Monday, July 30, 2012

Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit by Nahoko Uehashi

Synopsis: You've never read a fantasy novel like this one! The deep well of Japanese myth merges with the Western fantasy tradition for a novel that's as rich in place and culture as it is hard to put down.
              Balsa was a wanderer and warrior for hire. Then she rescued a boy flung into a raging river -- and at that moment, her destiny changed. Now Balsa must protect the boy -- the Prince Chagum -- on his quest to deliver the great egg of the water spirit to its source in the sea. As they travel across the land of Yogo and discover the truth about the spirit, they find themselves hunted by two deadly enemies: the egg-eating monster Rarunga . . . and the prince's own father. 
My thoughts: Nahoko Uehashi had A lot of creativity writing this one! We are presented to Balsa, a warrior for a hire, that receives the mission to protect the Second Prince of the kingdom of New Yogo. Apparently someone was trying to kill the boy, and his mother, the Second Queen, asks Balsa to protect his son. But the prince Chagum has more things about him. He is (Spoiler) the Moribito, aka the Guardian of the Spirit, and he has within him a water spirit and he has to deliver it.
                Nahoko has a very simple way of writing, almost as if it were for teenagers or child, but it’s actually quite good. She describes every scene, every thought, every character as you go through the reading, so you are able to see their differences and don’t get so confuse. What I liked most was the fact that she created a whole new world based on ours – like the empire of New Yogo, the yakoos and everything else – and because she put a women as the main character. Balsa is tough and never runs away from her responsibilities. She learns forgiveness from the boy and he learns how to BE a normal kid and to actually love someone as well. Ok, he loved his mother but most of his life he never got real contact, you know?  Another thing that I liked is the connection the author made with all the cultures she created. It kind of shows us that we are all connected and that the world moves in one single flow. It has a lot of wisdom, I have to say.
                However, nothing is perfect right? It lacked, in my opinion, a little bit of romance. I mean, Balsa and Tanda – her childhood friend – obviously have an attraction to each other, but they don’t even share a small kiss!! I get that Balsa feels the need to save eight lives in order to repay her master’s “debt” – because he killed eight people to protect her – but come on! A little kiss won’t hurt!
                About the cover, I really liked it. The way it has been drawn reminds me of an ancient Japanese painting, and Balsa looks so stunning in that cover it gave me the line of thought to imagine every fight scene with her fierce face!

 and a half

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