Monday, February 8, 2016

Moribito #1: Guardian of the Spirit by Nahoko Uehashi

Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit (Moribito, #1)I came across this book by chance and gave it a rating of four out of five. The second son of the Mikado, Chagum, has a water spirit growing inside him. Eggs are laid every one-hundred years to provide water for the farmers' crops. The egg must survive to end a terrible drought, but an egg-eating monster is searching for it. Balsa, a professional bodyguard, is hired to protect the prince. She has many skills, and she must use them all to fight off assassins and the monster. She enlists the help of magic weavers, but their stories of the egg and the monster differ from the stories told by the Star Reader, the Mikado's main advisor. The monster has been defeated before, but no one knows how. Balsa will need to discover the secret, or Chagum and the citizens of the land are doomed.

The plot was more adventurous than fantasy to me. The setting is somewhere in Japan, so it describes a culture that probably differs from most readers. Brief tales of the Mikado and the egg spirit are told throughout the plot, and they add information to the conflict. There is a good deal of action and adventure. A big part of the conflict is due to differences between politics and the culture of the people. It was a big deal for the magic weaver and Star Reader to work together. I enjoyed the growing maturity of Chagum and the closeness that developed with Balsa. It was the first sense of family that he had ever experienced.

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