Ordinarily I'm a little shy about writing up book reviews, but I was surprised at how difficult it was to google for a comparative review of the four books Yukio Mishima's Sea of Fertility tetralogy.  I would've very much liked to have seen more folks' thoughts on how each of the books compared to each other before I set out to read this series.  So, for the sake of Making the Internet a Better Place™, I now offer my thoughts.

(There are spoilers—none so major as to spoil enjoyment of the books, I think, but I tend to not mind spoilers as much as the average person, so take that for what you will.)

Spring Snow )

Runaway Horses )

The Temple of Dawn )

The Decay of the Angel )

Ultimately, I feel that perhaps Mishima is at his best when writing about younger people. His work is romantic in character, full of bombastic, colorful prose that feels well-suited for his younger characters but a bit strange when they begin to age. And the subject matter simply fits his favorite themes better—young men acting rashly and nobly is inspiring; seeing aging men behaving the same way often seems more like erraticness and stupidity, and Mishima does not always handle the distinction elegantly.

Overall, I'd recommend Spring Snow to anyone, and recommend Runaway Horses if you really enjoyed Spring Snow. The Temple of Dawn is skippable, and The Decay of the Angel has its moments if you wish to see the series's conclusion.