Set in feudal Japan this slightly unconventional fantasy novel written by Lian Hearn is for fans of the genre and the uninitiated alike. Hearn does a beautiful job of depicting the subtle, understated nature of Japanese culture of the time while juxtapositioning the cultures beauty against the inherent cruelty of a world perpetually pitched on the knife’s edge of war.
The story follows the fate of a young boy set on a road of self discovery and revenge. Clichéd, yes, but the measure of a book like this is not in it’s originality but instead in it’s ability to weave believable, and above all, interesting characters through a compelling narrative which Hearn does a little better than most. Surrounding our young protagonist is a small contingent of supporting characters including a wilful young woman, through which the reader feels most keenly the largely patriarchal society of the period.
If you are looking for a different kind of fantasy novel or for those that balk at the traditional dungeons and dragons fair, Across the Nightingale Floor might be worth a read.
3.5 /5 stars