Title: Across the Nightingale Floor
Author: Lian Hearn
Date completed: March 16 2016
Goodreads rating: 4 stars
In his black-walled fortress at Inuyama, the warlord Iida Sadamu surveys his famous nightingale floor. Constructed with exquisite skill, it sings at the tread of each human foot. No assassin can cross it unheard.
The youth Takeo has been brought up in a remote mountain village among the Hidden, a reclusive and spiritual people who have taught him only the ways of peace. But unbeknownst to him, his father was a celebrated assassin and a member of the Tribe, an ancient network of families with extraordinary, preternatural skills. When Takeo’s village is pillaged, he is rescued and adopted by the mysterious Lord Otori Shigeru. Under the tutelage of Shigeru, he learns that he too possesses the skills of the Tribe. And, with this knowledge, he embarks on a journey that will lead him across the famed nightingale floor—and to his own unimaginable destiny…
I can’t remember how long A and my mum/brother have been recommending that I read the Tales of the Otori series, but we’re talking years. They were completely right, I did love it, and I can’t believe it took me so long to pick up the first book!
This book has a few not so great reviews on Goodreads from people who think Hearn just wrote a really inaccurate historical fiction novel, but she does state pretty clearly at the beginning (at least in my edition) that whilst she was inspired by Japan, the world is a fantasy world, and the book is a fantasy book.
I thought Across the Nightingale Floor was fantastic. The world building was thorough but wasn’t so overwhelming that you were constantly flicking back to the map to work out where exactly you were at that particular moment of the plot. The characters were really well developed and there was enough intrigue to keep me interested without making me frustrated that I just didn’t know what was going on! The ending (no spoilers) gave me just the right amount of satisfaction, sadness, and intrigue to fulfil me but also keep me interested in the series!
I also really loved how easy this book was to read! I read it in three sittings: two 100 page session and the final 200(ish) page session. If you had a day (or probably less) to spare you could definitely read it in one sitting, which can sometimes be nice when you’re just really in the mood for reading.
Overall, I really enjoyed Across the Nightingale Floor and I’ve already picked up book 2 to start reading today!