I so much wanted to rate this trilogy with 5 stars. Yet, parts of the third book disappointed me so terribly much I even stopped reading for a while to stare at the room wondering if I really just read what I read. Was there another author at work here? Did the translator do a terrible job on this section?
EDIT: I knew it! I just learnt that the third book was translated by another translator than the first two books. Strange how an impact this has had on my enjoying of the story...
Don't get me wrong. The story is absolutely wonderful and amazingly written. The only minor negative point, which I have read in several reviews, is the overly repetition of certain elements, like the books aren't meant to be read in a short span of time.
In the third book however, Murakami gets so clumsy at times (I can't find a better word than `clumsy') in weaving the stories of the two main characters together. In one chapter he even, for a single page in this 1300 page novel, changes the narrative point of view to the omniscient one! He then continues to struggle with the timelines of the characters' stories only barely keeping things together in a readable fashion. That was really a put-down to me.
Finally, the book seems to be heading for an anti-climax for a long time, but in the very end, I was kind of happy with the way things worked out after all.
Anyway, overall I must say I enjoyed these books very much. The first two books certainly hold one of the greatest stories I have ever read. So original, such compelling characters, such intricate mystery... absolutely amazing. Recommended for al fantasy lovers who are looking for something without dragons and elves. :-)