The Tales of the Otori series has long been one of my favourite books. I absolutely love stories about Japanese culture and I would love to visit there one day.
I have a feeling that this book set me on my way to being a Japanophile.
What's the story?
Well, its a split narrative between a young boy and a young girl in feudal Japan. It's a love story, and one of self-discovery. And assassins.
It starts with the young boy, Takeo, as he is found as the only survivor of his village, which was sacked by the warlord Iida due to it's religious beliefs. Otori Shigeru finds him and takes him to become his heir. Takeo looks very similar to Shigeru's recently deceased brother, making him easy to disguise.
But Takeo is born of the Tribe, and has inherited all but one of the most deadly skills available to his family, and the Tribe want him back.
My favourite part of the story is the young girl, Kaede. Her role is as a political pawn between the two noble houses. She must marry Shigeru to broker peace between Iida and the Otori clan. But she has a reputation for killing men that desire her. And she is the most beautiful girl in the country.
Why did I buy it?
Originally, my mum saw the book and picked it out for me. I wasn't too sure and chose another book instead.
About a year later, I was at the library and saw it again. I was quite reluctant to read it at first, but as soon as I read the first chapter I was hooked. I even said to my mum 'why didn't you just make me buy it that day?'. I would have worn the thing out!
Why I loved it
- It is really well written.
- The characters are really interesting and you can tell she spent ages imagining them.
- Although all the character names are Japanese, you don't get overloaded with Japanese wording.
- It's alt history, which is really fun to read.
- It's just one of those books that you can read over and over and pick up bits you missed or notice little bits of forshadowing.
- The voice actors on the audiobook I found for it are AMAZING. I listened to it for about two months in Uni. That was like 20 times.
Would I recommend it?
Hell yes! I think everyone should read it, it's on my reread list AGAIN.
There are a few sex scenes, not explicit but romantic. It's not for young readers, but I think I was 15 when I read it? I would say over 13 sounds right.
The Wikipedia page says a film is being planned, but I don't think it'll come to fruition. Which is really sad actually because it would be a really good film. Of course, most people think that until the adaptions are released.
Buy it on Amazon.
Add it on Goodreads.