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Brilliance of the Moon (Tales of the Otori, Book 3) Hardcover – June 3, 2004

4.2 out of 5 stars 99 customer reviews
Book 3 of 5 in the Tales of the Otori Series

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Lian Hearn's third installment in the Tales of the Otori series Brilliance of the Moon brings a mystical and violent conclusion to the saga of Takeo Otori as he fulfills his destiny to reclaim the Otori lands. At the climax of Grass for his Pillow, Takeo's passion for his beloved Kaede was finally realized with their secret and forbidden wedding. As spring approaches, Takeo and Kaede prepare for war and embark on a campaign to reclaim their respective realms. But just when victory seems certain, Hearn characteristically uproots her characters with unseen treachery and the two lovers are again separated. Takeo must summon courage from his conflicted heritage as he marches towards his destiny. The fates of other Otori characters are also determined in a succinct and magical finale.

This third chapter in the Otori saga lives up its predecessors. Hearn's mythical ancient Japan is again brought to storybook life. Although the novel's climax comes suddenly and almost unexpectedly, the afterword hints at another tale to be told by the heirs of Kaede and Takeo's legendary rise. --Jeremy Pugh

From Publishers Weekly

Set in an imaginary medieval Japan, the pseudonymous Hearn's third elegant installment in her epic fantasy (after 2002's Across the Nightingale Floor and 2003's Grass for His Pillow) is a fragrant blend of romance and martial-arts action. Her warrior hero, Takeo Otori, feels destined to fulfill the potent prophecy of a holy woman: "Your lands will stretch from sea to sea, but peace comes at the price of bloodshed. Five battles will buy you peace, four to win and one to lose." Intrigue, heartaches and battles ensue as Takeo, of mixed blood and conflicting loyalties (to the pseudo-Christian Hidden, the noble Otori clan and the dangerous, supernaturally gifted Tribe), seeks to unite the Three Countries. Desperately in love with Kaede Shirakawa, whom he secretly wed at the end of Grass for His Pillow, Takeo must now assist her in reclaiming her lands of Maruyama while balancing his own need to avenge the deaths of his blood father and his adoptive father, Lord Shigeru. The fates of such characters as Kaede's lover, Dr. Ishida, and her nemesis, Lord Fujiwara, who's determined to possess her, provide some cool aftershocks, while the afterword adds another—that a book four may follow. FYI: Hearn is the pseudonym of Australian children's book author Gillian Rubinstein.
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Product Details

  • Series: Tales of the Otori (Book 3)
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Riverhead Hardcover; First Edition edition (June 3, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1573222704
  • ISBN-13: 978-1573222709
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.2 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (99 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #640,660 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By G. P. Kaduma on November 14, 2005
Format: Hardcover
The first book of this trilogy is the best. So rich in detail. Well defined characters. Such a good pace. It made me scour every bookshop I knew looking for the second and third books. When I found them, I got a distinct feeling that something or someone was rushing Ms. Hearn to finish the series...or she got bored with Japan....whatever the reason is it is to the detriment of the plot. You know when an unimaginative/bored person is telling a story? There's a lot of "and then...and then and then...". Hope you get my drift.
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Format: Hardcover
Fans of the Tales of the Otori won't be disappointed in Lian Hearn's final installment. Grass for His Pillow ended with Takeo repeating the prophecy: "Five battles lay ahead of us, four to win and one to lose." Brilliance of the Moon will unwind the truth behind this prophecy, even as there are mysteries that will remain (thus the suggestion that there might be another book). Questions about Takeo's past will be resolved, and so will be matters of loyalty. The battles are remiscent of those in the 'Lord of the Rings', but the scope in exclusive: again, the focus will be on the two main characters, Takeo and Kaede, and the love between them. We see the culmination of Kaede's struggle against the prejudices against her gender, although there are harsh obstacles that she will meet. While she is heir to both Shirakawa and Maruyama domains, she has to fight for her inheritance. Meanwhile, Takeo wages a desperate attempt to unite his strikingly different backgrounds: the skills and cunning of the Tribe, the 'Christian' way of the Hidden, and the noble blood and realms of the Otori. Even from 'Grass for His Pillow', it is evident that Lord Fujiwara, Lord Arai, and the Kikuta clan will figure in the battles to come. The action in Across the Nightingale Floor and Grass for His Pillow will pale in comparison. Finally, we see how the little details in 'Across' and 'Grass' will affect the outcome of events in 'Brilliance'. I suggest that you read the two books again before reading 'Brilliance' for fuller appreciation and enjoyment.
I won't give spoilers to the many who anticipate this book. just read it and witness the 'Brilliance of the Moon' - the brilliance of Lian Hearn who has enchanted me with her tale.
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Format: Hardcover
The Bad:

The books leave you on the verge of reading bliss. You are constantly waiting to cross that line where a great book becomes spectacular, but it doesn't happen. The 3 books combine into an excellent epic story, but the ending seems compact and contrived compared to the amazing depths of detail the author goes through in the first two books. I would have preferred the author to keep the detail and make the third book 1000 pages instead of the 320 or so that just is not long enough. The battles are rushed and while reading I felt like the important detail was wasted on parts of the story I found myself less interested in (only wasted in that the possible 1000 pages of material was condensed to only 320).

The Good:

That being said, the books, as a series, are some of my favorites! I would certainly purchase them again and they are definitely worth reading! I highly recommend them to anyone who enjoys the kind of Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter - esq books, though these are a bit more real in content and only dabble in magic and fantasy. Its true, I would have liked the series to have a little more detail in the last book, but these are still books that you get addicted to, reading at stop lights and long into the night. The story sucks you in and never lets you go. People actually got mad at me for neglecting my responsibilities while I finished up the series...

Conclusions:

Go get these books! They are worth your time!
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Format: Hardcover
After reading the two previous books in this trilogy, I have found that this is one of my favourites, with it being full of excitement, tension and has many ways to please your needs as a reader. Being unable to leave the book for under five minutes, I was often reading late into the night and early in the morning, regardless of the time.

The story continues after Lord Otori Takeo's marriage to his lover, Lady Shirakawa Kaede, and he now endeavours to have his adoptive fathers domain returned to him after finding that he is legally an Otori as well as being adopted by Lord Otori himself. His wife, also attempting to inherit the country of Maruyama as the original Lady of this domain had promised. However they are hindered by warlords, angered by Takeo's and Kaede's marriage, and by Takeo being of the tribe he is unwilling to return to them and is often attacked in their desperate attempt to erase their shame of being disobeyed yet again as his father had done. But Takeo is driven on wondering if he is ever likely to be caught off guard, yet the words of the blind fortune tellers prophecy still allow him to continue onward in his constant struggle and plight to return to his true home. He is certain that with Kaede, his friends and allies by his side he likes to think himself almost unstoppable.

Be prepared to read of love, revenge, triumph, fear and betrayal as well as many other emotions as you view the final exhilarating part of The Tales of The Otori.

Review By Steph Brown.
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