The Harsh Cry of the Heron by Lian Hearn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The fourth book of this Shogunate-ish historical fantasy takes place a good fifteen years after the third book... just long enough for a certain missing son to come back as per the previous prophesy to kill his father.
Oh, boy. Just in case we weren't sure this wasn't a nasty tragedy, we now have ample proof.
This novel brings a ton of new characters and a few of the old into the fold. A solid corner of the empire, a popular rule, and the necessity to go see the emperor. The politics and the brutal necessities were very painful to me and I think I have decided to hate most of these people based only on their treatment of shooting dogs - for sport - as a replacement for war... which eventually comes anyway.
I really did like our MC's gifted twins for quite some time. Until, *spoiler, spoiler*, I want to murder one in particular.
And then there's worse to come. The transformation of intelligence and heart into honorless brutality, misunderstanding, and boundless hate.
Welcome to the Tales of the Otori.
Fortunately, the writing is beautiful and the imagery wonderful. Just be prepared for bloodthirsty Japanese soap-opera.
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