Read Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit by Nahoko Uehashi Cathy Hirano Online


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 PrincYou'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. ...

Title : Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780545005425
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 248 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit Reviews

  • Cyna
    2019-02-14 19:42

    So I thought this was going to be a short one, because, well, the book is pretty short, and I didn't think I had much to say about it. Then I started writing, and NGL, totally fangirling, but I don't even care, because this series is fucking awesome, y'all. While Moribito isn't perfect, it was a genuinely pleasurable reading experience, and I would gladly commit gratuitous acts of imaginary violence to have more like it.For those who skipped the summary, Moribito is the story of Balsa, a thirty-year-old bodyguard, who is tasked with protecting a prince after it's discovered that he carries a water spirit inside of him, which must hatch in order to prevent the country from suffering a terrible drought. The book follows their quest to ensure both the survival of the prince, Chagum, and the development of the spirit within him.The thing you should probably be aware of, as a reader, is that Moribito is, for the most part, a children's book. I've seen it on some urban fantasy lists on Goodreads, and expecting it to be something along the lines of, say, the Mercy Thompson or even Vampire Academy series isn't quite accurate. It's a fairytale, a fantasy adventure for children, with all of the sweet magic, creatures, and world-building that this implies. That doesn't mean that it's not still enjoyable for adults, but it's definitely not the GrittyGrittyMurderANGSTSexLoveManFest that a lot of UF titles are. Think of it like a Pixar movie - it works for kids, but has enough meat and emotional relevance to appeal to adults as well.The prose, storyline, and focus are simpler. The side characters can be a little flat. I'm not sure if it's a result of the translation, or the prose itself, but the writing can be heavy on the "tell" side, and there are more than a few eyebrow-raising anachronisms that I suspect might be the result of localization. The story isn't terribly complex or deep.But - and it's a big BUT - Moribito is more than worth the read for the joy of it; for the main characters, for their problems, for their bonds and their journey together, and oh sweet baby Cheesus, for Balsa.I love Balsa. Over the course of two books and one anime series, she's easily become one of my favorite characters, and you'll all be receiving invitations to witness our glorious marital union within the month. There is just so much about her that is awesome: she's thirty, she's a bodyguard, she has lines on her face and bags under her eyes, she's honest and brave and noble, she can take out a team of highly-trained assassins on her own, she's rough around the edges, and holy fucking shit of surprises, her life does not revolve around romance, but she loves and defends the people who've collected around her and become her family.Balsa is basically the kind of female hero I want to read about more often. She's so wonderfully competent, at her job, in the decisions she makes, as a leader, that it makes me want to cry, and not a little because truly competent female heroines are so rare...Read full review at You're Killing.Us.

  • TheBookSmugglers
    2019-01-31 20:48

    Originally reviewed on Kirkus' Science Fiction & Fantasy Blog“Your Highness,” she said. “I’ve already explained that no matter how much you might give me, it’s no good to me if I’m dead. Forgive my rudeness, but I must speak plainly. You have dealt me an unfair and cowardly blow.”The queen went pale and began to tremble violently. “What do you mean?”“I saved the prince’s life, yet you reward me by taking my life. What would you call that but unfair and cowardly?”On the prosperous, island kingdom of Yogo, the divine king Mikado rules absolute, his veins carrying the precious blood of the god Ten no kami. When the Mikado’s son, the Second Prince Chagnum, is thrown from his carriage in a freak accident, he’s nearly killed; luckily for Chagnum, a traveling warrior named Balsa is in the right place at the right time and saves him from certain death.A bodyguard-for-hire renowned for her fierceness with a spear, Balsa is rewarded for her good deed by being invited by the Second Queen to the palace—where she is promptly ambushed and implored by the desperate queen to protect her son. The carriage incident was no accident, and the Second Queen is convinced that the Mikado and his Star Reader priests are trying to kill her son for the good of the kingdom, as they believe Chagnum is possessed by a water demon that will cause a catastrophic drought. As fierce as Balsa may be, she cannot leave the innocent Chagnum to such a horrible fate, and accepts the role as his bodyguard. Little does Balsa know that Chagnum’s survival will determine the destiny of the kingdom, and the secret of the young prince’s “possession” will unlock the forgotten truth behind Yogo’s layered and rewritten past.This review can be summed up in a single word: wow.After reading and striking out with so many new superhero books (not to mention culturally appropriative “Japanese-inspired” fantasy novels), it was with a wary eye that I picked this book as the subject for my Kirkus contribution this week.* Thankfully, Guardian of the Spirit was a soothing balm for my frayed patience. A beloved best-seller in its native country of publication, Japan, the Moribito books have since been adapted into a manga series, an anime series and a radio drama, and finally made their way to the United States in 2008. It’s easy to see why Balsa and her cohorts have found such a strong following across languages and formats—suffice it to say, dear readers, this book completely rocks.You may be wondering where superheroes fit in, as by all counts Guardian of the Spirit appears to be a feudal Japanese-type fantasy novel (right?). In my opinion, Balsa is—without a doubt—a superhero and on a hero’s journey. Though she has no superpowers per se, Balsa is an incredibly skilled warrior (though not infallible and clearly mortal) and, most importantly, she fights to protect those who have no protectors. She’s female, she’s 30 years old (another point in the awesome column), and she’s a bonafide badass with a chip on her shoulder.**What’s so intriguing about Balsa as a character, however, is her surprising empathy; she’s not just a badass killing machine with no heart, nor is she reduced to a matronly figure (as, unfortunately, older female superheroes often seem to be labeled). No, Balsa is strong without being abrasive, and she’s emotionally genuine without being pigeonholed as a motherly role model. Nor is Balsa objectified or sexualized—she’s underestimated by other warriors (who see her as an easy target, alone on the road as she is), but I love that she’s appreciated and valued for her bravery, her heart and her skill.The same appraising awesomeness can be said for the other main female character in the text (a surprise assumption that I don’t want to ruin). Furthermore, author Nahoko Uehashi (a professor of ethnology at the Kawamura Gakuen Women’s University in Japan) pays careful attention to Balsa’s Japanese-inspired world and the different ethnicities and beliefs of the people in that world. Religious tolerance, displaced indigenous people, traditions and histories rewritten by the victors are all major themes in Guardian of the Spirit, and each executed to perfection.This all sounds rather introspective and clinical, doesn’t it? Allow me to fix that, because really, Guardian of the Spirit is an action book. Uehashi has an unparalleled talent for explosive action sequences (it’s easy to see how this book lends itself to an anime series!) to compliment her fast-moving, high-stakes plot, and paints vivid images of Balsa throwing her shuriken and whipping her spear around in a brilliant flash of silver and blood as she battles iron-clad men and tentacled monsters alike.***And the best part? The best part is that there is a second book, a translated manga series, and a dubbed and subtitled anime series waiting for any new fans just discovering the magic of Moribito. I, for one, cannot wait for more of Balsa and her friends.In Book Smugglerish, 9 flashing spears out of 10.----------* I’m looking at you Stormdancer and Daughter of the Flames.** Though you may be thinking Wonder Woman, Balsa is actually more akin to Batman: same traumatic backstory, same very human/non-superpowered background, same sharp edges and violence.*** Big time props must also be given to Cathy Hirano, who does a phenomenal job in this English translation.

