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The Harsh Cry of the Heron (2006)

by Lian Hearn

Series: Tales of the Otori (4)

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1,3822510,537 (3.78)46
A conclusion to the Tales of the Otori series brings the conflicts of its medieval Japanese characters full circle.

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English (22)  French (3)  All languages (25)
Showing 1-5 of 22 (next | show all)
This was really depressing. Takeo and Kaede have been ruling in relative peace for sixteen years, but now everything falls apart. I really couldn't like them very much. Kaede dislikes and fears her daughters just because they are twins which turns one into the monster she is expected to be, Takeo has kept his son a secret from his wife all this time, with tragic consequences, and he's horrible to someone he should care for. They just aren't the generally nice people I remembered. ( )
  Griffin22 | Jul 27, 2020 |
To read more reviews like this, check out my blog keikii eats books!

55 points, 3 stars

“...What does the blessing of heaven mean? We know the kirin is just an animal, not a mythical creature."
"It has become a symbol now.... That is the way human beings deal with the world.”
Wow, I didn't particularly care for the previous book but that was personal preference. But this one... This one I really did not like my experience reading The Harsh Cry of the Heron. It was so boring. And long. AND BORING. Lian Hearn described everything in too much detail. Superfluous detail even. And there were so many characters we switched perspectives to. Even when they added nothing new to the story and had nothing going on in the moment.

And there was just so much that was repeated throughout the course of the book. I lost count of the amount of times the same thing happened. Or they said something was going to happen. Part of the blame rests in the amount of narration switches. But part of it is just the fault of the author repeating herself for the sake of repetition.

And have I said this was boring? Just so little happened throughout the book. The other books were slow and didn't have a lot happening in them. This was just a slog. I'm genuinely unsure how I made it to the end.

And the end was really, really not worth it. If you have read the preceding trilogy, you know how it is going to end. But you don't know what is going to happen for that ending to occur. You don't know how it is going to play out. And that is what I have so many issues with. I hated it. You aren't meant to see what happens after the fairy tale ending. Takeo and Kaede had their fairy tale ending in the previous book. I'm sad to have read this. ( )
  keikii | Jan 23, 2020 |
Disappointing after the first four books of the Otori series. From the start, this book seemed darker and my expectation was of disaster. It seemed like the author had a life change after writing the first 4 books and was in a more depressed, less optimistic, hopeful mood and the book reflected that. Not that a happy ending is mandatory for me, but rather a better rendering of the character's lives that fits the past books. This book seemed out of character for how this world was in the earlier stories and less interesting. Previously I could hardly put the books down. With this book it was almost drudgery to finish it. ( )
  ZachMontana | Jan 20, 2019 |
Stop at the third book. I should have.
The story meanders, the characters lack fullness and the ending is telegraphed from page one. ( )
  satyridae | Apr 5, 2013 |
This is the last volume in the epic tale of the Otori clan. I've enjoyed the Otori novels but the pacing of this one seemed off. This had a really slow start and the ending seemed rushed. It appeared as if the author realized the book was running long and, since this is the conclusion, needed to quickly tie up a bunch of lose threads.

One of the most disconcerting qualities was the sudden and dramatic personality shifts that occur across many of the characters in the last few chapters. Those that have been consistently heroic and honorable turn villainous. Enemies become allies. Love turns to hate. All this adds up to a massive collapse and implosion of the Otori empire that we have come to respect and admire.

Characters are important in this book. The author spends a lot of time giving us minute details about appearance, behavior and motivation. This extends even to the horses, which happen to be included in the list of characters at the start of the book. To have everything change so suddenly at the end leaves you feeling depressed and wishing for a different ending. Although, I suppose those are the same emotions experienced by the characters left standing at the end of the book. ( )
  pmtracy | Sep 14, 2012 |
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The sound of the Gion Shoja bells echoes the impermanence of all things. 
The colour of the sala flowers reveals the truth that the prosperous must decline.
The proud do not endure, they are like a dream on a spring night; 
The mighty fall at last, they are as dust before the wind. 

The Tale of the Heike / Translated by Helen Craig McCullough
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'Come quickly! Father and Mother are fighting!'
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A conclusion to the Tales of the Otori series brings the conflicts of its medieval Japanese characters full circle.

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Average: (3.78)
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2 15
2.5 10
3 55
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HighBridge Audio

An edition of this book was published by HighBridge Audio.

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An edition of this book was published by HighBridge.

» Publisher information page


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