Book Review – Lord Of The Dark Wood


by Lian Hearn (Pan Macmillan) ISBN 9781509812813

This is the third book in The Tale of Shikanoko series, and my perception may be skewed as I did not read the first two novels. It is, however, by an author I enjoyed greatly as a child, but Lord Of The Dark Wood is nothing like the books I remember. It lacks the fun and wonder of the magical world of the Tales of the Otori series.

This is a confusing, depressing, and somewhat aimless book that seems to be setting readers up for a future book, which may be worth your time if you are deeply invested in these characters. It has almost no relation to the original series and characters except for the Japanese setting that includes wild forests, castles, temples, and battlefields.

After flipping through my old books from Tales of the Otori, it seems as if Lian Hearn has gone from being a capable storyteller to simply having her characters spout exposition. In this book it happens whenever an action sequence is over, usually abruptly and seemingly without concluding, like a bad sitcom where a once-off peripheral character will turn to the reader and catch them up on whatever the next poorly thought out action sequence or intrigue requires them to know.

Sadly, this book lost me and I am unlikely to catch up on the Otori books that I’ve missed out on these past few years. It’s fine, just not good.

Christopher Dean
2.5/5