  • Betsy
    2019-01-24 18:45

    No one can look you in the eye and tell you that kids today don't read Japanese literature. A simple stroll by the manga section of any well-stocked bookstore will put your mind to rest on that particular matter. But what the kids aren't reading these days is Japanese prose. How many novels for kids, translated from Japanese, can you come up with off the top of your head? Living as we do at a time when children's literature is profitable and all encompassing, you would think that publishers would be scrambling to fill the sudden need kids have for all things Japanese. I get ten-year-olds at my Reference Desk asking for information about Japan all the time and manga made it cool. Now it's time to expand their little craniums with some quality literature. Quality literature that involves egg-eating monsters, glorious fight sequences, strong female characters, and a clear-headed view of how politicians warp history to serve their own ends. Looking for a new kind of fantasy for the kiddies? Talk up something with a little more oomph. Talk up Moribito.I'm sure you've heard of soldiers for hire, but bodyguards for hire? That's the job Balsa has had for years, and anyone who has ever met her will tell you that she's good at what she does. In fact, saving people is so ingrained in her that when she sees a prince thrown off a high bridge into the raging waters below she immediately saves his life. No good deed goes unpunished, however, and soon enough Balsa is roped into guarding the prince full time. It seems that the boy is carrying some kind of spirit within himself, and his father the Mikado is determined to kill his boy for the sake of the empire. To save him, Balsa will need to find out the truth behind long-forgotten ancient legends and fight off the Mikado's secret fighting force in order to save not just a prince, but an entire country as well.I'm an adult reviewer of children's books. As such I'm supposed to carry around with me this lofty air, deigning me to be the guardian of great children's literature, and so on, and so on, and so forth. There's always that feeling that while I can judge a book from a critical standpoint, I'm not actually supposed to enjoy the book, per say. But I really loved reading Moribito. I did! From start to finish I found it fun, intelligent, and really well put together. Some authors never really establish a firm grasp on the world in which their characters inhabit. Others, like Ms. Uehashi, flesh it out so well that you're half convinced that you could buy a plane ticket there, should the fancy strike you. Uehashi also tackles several aspects of this book particularly well. She writes remarkable fight scenes, knows how to create three-dimensional characters (so that you're trying to determine if a villain is bad or just misinformed), and manages to tell kids a little something about powerful people and their weaknesses that in a lesser writer's hands might have turned didactic, or worse, dull. Instead, the reader is sucked into the book right from the start and you'll find your sleeping and eating cast aside in lieu of getting just one more chapter down.Getting back to that comment I made about the villains in this piece, Uehashi has the uncanny ability to slip easily from one character's mind to another without forcing her narrative to become herky jerky. She recognizes that few people in this world would describe themselves as villains. As such, almost everyone in this book is under the distinct impression that what they are working towards is the greater good. Except, ironically enough, Balsa.Why is it that whenever I run across a woman who becomes a hero in a physical sense, be it in film, television, or literature, the temptation is to always compare her to Buffy the Vampire Slayer right off the bat? Because that's the feeling Balsa creates in a reader. She exudes confidence. When you first see her she acts without hesitation in rescuing the prince. Too often when an author writes a tough female heroine, you end up in a head full of doubts and quibbles. What I liked about Balsa was the she was basically a jock. She's good at the physical stuff, at making decisions, and at protecting people. The subtleties of personal relationships and the like are not for her. Still, when you run across a heroine this singular your brain sometimes tries to think of similar characters so that you'll have some point of reference. At one point I even thought about comparing her toKiki Strike . . . until I realized that for all her tough-woman attitudes, we feel much closer to Balsa than most females in other books. Uehashi really makes her likeable and strong in ways that stick with you.Extra crispy and delicious kudos to the translation done by Cathy Hirano, by the way. Every once in a while I would have to punch my own leg to remind myself that I wasn't reading the original text. But how often do you find a translator willing to come up with sentences like, "Fire was anathema to a creature accustomed to living in the cold, dark mud,"? Not often enough.People will tell you that boys won't read novels with girls on the cover. Not even one with a full repertoire of kicks, punches, dodges, and feints at her disposal. This is not always true but it is often the case (I've seen it first-hand). Moribito, in spite of its thirty-year-old female protagonist, may have an advantage over other books though, in part because it has a lot of points in its favor. First of all, the Moribito series (ten books in total) is very popular in Japan. The first book was even adapted into an animated series, and that's something you can talk up. Should this novel do well in sales, I could even see an adapted manga version being written/transferred to America as a companion piece. If a librarian/bookseller/teacher/parent wanted a kid to read this book, all they'd have to do would be to stress the action sequences (and the slam bang beginning will help in this matter), the Japanese heritage, and the cool anime series. Sell it to them well and those kids that already love Jeff Stone'sThe Five Ancestors series will come crawling back for more. This is a book that deserves to be discovered. Ages 9-14.

