mordicai caeli (mordicai) wrote,
mordicai caeli

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Brilliance of Tsukuyomi. (25)

Brilliance of the Moon: Scars of Victory by Lian Hearn.

Checkhov's gun holstered.
The sword of Damocles sheathed
with Occam's razor.

I didn't like the last part of the Tales of the Otori nearly as much as the first part. It wasn't bad, or even dissatisfying, but I don't think it was up to snuff with the rest. It too clearly read like "tying up loose ends," & things just too easily fell into place-- in large part through a huge piece of deus ex machina. For Takeo Otori's part of the story, that is fine: he's been fortune's fool from the outset, & has been living under the sword of Damocles. When you are part of a prophecy, I don't mind the god-machine intruding, because the writ of destiny acts like Chekhov's gun. Besides, Takeo has already had his moment of triumph, using the skills of his Tribe; the narrative event doesn't trump his personal victories. Kaede, that is another story. The trap she falls into is horrifying, & very scary-- but she only manages to escape it through storyteller fiat. That I think is the single greatest misstep of the whole series. Heck, Kaede as a "black widow killer" could have actually been handled well, sort of turning that trope on its head. That was my prediction, anyhow, but instead Kaede is robbed of her agency by deus ex machina, spoiling a bit the balance of the characters. The world moved toward the cusp of change over the course of this series; contact with the "barbarians"-- white quasi-Europeans-- bringing guns into the mix, social mingling between the castes bringing a sense of egalitarianism, poisoning the feudal structure. I'm curious to see with the "fourteen years later" sequel is like, but I think I'm looking forward more to the Shigeru Otori prequel; the Tales of the Otori shined the brightest when Lian Hearn's writing was constrained by the binding rules of the society she'd created. That is one of the pleasures of worldbuilding-- the web of plausibility, the strictures of fictional cultures. Like with haiku; having those strict forms causes your mind to dance at odd angles. For me, the best single part was the creepy way that the Tribe assassin in the beginning of the book died. It was very much a warlock's death, a hissing thing of hate & fear. Fantastic. Now-- on to the rest of Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind!
Tags: books, haiku, hearn, tales of the otori

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