Grass for his Pillow

Written by Lian Hearn
Review by Sarah Johnson

The story of young star-crossed lovers Takeo and Shirakawa Kaede continues in the sequel to Across the Nightingale Floor. In an alternate feudal Japan, complete with warring tribes and unwritten codes of honor, Takeo has reluctantly obeyed his promise to abandon his adoptive Otori clan to join the Tribe, a group of trained assassins who are his father’s people. Here he finds himself an outsider, and his rebellious ways come under close scrutiny. Kaede, accepting that she and Takeo are destined to remain apart, returns home to the family she has not seen for years. Thought unnatural because she reads and writes like a man, the seemingly frail Kaede shows her true mettle by putting her enemies to death and raising an army to take control of her hereditary lands. Though middle books in trilogies tend to drag, Grass for His Pillow surpasses the original in drama, passion, and excitement. A surprising twist at the end will leave readers anxious for the next installment.