  • branewurms
    2019-01-26 15:36

    4 1/2 stars. It wasn't perfect, but man, it was really damn good. The prose is smooth, although a little flat, and the book relied a little too heavily on introspection as a method of relaying information, I think. But it was really gripping, and wow, the expertise of the author really shines through in the worldbuilding. I was also surprised at how well the themes of colonialism and such were handled - and how clearly deliberately thought out they were. This ain't your standard poor lost prince narrative. Uehashi is obviously conscious of this stuff and knows what she's doing.Need I even mention the awesomeness of the whole AWESOME HARD-BITTEN BADASS SPEAR-WIELDING BODYGUARD LADY for a main character thing? Or the bonus of her gentle healer figure of a male love interest? Who she can't seem to settle down with, because, omg y'all, ~fighting is in her bones~. Gender-role reversals ftw! Like I said, Uehashi is conscious of this stuff and knows what she's doing. (...Although it must be said, I am still a little confused at having a 30 year old woman as the main character of a YA series. Not that I have a problem with it, mind you! I'm just confused.)Oh, and the action scenes! The action scenes were fantastic. I usually have a lot of trouble following what's going on in fight scenes in prose form, but in this book they were so clear, and they flowed so well! These are the sorts of action scenes you study to find out how it's done.I was surprised by how much more I liked the book than the anime. I only watched about half the anime before getting distracted from it - the anime certainly had a well-told storyline, with excellent characterization and world building, etc., but somehow it just never engaged me much emotionally. The original book is much tighter and faster paced, and while the anime admittedly used its extra space for more in-depth, nuanced characterization, the book was just somehow far more gripping to me.

  • Shira Glassman
    2019-01-23 14:45

    Loved this. Someone recommended it to me because there's a prominent warrior woman in my series, so they thought Balsa would appeal to me. She does, but I like the book for many reasons besides her. What I loved most was the way two factions who start out the book at odds with each other wind up learning that they're actually on the same side against a real enemy. I liked the ultimate message of how two sides had to combine two pieces of a legend in order to defeat the Plot Thing.Balsa rescues, protects, nurtures, and trains a boy in this story, which combines so many elements dear to me: women as rescuers, women rescuing men, the juxtaposition of strength with nurturing instead of being opposite, and a boy having a female mentor (because why not? Except we hardly ever get to see that.)The settings in this book are vivid and colorful, whether cityscape, palace, or mountain refuge. I also didn't find the speculative elements of the worldbuilding too stressful to comprehend, which for me is an important piece of information when choosing my SFF reading material.

  • Aravena
    2019-02-20 17:34

    Moribito is a rare kind of story that....(1) has everything (action, drama, fantasy, politic, slice of life, romance); and(2) makes all of them work.Revolving around a female bodyguard and a prince she's entrusted with, the narrative of Moribito is as elegant as it gets. I always love it when an author can deliver a deep and substantial storyline in very accessible format, and Nahoko Uehashi sure is terrific at that. The book strikes a difficult balance by being a child-friendly reading thanks to its easily digestible prose, while also presenting a rich setting, meaty themes with real life parallels, and mature characterization. Furthermore, Uehashi displays a strong grasp of plotting and consistent cause-and-effect dynamics, which many writers often neglect. Before we get further to the specifics, let's meet the heroine:(view spoiler)[ (hide spoiler)]"Before all else, Balsa is a warrior."Balsa is a pretty unique fantasy protagonist by virtue of (a) being a woman, (b) being thirty, and (c) having spear as her weapon of choice. It's also great that she comes off as a believable and likable character, instead of some Ultra Powerful Perfect Being. I love the way she fights; she can overcome disadvantageous situation not by relying on brute force or some random magical power, but through combination of skill, stratagem, and emotional intelligence. Balsa is fierce as hell--but she's also sincere, humorous, and humane in ways that I find relatable.The world of Moribito is just as engaging as its heroine. In her endnote, Uehashi explains that she wanted to create a setting that combines the fantasy world of her imagination with the cultural aspects of her hometown and actual real life. The result is New Yogo, a land with its own set of folklore, political structure, and history, as well as the intriguing concept of dual worlds--Sagu (physical world) and Nayugu (mythical/spiritual world). Stellar bits of world-building are scattered all over Moribito, as characters take in their surroundings, discuss the origins of their folklore, or traverse the heart-rending beauty of Nayugu.While this book is nominally a fantasy work, this isn't a story where characters fly, throw energy balls at each other, and teleport all over the place. Instead, it has a more spiritual feel in its fantastical elements, using its own lore and a range of magical creatures as platform for symbolism and exploration of realistic issues. How should we act against a force of nature; how we perceive the icons in our myths and legends; how can we gain new insight by not settling with old preconceptions--these are the questions asked in the book, as they're weaved seamlessly into the storyline and its main conflict. The characters are yet another mark of Moribito's excellence. Just as you'll learn to love Balsa, you'll also love Tanda, her longtime friend as well as a gentle and gifted man; and Chagum, the prince who gradually matures during his difficult plight. Supporting characters are presented with clearly defined motivations and perspectives, and in "Why Moribito is So Great, Reason #2375": (view spoiler)[there is no traditional villain in the story. Instead, there are various people with different goals, which cause them to clash with each other. And yet, once they actually attempt to understand each other and the situation they're in, they manage to overcome their differences and work together to achieve a mutual goal(hide spoiler)]. Moribito: Guardian of Spirit is a poignant journey, and I enjoy every bit of its poetic world-building, sociocultural tangents, and emotional bonding between its memorable characters. I enjoy every page of it. (the images used here are from the anime adaptation of the book. Interestingly, despite being an adaptation, the anime might be a more complete version of the story as it adds extra sub-plot and events that lend even more nuances to the characters. Still, it all started with the extremely strong foundation of plot and characters in this book, which makes it a worthy read for aspiring fantasy novelists or those of us who simply want to read a good ol' story).["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

