Book Reviews of Guardian of the Spirit (Moribito, Bk 1)

Guardian of the Spirit (Moribito, Bk 1)
Guardian of the Spirit - Moribito, Bk 1
Author: Nahoko Uehashi, Cathy Hirano (Translator), Yuko Shimizu (Illustrator)
ISBN-13: 9780545005425
ISBN-10: 0545005426
Publication Date: 6/1/2008
Pages: 272
Reading Level: Young Adult
Rating:
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 6

3.8 stars, based on 6 ratings
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books
Book Type: Hardcover
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

5 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed Guardian of the Spirit (Moribito, Bk 1) on + 366 more book reviews
This story has a lot going for it on the surface: characters, including strong women, plot, mythology, alternate history of medieval Japan, much like the Hearn series, Across the Nightingale Floor. But Hearn's series is really good. The problem with Guardian of the Spirit is the uninspiring writing style. As an english translation from japanese, the problem may be the translation...but we non-japanese readers will never know. I enjoyed it enough to finish it, but I imagine it is better in manga (comic book) form, where the graphic contribution would help the writing style. But I encourage anyone who likes the sound of the story to read it. It may be that another reader (someone of the intended reading age?) will be carried away by the events and really like it.
reviewed Guardian of the Spirit (Moribito, Bk 1) on + 10 more book reviews
This story definitely has the feel of a folktale, a genre which I really enjoy reading. I found it first as an anime show on the Cartoon Network, but they only showed the first 10 episodes of the anime series made from this first book, so I had to read the book to find out what happened in the end. I hope the rest of the episodes are eventually shown in English, since the anime series was completed in Japan.

I'm really looking forward to reading more of this book series when they are published in English. If you're interested in Japanese fantasy, I've also been reading The Twelve Kingdoms novels, which is being translated from Japanese, too. The first two volumes are out now, with the third due in March 2009. It's been done as an anime as well, with 45 episodes available on DVD, in English.
reviewed Guardian of the Spirit (Moribito, Bk 1) on + 7145 more book reviews
Reviewed by Candace Cunard for TeensReadToo.com

Balsa is a bodyguard who hires out her services to protect those who can pay her, but when she is asked to take care of the thirteen-year-old Second Prince of New Yogo, Chagum, she becomes swept up in events beyond her control. His mother, the Second Queen, tells Balsa that Chagum has become involved in mystical happenings connected to the founding of New Yogo, and may be possessed by a water demon that the founding king purportedly slew over 200 years ago. Chagum's possession by this demon calls into question everything that the rulers of New Yogo have always said about their divine right to lead this kingdom, and as a result, Chagum's father, the king, wants him dead. Balsa must agree to guard Chagum, or lose her life for knowing too much.

Balsa and Chagum must attempt to escape the warriors sent after them by the king and find out more about the exact details of the water spirit that has possessed Chagum. They discover contradictory legends surrounding the original water spirit, one told by the Yogoese, another told by the Yakoo, who inhabited the land of New Yogo before the Yogoese came to settle there. Either legend could be right, and both of them agree only upon one detail: if the correct path is not followed, New Yogo will suffer a terrible drought that will cause poor harvests and mass starvation.

Set in a fantasy world analogous to medieval Japan, this story sprawls through the lives and perspectives of many different characters. Though it focuses mainly on Balsa and reveals details about her own past and her reasons for becoming a warrior, it also deals with Chagum's experiences in the world outside of the palace, the perspective of a healer named Tanda, a master mystic, Torogai, and many more. These well-drawn characters are sometimes daring, sometimes afraid, yet always sympathetic.

The world of New Yogo is given remarkable texture by the layers of legend and myth that overwhelm the characters in their search for the truth. Uehashi's world is deftly rendered through these legends and the different people who tell them, and it is obvious that she has spent a great deal of time thinking about her remarkable setting. GUARDIAN OF THE SPIRIT is only the first in a series of ten stories set in this world, and I look forward to reading the rest!
reviewed Guardian of the Spirit (Moribito, Bk 1) on + 2312 more book reviews
I had originally watched the Moribito anime and loved it. When I saw this book at the bookstore I was very excited to read it. This was a great book. It's a wonderful balance of history, magic, action, and coming of age story. I really enjoyed it. This is a book that is great for all ages as well. The whole story is set in a sort of feudal Japan.

I really love that this book features an older female warrior as the main character (Balsa is in her 30's). Balsa loves fighting and protecting; being thrown into the role of caretaker for a eleven year old boy is a huge change for her. I also love that her love interest is pretty much the opposite of her in every way (bookish, wise, and patient).

This book is very much a coming of age story for Prince Chagum. He learns how to do things himself and experiences the broader world. There are elements of magic in here as well. Prince Chagum is carrying the egg of a water spirit in his chest and must safely see it through to its birth or die.

Politics are touched on as well. We see how history and myth are written by the conquerors and the true history may be lost with the people who were conquered.

The book itself is beautifully put together. The pages are thick and well bound and the illustration and ink color throughout is amazing. This is one of those books that is soo much better in paper format and definitely one you'll want to keep around.

Overall this was an amazing story and I would love to continue the Moribito series. This book is a wonderful blend of history, fantasy, action, friendship, and coming of age. I would definitely recommend to those who enjoy fantasies set in feudal Japan.
reviewed Guardian of the Spirit (Moribito, Bk 1) on + 7145 more book reviews
Reviewed by Candace Cunard for TeensReadToo.com

Balsa is a bodyguard who hires out her services to protect those who can pay her, but when she is asked to take care of the thirteen-year-old Second Prince of New Yogo, Chagum, she becomes swept up in events beyond her control. His mother, the Second Queen, tells Balsa that Chagum has become involved in mystical happenings connected to the founding of New Yogo, and may be possessed by a water demon that the founding king purportedly slew over 200 years ago. Chagum's possession by this demon calls into question everything that the rulers of New Yogo have always said about their divine right to lead this kingdom, and as a result, Chagum's father, the king, wants him dead. Balsa must agree to guard Chagum, or lose her life for knowing too much.

Balsa and Chagum must attempt to escape the warriors sent after them by the king and find out more about the exact details of the water spirit that has possessed Chagum. They discover contradictory legends surrounding the original water spirit, one told by the Yogoese, another told by the Yakoo, who inhabited the land of New Yogo before the Yogoese came to settle there. Either legend could be right, and both of them agree only upon one detail: if the correct path is not followed, New Yogo will suffer a terrible drought that will cause poor harvests and mass starvation.

Set in a fantasy world analogous to medieval Japan, this story sprawls through the lives and perspectives of many different characters. Though it focuses mainly on Balsa and reveals details about her own past and her reasons for becoming a warrior, it also deals with Chagum's experiences in the world outside of the palace, the perspective of a healer named Tanda, a master mystic, Torogai, and many more. These well-drawn characters are sometimes daring, sometimes afraid, yet always sympathetic.

The world of New Yogo is given remarkable texture by the layers of legend and myth that overwhelm the characters in their search for the truth. Uehashi's world is deftly rendered through these legends and the different people who tell them, and it is obvious that she has spent a great deal of time thinking about her remarkable setting. GUARDIAN OF THE SPIRIT is only the first in a series of ten stories set in this world, and I look forward to reading the rest!