Welcome all dreamers, fantasists, bibliophiles, and romantics. Join me Mondays and Fridays for speculation about other worlds, exploration of the human heart and soul in fiction and fact, sojourns in history and science, advice and tidbits in the realms of story, and thoughts on everything in between...

Monday, September 30, 2013

Across the Nightingale Floor by Lian Hearn: Read, Part 3 (Chapters 5-6)

Today, we resume our read of Across the Nightingale Floor by Lian Hearn, a Japanese inspired fantasy about vengeance, love, and destiny.

To catch up or review previous parts of this read for readers and writers, click here.



Chapter 5

Takeo learns quickly and well the ways of assassination and can even be in two places at once. While sneaking out of the house, the man who warned his village of Iida’s attack sees him. He manages to convince the man that he is not Tamosu of the HIdden. Later, Shigeru has a tea room and nightingale floor constructed at his house. The nightingale floor is like Iida’s. Supposedly, no one can cross it without making it sing, thus preventing assassins from getting close. But Takeo masters the trick of crossing it in utter silence.

Then Shigeru’s uncles finally agree to allow Takeo’s adoption on the condition that Shigeru marry Kaede. Shigeru agrees, and when they get home, Takeo tells him all he overheard during the adoption: how Shigeru’s uncles were the ones who tried to have him assassinated, how his uncles are trying to get him out of the way because they want peace with Iida, and how they intend to trap him with the marriage. However, Shigeru has no intention of marrying Kaede, merely of using the impression of marriage to get close enough to Iida to stop him.

Reader Comments: I thought of breaking this chapter into pieces and addressing each, but so much was little vignette after little vignette. It would have been too many pieces. However, doing it in one section I think makes it easier to see the connections. I really hope Kaede and Takeo end up together. I think he would care for her like she needs.

Writer Comments: There is something satisfying about a hero doing exactly what we want him to because it’s heroic. This isn’t the same thing as being predictable. No, this is staying true to character. We know Shigeru is a man of honor and goodness. He will not break his vow to the woman he loves, yet he will also do all he can for Takeo, the boy he vowed to adopt and protect. While the hero’s qualities can be challenged and pushed--the press for him to marry Kaede--we like to know our heroes are heroes all the way through when it really counts.

Chapter 6

Lady Maruyama takes Kaede away to be married to Shigeru. Along the way, she realizes how little Kaede knows of what a warriors daughter should know. She begins having Kaede trained in the sword and knife. To Kaede’s shock, her maid does the training. Then, at last, the Otori meet them. Upon seeing Takeo, Kaede falls for him instantly. Yet she must still marry Shigeru and conceal her true feelings.

Reader Comments: So Kaede’s maid is of the Tribe. I wondered. Apparently, to be more precise, she is Kenji’s niece. So the pieces of the puzzle draw closer together.

Writer Comments: Though we do not yet know exactly how the story will play out, Hearn gives us hope for Kaede’s happiness. She is in love with Takeo, and we can presume that, somehow, they will end up together. It is one thing to throw stones at a character--this should be done--but give a sense of hope too. After all, the hero must might for something. The reader must read for something.

Thank you for joining me for today’s chapters of Across the Nightingale Floor by Lian Hearn. We’ll resume this read next Monday. Until then, join me this Friday for an interview with author Mae Clair, who will share with us about her writing and her new release, Twelfth Sun, which was loads of fun to read.

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