  • Roya
    2019-01-28 17:36

    Reminded me of Ursula LeGuin, but not as powerful. LeGuin's philosophy runs much deeper. Uehashi is a good storyteller with a painfully ordinary plot, and only a little bit of depth which I suspect will be deepened in the next books of the series.

  • Mery
    2019-02-17 22:34

    Guardian of the Sacred Spirit, judulnya keren. Penjaga Roh. Moribito kalau bahasa Yogonya.Baca ini membuat kita terlempar dalam dunia yang dibuat oleh imajinasi Nahoko Uehashi. Dunia yang melibatkan Jepang dan mitos-mitos kunonya. Dunia yang isinya ada pendekar wanita, kerajaan kecil, dan para penafsir bintang.Suatu tempat pada abad pertengahan, bernama New Yogo, kerajaan baru yang muncul ketika seorang raja muda bernama Tarugaru datang ke tempat itu membangun kerajaannya sendiri dengan bimbingan seorang penafsir bintang bernama Kainan Nanai. Kerajaan itu muncul tanpa memandang sekeliling meluluhlantahkan pemukiman primitif yang dikenal dengan nama suku Yokoo.Sebagaimana penduduk primitif yang dijajah bangsa asing, mereka melarikan diri ke pegunungan bukannya melawan hak mereka. Para penguasa baru itu meleburkan seluruh sejarah mereka, mitos mereka hingga akhirnya 2 abad kemudian bagaikan senjata makan tuan, para penguasa baru itu ketar ketir ketika mitos bangsa yokoo muncul ke dunia mereka.Balsa, seorang pendekar wanita diberi tugas untuk melindungi Pangeran Kedua dari kerajaan New Yogo, bernama Chagum. Dipercayakan bahwa di dalam tubuh Chagum terdapat Nyung Ro Im atau telur roh awan. Roh yang menurut bangsa Yokoo adalah roh pembawa hujan yang membuat negara mereka subur.Dengan bantuan Tanda, seorang ahli tenung, Balsa menyelamatkan Chagum dari kejaran Rarunga sang pemangsa telur. Dan dengan adanya kejadian ini, terkuak pula mitos dan sejarah yang sebenarnya mengenai kerajaan new yogo.Sukaaa sukaaa sukaaa banget sama ceritanya. Aku kira sang Moribitonya si Balsa ternyata Chagum. Duh keren banget sih Balsa ini. Jago berantem gitu ^^Endingnya bikin aku menangis terharu.Aku suka covernya, pembatas bukunya, dan ilustrasinya.Hiks hiks Matahati oh Matahati kenapa kau begitu tega? Andai Spooks Series juga begini nasibnya

  • Laura
    2019-02-02 17:45

    This is an international book that has been translated from Japanese to English, but doesn't miss a beat with the translation. After Balsa saves the young prince from drowning in a river, his mother the Second Queen, hires Balsa to protect Chagum, the 11-year-old prince. She fears his life is in danger because of a spirit that lives inside him. Balsa agrees to protect the child from his father the Mikado, and the dangerous spirit hunter Rarunga. As the pair narrowly escape danger at every turn we learn the truth about the spirit living inside Chagum and the lost history of Yakoo people.Appropriate for grades 6 and up, Moribito is an excellent story that will capture any fantasy lover's attention. I loved the adventure, the strong female protagonist, the secondary characters, and the resolution to this story. At times the folklore and fantasy related storyline became a bit complicated and needed a reread to ensure comprehension, it doesn't slow the reader down too much. A must for anime and manga readers (even though it isn't a graphic novel).

  • Feby
    2019-02-14 14:27

    Kisah mengenai seorang bodyguard cewek bernama Balsa, yang dapat tugas (atau pemaksaan) melindungi seorang pangeran kedua kerajaan New Yogo, Chagum, yang diincar nyawanya oleh ayahnya sendiri akibat diduga dirasuki roh jahat, demi melindungi reputasi sang ayah. Tetapi belakangan diketahui ternyata yang ada dalam tugas Chagum adalah telur makhluk penjaga air dan roh jahat yang ditakuti oleh kerajaannya adalah Rarunga, si pemakan telur. Jadilah cerita bergulir bagaimana para tokoh kita menghadapi si rarunga.Intinya sih begitu. Aku cukup puas dengan bacaan segar ini. Balsa yang tadinya kubayangkan sebagai tokoh superwoman, ternyata punya sisi kemanusiaan yang gimana ya... sangat manusia. Ketergantungannya pada nafsu untuk bertarung, yang dicoba diselubunginya dengan alasan menebus dosa. Sementara Chagum yang tegar, berubah dari pangeran manja menjadi anak lelaki yang kuat.Aku sudah sempat nonton animenya, tapi kurasa jauh lebih bagus novelnya ini. Pujian juga untuk Matahati, karena terjemahannya yang apik ini. ^^

