Genre fiction is by nature formulaic. It's all about doing the same thing over and over and over again, which is why most examples of genre fiction are derivative and uninspired.
But it's still such a disappointment to pick up something that is "popular" only to discover that it is not also "good literature." Now, watch me torture myself with the rest of the series--I already bought it remaindered. *sighs*Hearn, Lian. Across the Nightingale Floor. 2002. New York: Riverhead, 2003.Summary
: Book One of Tales of the Otori
. After his people are massacred brutally by a local lord Iida, Takeo is adopted by Otori Shigeru, and discovers that he is heir to unusual powers on his father's side. With the help of Kaede, his love (and Shigeru's bride-to-be), Takeo avenges both his village and Shigeru's death by killing Iida. Comments
: *ugh* The comparison that springs instantly to mind is the Harry Potter
series, and it is not a flattering one. I can't remember the last time I read such simplistic language so shallow-minded underneath. There is nothing beautiful here; the conventional, ham-handed prose is just a convenient template for other people's fantasies. Never mind that the author's own vision of a fantastic feudal Japan, while I'm sure lauded as inspired in some circles, just strikes me as gimmicky and lacking genuine depth. She chooses a few random artifacts of culture and harps on them endlessly--like, how many times do I need to hear that you tell time by the Chinese Zodiac? Undoubtedly, Hearn is trying to flaunt her knowledge of Japanese culture...but it just comes off as insipid. Not to mention that the novel is shamelessly predictable. Takeo-boy-wonder? Big surprise. Oh, and the way Kaede swears she'll never fall in love? I read that line hoping against hope that something surprising might happen then *bam* love at FIRST SIGHT when she sees Takeo. *garh* Popular dreck suitable for fans of the aforementioned wizard or novels like The Da Vinci Code
(the other comparison that springs instantly to mind)--for people who choke on more substantial, heartier fare. About the only thing I want to know is this: Was Takeo sleeping with that monk Makoto at the end? It was left really ambiguous. The author probably didn't even realize she was doing it. Another strike against her.Notes
: trade paperback, 1st American editionRating
- It's just...awful. So banally bad that it doesn't even inspire genuine loathing.