characters with real emotions and stories. I really cared about the characters and their fates, and I love the fact that some of the women can really kick it!
And the story itself is gripping and exciting - there are no compromises just because it's aimed at a younger audience, blood and death, love and passion, duty and honour, revenge and morality - it's all there...and it keeps you reading, breathlessly hurtling towards the end and all the while trying not to rush so as to keep it with you as long as possible.
I loved this book and I can't wait till the next one arrives in August.
If you liked His Dark Materials and Melvin Burgess' Bloodline, then this is for you.
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