  • horses are coming
    2019-01-27 19:32

    Haruka Ayase does this name sounds familiar? maybe? I don’t think so! Haruka Ayase is a popular Japanese actressthat I loved watching her playing the main character of my favorite book ( Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro ) which makes me search if she got any other tv show that I would like watch and then I found that she got a tvshow going on of three seasons which its the adaptation of this book. Basically Haruka Ayase is the main reason why I read this book. anyway so of all my 500 friends here on goodreads not single of them has read this book and only one marked it as to-read which made me feel sad because I usually start read a book after checking my lovely friends opinions! so it was quite good experience to be honest Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit is my first Japanese fantasy story that I read and I must say this book was really good. wow and Impressive that’s all I can say about it and I hope the second book doesn’t disappoint meI don’t really know why I didn’t give it five stars maybe because of the weird character/places names 4.5/5 here are some excerpts from Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit by Nahoko Uehashi : “The tiniest thing can make a difference between life and death.”“but once you learn to fight, you seem to attract enemies…. Sooner or later, those who master the art of combat must end up fighting.”“If you want to save someone in the middle of a fight, you can only do it by hurting someone else. While saving one person, you earn yourself two or three enemies. After a while, it becomes impossible to figure out how many people you’ve really saved”“Flowers can’t move, yet the insects come to them and spread their pollen. Trees can’t move either, but birds and animals eat their fruit and carry their seeds far and wide.”“Sometimes a kind person who lived a good and peaceful life is killed by some good-for-nothing who spent his entire life sponging off his family. You won’t find any fairness in this world.”

  • Chechu Rebota
    2019-02-13 18:52

    Una gran sorpresa, normalmente las novelas ligeras (un estilo literario puramente japones destinado a adolescentes y a leerse en un santiamén) suelen tener un estilo pobre, para hacer avanzar la historia se apoyan más en los diálogos que en la narración de la acción y en la descripción de las escenas, por lo que la mayoría parecen guiones más que una narración literaria.Moribito: el guardián del espíritu , pese a darle una gran importancia al diálogo presenta una narrativa más elaborada, lo que permite unas escenas de acción entendibles y fáciles de seguir. Es cierto que una vez Balsa y Chagum se encuentran con Tanda el libro pierde ritmo, pero pese a ello la historia no deja de avanzar y aprovecha para perfilar mejor a los personajes, haciéndolos mucho más interesantes.Una lectura muy entretenida, que presenta a unos personajes interesantes entre los que destaca una protagonista femenina realmente fuerte y carismática.

  • A_Esther
    2019-02-17 19:49

    Moribito is a high fantasy tale with subtle hints of heroic romance. From the very first pages, the reader literally dives in with Balsa, a 30 year old spear wielding bodyguard for hire, who jumps off a cliff into dark waters below to save a young prince. Balsa is strong, courageous, observant, and a formidable warrior. But Balsa is also a commoner in a foreign land and a woman. Her reward for saving the young prince is a plea from his mother, the second queen, to protect his life from assassins. While Balsa works to save the prince (who’s been charged with a supernatural mission of his own) from assassins of this world and another, we discover what makes her hard on the outside. The reader is privy to Balsa’s journey of self-discovery as she fights an internal battle to open herself to the love of a Yakoo healer or remain a warrior alone.The text of the story is printed in dark blue ink and features manga-like drawings smattered as punctuation throughout. These drawing, also done in blue ink, provide a visual preview of events to come for the different parts of the story. Each page has a small blue symbol at the top with the same symbol inverted at the bottom. The images are connected by a dotted blue line, with page numbers in the center of the dotted line on the middle of the pages. The visual result is a world of fantasy framed within the boundaries of this delicate border.This story seems suited for students in middle school and older. Younger students may appreciate the elements of fantasy in the story, but may not understand the nuances of more complicated concepts within the narrative, such as a duplicitous government intent on preserving their own legends at the expense of the native inhabitants as well as its own people. To help students understand this real-life phenomenon, I might pair this story with the nonfiction, Australia, by Anne Wallace Sharp. As students read Uehashi’s description of the indigenous Yakoo people, they will have real-world knowledge to extrapolate from and form a better understanding of these fictional experiences. Moribito explores the themes of honor and discipline in a multifaceted manner, i.e., honor of family and duty, honor of heritage/traditions both native and new, and even honor among enemies. Discipline is demonstrated as the second prince listens to his mother’s final words before sending him into hiding, the star reader forgoing sleep and food to peruse through Nanai’s memoirs, and Balsa’s martial art practice. As an outsider, I can only assume that both themes are viewed as cultural strengths based on their presentation in the text.

  • Eva Mitnick
    2019-01-23 20:29

    Balsa, a woman warrior and bodyguard, is no shrinking violet, and she’s no spring chicken either. I knew I would like her when I read this description – “Her long, weather-beaten hair was tied at the nape of her neck, and her face, unadorned by makeup, was tanned and beginning to show fine wrinkles.” Brave, sensible, and superbly skilled in martial arts, Balsa is 30 years old – a refreshing age for the heroine of a children’s book, when they usually haven’t hit 18.Oh, there’s a child in this book – Chagum is the 11-year-old second son of the Mikado, the king who rules New Yogo, and he just happens to have inside him an egg laid by mysterious creature called the Water Spirit, who dwells in an unseen world that exists side by side, or perhaps superimposed on, our own world. Chagum, as the Moribito or Guardian of the Spirit, must somehow get this egg to its distant home before the dreaded Rarunga comes to eat the egg, which will not only bring on terrible drought but will kill Chagum. However, Chagum himself isn’t the main focus.There is much palace intrigue, as various factions try to figure out how best to protect the kingdom from the turmoil, and because Chagum’s life is in danger, his mother secretly hires Balsa to get him away from the palace and hide him. Many exciting but mercifully brief fight scenes follow, all as stylish as if a bit more realistic than those in movies like “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.” Although there are injuries, no one dies.The pursuit of Chagum by both Palace Hunters and the hungry Rarunga is exciting, but far more interesting to me was the friendships between Balsa, Chagum, her old pal Tanda, and the old but still feisty wise woman Torogai. There is romantic tension between Balsa and Tanda, but Balsa doesn’t want to commit to a relationship until she has saved eight lives, in atonement for eight lives that were lost to save her as a child.The translation from Japanese to English flows naturally – I was almost never aware that I was reading a translation (okay, “weather-beaten hair” is a bit odd, but I like it). Balsa and Tanda are warm, humorous, and occasionally cranky characters, and it is perfectly obvious why Chagum, after spending a winter holed up with them, doesn’t want to return to his cold and scheming court. Torogai’s strong voice and gleeful cackle still ring in my ears.It’s easy to understand why this 10-book series, a hit in Japan, has been made into manga and movies. I can’t wait to read more about Balsa – I do hope she and Tanda (a gentle healer who tries to lighten up Balsa’s intensity whenever possible) end up together.For ages 10 and up.

