Daylight Day 67: Hate Twilight? You may like. . .

Wandered the mall searching for anyone who wasn’t sparkling. I was all alone. Six Santas sat in a gutter, weeping and tolling their bells.

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On “Top Gear”, Clarkson and James May hugged each other and wept. I lost my bet that Richard’d be the first to turn EMO. (It’s his hair.)

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Lately I’ve been re-reading the Otori saga trilogy by Lian Hearn. The beauty of the writing takes my breath away.

The books are called (in order), “Across the Nightingale Floor”, “Grass for his Pillow” and “Brilliance of the Moon”. There are more books (which shall be mine, my precious, oh yes. . .), but those three do wrap up the two main plotlines.

The series is set in a fictional place similar to feudal Japan – including a Samurai-like warrior class, a Tribe of assassins with innate powers (such as acute hearing), and a pacifist sect called “The Hidden” who are hated because of their belief that even great Lords are only men – on the same level as outcasts.

The main character is born and raised by the Hidden, but his father was from the Tribe (which means he is both valuable and powerful – which is bad, because the Tribe will kill him if he doesn’t obey their laws – including killing people they don’t like). When his entire Hidden village is massacred, he is saved and adopted by the rightful head of the Otori warrior class. Further complications ensue.

And then there’s the girl. . .

I think it’s best described as a political thriller, as the hero attempts to survive intense political intrigues, conflicted loyalties, and assassinations. It’s also fantasy, and the romance is central (particularly since the girl is an extremely important bargaining piece – as she knows very well). A man’s sense of honour is also extremely important.

It’s worth noting that I generally dislike political thrillers. The writing is what makes these books sing, and there’s no way of describing it accurately. If you don’t like the first twenty pages, you won’t like it.

I’d rate them PG to M, depending on the book (PG for the first). There is plenty of violence, and some sex (rather gently described – more like a classic painting than a sex scene).

Also unlike “Twilight”, the characters care about more than just themselves and the person they think is really, like, hot. As a result, they do stuff other than sighing and lolling about. I like that.

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