Across the Nightingale Floor
Across the Nightingale Floor has been following me for a long time. For a long time I kept almost buying it, but never doing so. And once I finally acquired it, it also took me some time to pick it up. It was a good thing that I read it now, because my interest with oriental things waxes and wanes regularly, and right now I want everything Japanese.
Set in a Japan-but-not-Japan land, i.e., a heavily Japanese inspired land, full with its most traditional costumes, and samurais and ninjas, but not bound by the need to be totally accurate, because it's fantasy. But even the term fantasy is used very loosely here. There are hints of some things that may be magical. A term that I rarely use, but which I like, and fits this book is Speculative Fiction – a what if? kind of book.
Across the Nightingale Floor is the tale of Takeo, who has lost everything but is taken under Lord Otori's wing, who will educate him. Once Takeo's powers become apparent, his education will also be redirected to a sole objective – revenge, Takeo's and Lord Otori's.
Caught in this story is also Kaede, who has been a hostage for a long time, treated as a servant instead of a girl of high birth, and who everyone believes to be cursed.
What I loved the most was the writing style; I found it vivid and to the point, which is always a bonus. But there was a softness about it, something that made me want revel in it. The story was good, but was made great by the way it was told.
This is the first book in the series, but can easily be read as a standalone. I will read the next ones because I loved this one.