  • Roxanne Hsu Feldman
    2019-02-23 15:40

    I think this one hovers just about 4.5 stars... not exactly perfect, but so so so good. So much about it I can praise:It's a book that I can feel entirely enthusiastic about recommending to children who look for fast-paced and action packed stories with magic.It's a book that features unusual characters: the protagonist is a 30-year-old warrior woman who wields a spear with great skills and who has a rich back story and an intriguing future story to look forward to.It does not alter its sensibilities for an American audience.It has incredibly visual action scenes (yes, they do read like Animes, but this was turned into an anime series and I believe the lines between novels/mangas/animes are fairly blurred and cross-able and re-cross-able in the contemporary Japanese culture.)The exploration of the "storytelling" theme strikes a chord with me, especially the idea that children's rhymes and folklores are "real" messages, to deal with real life crisis and issues. The idea of overlaying worlds of the Real and the Fantastic are not uncommon in fantasy traditions and especially in the Manga tradition -- but here the author so tangibly captured the moments and the imagery of the two worlds when someone straddles the two realms. It made me feel as if I were the character who peeks into the fantastic realm and that that world could very well be next to me, waiting at my next breath.Of course, there is quite a bit of nostalgia here, too -- this story echoes those martial art novels (wu xia) that I grew up with in Taiwan. The characters, their relationships, the fighting skills and scenes, the themes, etc. are all exactly what I liked as a young reader and still like as an adult. I am just so pleased that this series is brought to the States and may allow more titles like this or even open the door to translations of wu xia xiao shuo... That will be truly a dream comes true!

  • Erin
    2019-02-07 15:44

    This is the first of 12 books in a series by Japanese author Nahoko Uehashi. In this first episode, a guard-for-hire named Balsa ends up being hired as Prince Chagum's body guard after she saves him from a river. Chagum is no ordinary prince though. His father wants him dead because he believes Chagnum is possessed by a water demon that will cause a catastrophic drought. Turns out that Chagum is host to a water spirit's egg and a catastrophic drought will occur if Chagum dies. But of course, no one in the palace believes that story because it comes from the native Yagoo tribe. As they travel across the land of Yogo and discover the truth about the spirit, they find themselves hunted by not just the palace hunters (elite guards) but also by the egg-eating monster Rarunga.I really enjoyed this book. It is the sort of story that sucks you in and you can't let go of the characters even once the story is complete. Uehashi does a really nice job developing the characters and sharing their back stories in a way that you become sympathetic to their role in the adventure...even the hunters! I read this as an e-book and that is part of what lent itself to a 4/5 star review. I was getting very confused by the names of the characters, the tribes, the lands...etc. I kept thinking that it would be nice to have a reference list. After finishing the book, I discovered that there was a character list in the back of the book. Had I been reading a paper copy, I would have used that frequently to help me keep the story straight.I could see this book being enjoyed by middle or high school students. There are several parallel plot lines that could be a bit too much for younger readers. There are a host of characters, both primary and secondary, that could be studied.

  • Allison
    2019-02-04 18:39

    For a reader in late grade school or junior high, Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit deserves more than three stars. It's written in the calmest, most matter of fact prose I've read in ages, with a lovely bedtime story feel. The characters are excellent, and though Balsa, the hard-nosed but sensitive mercenary in her thirties was the most interestingly atypical character for a children's book, Chagum's coming of age story was incredibly believable and well told, despite its supernatural trappings. My problem with Moribito, which was not really that bad, is that it seemed completely drained of tension. This is a novel about an inter-dimensional egg inside of a human that is being pursued by an invisible demon sort of monster in a medieval fantasy world, and despite that, there's not a major feeling of stress or panic, with the novel's relaxed, even-handed tone never flailing. Most character feelings and motivations are directly spelled out, as are some of the major themes of the narrative towards the grand finale. For a classroom, I do think that this would be really good, and it would be excellent to teach this to sixth or seventh grade lit students. It has some fascinating things to say about how real history leaks into a culture's traditions and folklore, and though it's set in a fantasy world, it's just foreign enough that it could lead to some interesting conversations about other cultures. For casual reading, though, I was occasionally left cold by this book. This doesn't reflect badly on this book's merits, but instead means that I just wasn't quite the target audience.

  • Fransisca
    2019-02-09 19:35

    My friend recommended this, since i got this book with great price so i think why not.Its very refreshing to read new genre after overloaded with western supernatural, fantasy or scifi novel, first i love how the author setting the main character a tough lady who can fighting well but still look soft and care toward everyone, but she is not perfect either and that made her more human and relateable to reader.First read the prolog, even this book setting is a fantasy world you will know that this world setting is around East Asia by the terms, and the names in book. Being a long time WuXia movie audience, i feel this book have some resemble story like WuXia movie with ancient Japanese setting, if you ever watch Onmyouji movie its felt like that.The pace is nice, perhaps for some people will have difficulties for some special language and names that used in this book so that why this book also included a glossary.You will get attached to the characters when you read this book, especially Balsa, Tanda and Chagum, i like how the author write a character development for each major characters, even the one that "should be" a villain but not.The thing i found a bit dissapointed is when the story is about telling the secret of Nyuga Ro Im, i'm hoping for the darker secret when they reveal the truth about New Yogo empire, but in the end its just "that" ^^Anyway this book is very addicting from the first pages, i recommended for everyone who want to read different takes on fantasy story.

