55 points, 3 stars


The Harsh Cry of the Heron is the rich and stirring finale to a series whose imaginative vision has enthralled millions of readers worldwide, and an extraordinary novel that stands as a thrilling achievement in its own right.

A dazzling epic of warfare and sacrifice, passionate revenge, treacherous betrayal, and unconquerable love, The Harsh Cry of the Heron takes the storytelling achievement of Hearn’s fantastic medieval Japanese world to startling new heights of drama and action. Fifteen years of peace and prosperity under the rule of Lord Otori Takeo and his wife Kaede is threatened by a rogue network of assassins, the resurgence of old rivalries, the arrival of foreigners bearing new weapons and religion, and an unfulfilled prophecy that Lord Takeo will die at the hand of a member of his own family.

The Harsh Cry of the Heron is the ultimate conclusion to the Tales of the Otori series that both completes the characters’ lives and brilliantly illuminates unexpected aspects of the entire Otori saga.


“…What does the blessing of heaven mean? We know the kirin is just an animal, not a mythical creature.”
“It has become a symbol now…. That is the way human beings deal with the world.”


Wow, I didn’t particularly care for the previous book but that was personal preference. But this one… This one I really did not like my experience reading The Harsh Cry of the Heron. It was so boring. And long. AND BORING. Lian Hearn described everything in too much detail. Superfluous detail even. And there were so many characters we switched perspectives to. Even when they added nothing new to the story and had nothing going on in the moment.

And there was just so much that was repeated throughout the course of the book. I lost count of the amount of times the same thing happened. Or they said something was going to happen. Part of the blame rests in the amount of narration switches. But part of it is just the fault of the author repeating herself for the sake of repetition.

And have I said this was boring? Just so little happened throughout the book. The other books were slow and didn’t have a lot happening in them. This was just a slog. I’m genuinely unsure how I made it to the end.

And the end was really, really not worth it. If you have read the preceding trilogy, you know how it is going to end. But you don’t know what is going to happen for that ending to occur. You don’t know how it is going to play out. And that is what I have so many issues with. I hated it. You aren’t meant to see what happens after the fairy tale ending. Takeo and Kaede had their fairy tale ending in the previous book. I’m sad to have read this.