Tomasu was born into a small village dedicated to the Hidden, a peaceful religion, isolated from the warring Lords in other districts. But the power struggle from the outside comes and destroys the village, leaving Tomasu as the only survivor when a stranger in the forest saves his life. The stranger is Lord Otori and he adopts the boy, renaming him Takeo, teaching him the ways of the warrior class. If that was the only thing, then the boy would’ve lived a normal-ish life; what makes him different is the emergence of deadly abilities as a ninja and assassin, inherited from the father he never knew who came from the Tribe. Now Lord Otori asks Takeo to abandon what he learned about peace and to take revenge against the lord who destroyed the village and has been an enemy of the Otori for a long time. Takeo must move quickly across the nightingale (a floor that sings) and murder the lord to avenge his family, his adopted father, and save the girl he’s fallen in love with (Kadea), all before the Tribe come and claim him.
This is totally not what I expected from a young adult book. Sure, the main characters are teens, but the content is very mature. Rape (attempted), murder, suicide, conspiracy. It’s very interesting, just not the normal. Maybe that’s what makes it stand out, nothing has been sterilised for the younger audience.
To be honest, I always thought that Japan was a polite and peaceful nation. Not now. Never again. It sounds like they were highly sexed up (so much infidelity, why did they even bother getting married?), greedy, and ready to attack in an instant. This isn’t historically correct, but knowing that it’s based on lots of research of the country and it history makes me reconsider my opinion of the country.
Honour is a dominating theme; it keeps them bound to each other and separated as there are people to obey first. Marriage for love is impossible. I hate this part, honour takes away free will, Takeo cannot tell the Tribe no, Kadea must marry who she is ordered to, Lord Otori cannot marry the woman he loves. All I want to do is scream at them to just do it, screw honour, but then they mention death and it’s like ‘well, that sucks’.
I liked it and will probably continue the series. It’s well written (even with a couple of cringe worthy things that were mentioned). I’m curious as to where this is going because so far I haven’t been able to predict the next move for any of them.