  • Traci Loudin
    2019-01-23 14:39

    This was a great story about a warrior/bodyguard who is given an impossible mission to save the prince from an otherworldly predator. The prince turns out to be the Moribito, or guardian of an egg that spawns once a century. What I liked about this story was that it wasn't a "save the world" story. The characters were aware that although their mission was bigger than any one of them, it was only important to their area of the island. I haven't read many books where the characters are that... non-self-centered. This is also somewhat of a coming-of-age book, because we frequently see from the prince's point of view. He struggles with destiny, first because he never chose to be the guardian of the egg, but he also realizes he never chose to be a prince either, and that has its own burdens. The dialog oftentimes felt very straightforward (that's the only way I can think to describe it). I think because of how it was translated from Japanese. It's also written in third-omniscient, which is pretty cool, actually. It's been awhile since I read one, but it allows the reader to get a very rounded understanding of what's going on in every scene. This book is a secondary-world fantasy, set in a culture very much like feudal Japan. As a fan of anime, Japanese culture, and as a former tourist of Japan, I really enjoyed this aspect of the book. I recommend it to anyone who loves Japanese culture.

  • Novia
    2019-02-21 14:29

    I first heard about Moribito from L’Arc~en~Ciel, their song entitled Shine was used as the opening song for the anime version of this book. When I saw the opening, I wasn’t impressed with it and decided not to look for the anime. Last year, a friend of mine (used to be my co work) told me that Seirei no Moribito (the title of the anime as well as the book) was awesome. I became more intrigued after reading the anime review by Kelly of The Gallery of Words.On July 2011, I was visiting a book sale and found the novel. There were 2 books on the shelf, both already translated into Indonesian. I don’t really like reading translation book, especially books from Japan because the translator translated the book from the English translation not from the Japanese one. In my opinion, it will create double misunderstanding. But…I was so intrigued by William (used to be my co work) and Kelly, so I decided to buy 1 of them. When I opened the book, I was right, it was originally translated into English by Cathy Hirano and then re-translated by Harisa Permatasari. I felt a bit disappointed by this way of translation….but after reading it, I was so happy with Harisa’s translation. She managed to translate it as if the book was really written in Indonesian language…kudos for her. Unfortunately, the Indonesian version had terrible cover!!! it merely edited the anime version of Balsa.Continue reading>

  • Selena
    2019-02-14 14:50

    I'm a bit torn on this one.On one hand, the characters were really good. There weren't any I disliked, and I really liked Torogai and Balsa.On the other hand, the story felt extremely rushed and maybe that's why I didn't have a chance to dislike anyone in it.Part of this is because this is ultimately a middle-grade book. The storytelling is short and concise, but perhaps a bit too much so for an older reader. There were parts I wish more time was spent on. On the bright side, I never felt that too much time was spent on anything or that things got bogged down in the details...There were also huge time jumps that I wish were a bit more fluid. As they were, they felt sudden and jarring. One chapter would end in something like October, and then the next chapter would start in the middle of April. I got a bit lost as two when we were in the story, which for such a short story is a bit of a problem.The story itself was an interesting. It's got a bit of a mythical feel that puts the story firmly in the "legend-esque" category. It's got the Japanese kami (though they're never really called that), magic, martial arts, and all kinds of things that just speak to the geek in me. It just wasn't executed in a way that worked for me.For kids in 4-6th, this would probably be the perfect book for some light and fun reading.

  • L11_Nick Mamula
    2019-02-18 15:44

    The themes in this book and the way in which they are presented are both powerful and wise. To start, the way in which Uehashi attacks gender roles in society is superb. Instead of relying on the males to represent the strength and power, Uehashi taps into the true power of the female. Throughout the story, it is the women who are subtly the wisest and the most brave. In addition to the gender issue, Uehashi makes sure to tap into ideas of moderation, and the importance of not being "more or less" in all aspects of life. Whether it be training to be a warrior, or the weighing of morality in the good vs. evil conflict, Uehashi maintains that there should be no extreme power to tip the balance of equality. Only the thirst for knowledge and understanding should be valued, a concept that the U.S. is straying away from. If you would like to read more books that pertain to these themes I would recommend the creation myths. Within the myths you will see that there is always an opposing force to equal out the balance. This book is suitable for 4th grade and up, the language is not difficult but the images are a bit difficult to conceptualize if there is no schema. As a fantasy book, I find this book inspiring.

  • Patrick Kelly
    2019-01-29 15:34

    Soon after the spear-wielding bodyguard Balsa rescues Prince Chagum from drowning in a raging river, she is sent on a mission to protect the Prince from his father's hunters. Chagum's father, ruler of New Yogo, believes his son is inhabited by the embryo of a creature which, if it hatches, will causes catastrophic flooding in his empire. On the contrary, however, the egg that resides in Chagum is that of a water spirit that will save the kingdom if Chagum lives to see it born--if Balsa can protect him from his father's minions and another, more fearsome threat that she has never had to fight before. Moribito is fine action-fantasy novel with the distinctive flavor of Japan and ought to appeal to middle school students, both boys and hopefully girls, since the central protagonist is a strong young woman. The writing is fairly simple, with lots of telling in lieu of showing, which seems appropriate for this style of book. It would perhaps be better as an anime series, because of its episodic and chunky plot; and in fact it was made into an animated series in Japan. If readers enjoy the first book, there are eleven more in the series to enjoy.

