Rated of 5
Absolute DITTO to all wonderful comments previously posted. I've read (and own) some of the finest fiction in various sub-genres and this volume I of 3 had mealso desperately waiting for #2. A heavy local library supporter, Nightengale Floor I bought, and ordered #2 & #3 immediately... in hardcovers (and I'm poor). And yes, I also lost sleep and chores waited, and I passed each of them to my 16-yr old daughter who held her breath, cried, exclaimed, lost sleep, as much as I did. Don't anyone stop with volume I (as if you could!), Also insist that your libraries and local bookdealer get Grass For His Pillow and Brilliance of the Moon as well. And be sure to read in sequence. Each picks up at very scene where left off. And utilize benefit of Cast of Characters, it helps.
If you loved this, a slightly more difficult find but oh-so-well worth the effort (avail in paperback from Random House) is "Bridge of Birds - A Novel of An Ancient China That Never Was" by Barry Hughart... think a has-been Charlie Chan meets Crouching Tigen, Hidden Dragon in the 7-Seas of Sinbad, written with incredible tenderness and humor and excitement. Another sleep-loser. And if you say you're never moved to laugh out loud or cry while reading, test this one. For me, it set a standard for Tales of the Otori to match, and they did.