Book Review: Across The Nightingale Floor by Lian Hearn

Book Review: Across The Nightingale Floor by Lian Hearnby Lian Hearn
Series: Tales Of The Otori #1
Published by Penguin on 2003
Genres: Epic, Fantasy, Fiction, Historical
Pages: 320
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon

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... An international bestseller, Across the Nightingale Floor is the first book in the Tales of the Otori series by Lian Hearn.

One day, our main man, Takeo is just chilling out in the woods. He comes back to the biggest bummer ever, his whole village being massacred. Takeo then becomes lucky enough to piss off the culprit behind the massacre, but luckily he has a friend in Lord Otori Shigeru. Across The Nightingale Floor by Lian Hearn is a wonderful novel set in feudal Japan and deals with themes of honor, descision making, and identity.

I really, really enjoyed Across the Nightingale Floor. It combined many of my favorite things, historical fiction, YA, romance, fantasy and action. I feel that Hearn accomplished that feat in a way which wasn’t awkward or halting.

I felt the writing style was fantastic and kept me on the edge of my seat, so to speak. Across The Nightingale Floor begins with action, there’s no long winded exposition. Instead, we learn everything we need to know gradually. Hearn places faith in the reader, and expects the reader to figure out what they need to know from context, rather than spelling everything out. I like that the author didn’t assume I was a complete idiot.

The characters of Across The Nightingale Floor were awesome. There’s Takeo, the main character, who has assassin genes, but really he might as well be a flower child being as adverse to killing as he is. Iida, the bad guy, is scary! I would not want to meet him in a dark alley. Lord Otoris Shigeru is pretty awesome, he reminds me of that song from Mulan – “Be A Man!” There is also Kaede, she’s a kick ass female who is also a looker, according to the prose since men fall all over her.I definitely enjoyed the fact that this wasn’t a crappy Kung-Fu movie in book form, because with the themes it could have turned into that. This book was a great escapist novel, I definitely look forward to reading the rest of the series.

I would recommend drinking some Coca Cola while you read Across The Nightingale Floor by Lian Hearn. Parts of Across The Nightingale Floordefinitely had a movie feel to it, and I like to drink soda while I watch movies! Plus Coca Cola is sweet, smooth, tastes good and goes down pretty well.

Other reviews of Across The Nightingale Floor by Lian Hearn:

My Awful Reviews – “Well, Across the Nightingale Floor is my new love affair.
Iceberg Ink – “It is, for lack of a better world, gorgeous.
Read In A Single Sitting – “a beautifully wrought introduction to what promises to be a thoughtful and engaging series.

About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. bookjourney says

    Great review. I love the sound of this book. The main character sounds familiar… dont know why. Thanks for reviewing this and the part aout drinking a coke while reading it…. thats jsu good stuff! 🙂

  2. Thanks for the link! I’d probably recommend a sake or a calpis soda rather than a Coke, though. 🙂

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