  • Peter
    2019-02-12 18:34

    Guardian of the Spirit is the first book in a popular ten-book Moribito series of novels by Nahoko Uehashi. The fantasy stories are set in far-away lands long ago, with warriors, magicians, and magical creatures. The best reason to read these books, however, is for the main character. Balsa is a female body-guard who was forced to train at an early age after her father was killed. She's smart and clever, and a very strong and entertaining female character. In this book she is forced to protect a young prince from his enemies, both traditional and magical. I saw the anime series before I read the book, and I actually liked it better because it showed more of Balsa's character, but I suspect the series as a whole is the best. It's a fun, quick read. Only the first two books of the Moribito series have been translated into English so far, but I hope the rest are on the way because it's a fun series.

  • Paula Cruz
    2019-02-12 16:39

    Antes de tudo, uma historinha: comprei este livro por R$5 numa promoção louca na FNLIJ no Rio de Janeiro. A capa me chamou a atenção, a sinopse me pareceu bacana, li no celular algumas reviews daqui do Goodreads e, PÁ, comprei no impulso mesmo. Apesar de ser elogiado por aqui e tal, eu não esperava muito desse livro. Teria eu tanta sorte assim? A resposta foi: SIM, FUI SORTUDA E ESTE LIVRO É IRADO.Tem tanta coisa que eu gostei nesse livro que é difícil dizer tudo! A protagonista, Balsa, é maravilhosa, tudo que eu amo em personagens femininas bem construídas. Na real, todos os personagens desse livro são bons! Destque para a Torogai. As cenas dela são as mais inesperadas e interessantes.Um dos pontos altos desse livro são as cenas de ação — não é à toa que tem adaptação para anime, né? As cenas de luta são bem visuais, têm um ritmo ótimo. A única ressalva é que esta é uma série de dez livros, e só o primeiro foi lançado no Brasil :c

  • Fran
    2019-02-01 18:38

    Balsa seorang jagoan bersenjatakan tombak, menyelamatkan Chagum seorang pangeran kerajaan Yogo. Dari situ Balsa menjadi terlibat berbagai petualangan demi menyelamatkan nyawa sang pangeran yang diincar berbagai pihakMoribito, penjaga roh... Di tubuh Chagum bersemayam roh Nyunga Ro Im, yang kehancurannya dapat membawa kehancuran hidup penduduk seluruh kerajaanChagum harus berusaha menyelamatkan roh tersebut, sementara nyawanya sendiri terancam akibat kehandiran Nyunga Ro Im di tubuhnya Mulai dari ayah Chagum hingga Rarunga monster dari Nayugu berusaha membunuhnyaDi sini Balsa harus bertindak untuk menyelamatkan nyawa ChagumCeritanya bagus, sedih waktu bagian Balsa cerita tentang masa lalunya... Mengapa ia harus menyelamatkan nyawa 8 orang sebelum bisa berhenti bertarungJadi penasaran buku ke 2 nya Balsa bakal ngapain ya?

  • Jacob
    2019-01-27 16:46

    For Balsa, life is a process of penitence earned through fighting. When she meets a boy with a special burden, she finds not only a kindred spirit but a way to repay her debts. In protecting this boy prince, she must fight Emporers and magical creatures. Will she fail on her own, or will others strengthen her ability?This is a very basic storyline filled with very basic characters. That does not mean it is bad; but it means that it is not entirely surprising or engrossing. Those who enjoy fantasy and anime will appreciate the magical world the story is set in, and the action-filled plot that overflows with well-trained killers. There is an uplifting quality of working with others that this book uniqely offers. The eastern cultural characterstics stand apart from normal books of its kind.Aside from action-violence, nothing objectionable.

  • Joy
    2019-01-23 17:47

    A very solid fantasy adventure about Balsa, a bodyguard who ends up becoming the protector of a young prince when political forces seek his death. It's so unusual to see a middle-aged woman as the hero of this sort of adventure, and Balsa is awesome: brave, and pragmatic, and fiercely loyal. The story also has a lot of interesting worldbuilding: the land where it takes place is one where the colonized and colonizers live side-by-side, and the heart of the story lies as much in the characters' attempts to find the truth behind old folktales and narratives as in the various action sequences.I tried watching the anime adaptation of this a while ago and bounced off it; I may have to give that another try now.

  • Mike
    2019-01-24 20:37

    What a gem of a book. Maribito is the story of a female body guard, Balsa< that is tasked with the job of protecting a young prince that is trying to be assassinated by his own father. During the book it is discovered that the prince, Chagum, was given a special gift a long the way and thus Balsa's job increases in difficulty. As you read this wonderfully woven tale through the country of New Yogo the visuals will amaze you and the level of detail will astound. The author, Nahoko Uehasi, takes great pleasure in creating the worlds between which Balsa and Chagum must contend with as the face off against all of the beings that want Chagum dead. This book is filled with action and does not disappoint.

  • 528_Kristin
    2019-02-17 20:30

    Summary: Moribito is an action packed fantasy novel involving, martial arts, sword fighting, myths, and an unlikely hero. The novel has 9 sequels, has been made into a movie, and even has a comic book and radio drama. Set in ancient Japan, the novel is about Balsa, a 30 year old, who is assigned the job of protecting the young prince who is the subject of a century year old myth about the water demon. She is being hunted by the king's men and has to struggle to solve the mystery and save the boy.Opinion: I liked the book overall. It was exciting and I can see the kids liking the action in it. I really liked that the heroine was a female. You rarely see that in martial arts/fantasy books.Grades: 5+Teaching Ideas: - Japanese Mythology- History of Martial Arts