Title / Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit and Moribito 2: Guardian of the Darkness
Author / Nahoko Uehashi
Translator / Cathy Hirano
Publication Date / 2008 and 2009
Overall Rating / ★★★★
Goodreads synopsis of book 1: 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.
Originally released in Japanese in the late 90’s, this is a ten book fantasy series, however only two books have been translated into English. I loved both of these books. In book 1 we meet Balsa, a thirty year old warrior for hire (she works as a bodyguard) as she is hired by the royal family to protect a young prince. I’m not going to go into the synopsis of the second book because I don’t want to spoil anything. It is a separate story line in the second book but there are things that will be spoilt if you haven’t read the first book. The plot of both books was compelling throughout and I loved the direction of it. At under 300 pages, both books are quick and thoroughly entertaining reads. Once I’d started reading I didn’t want to put the book down but I also didn’t want it to end. Another strength of these books are the action scenes. Seriously Uehashi is so good at writing action scenes. I love the way that Balsa fights; not only relying on her strength but also her wits to overcome larger and stronger opponents. Moving onto the world. The first book takes place in a region called Yogo, and the second book takes place in Balsa’s native region of Kanbal. Both of these areas are so well written. Uehashi does a wonderful job at creating a vivid world with distinct and interesting regions. There is a good balance of physical descriptions of the world, along with the history and the politics. Spirits play a big role in this world too, with the physical world referred to as Sagu and the spiritual world as Nayug. From the very beginning, I was immersed in this world and I couldn’t get enough of it.
There is also a fantastic cast of characters within this series. Firstly, I love Balsa as the protagonist. I cannot say enough good things about her character. Secondly, Uehashi has done a great job at creating a well developed cast that you really root for. There are so many great characters within these two books and I would love to see more from them. Balsa does also have a love interest but I love that is a just in the background – it is not the main focus. I’m not a big romance person but I thought it was so well done in this series and the love interest is fantastic. Basically I loved both books and I highly recommend checking out this author. If I’m not mistaken this series is aimed at a YA/middle grade age range, but I think this can be enjoyed by a lot of different people.
Overall I loved both of these books and I highly recommend checking them out. I know it’s been a while since these books have been translated but I still hope that more of the series will be translated too. Both of these books are fantastic and I would love to read more of the series. I will definitely be keeping an eye out for any new translations of this author, as I’ve loved everything I’ve read by her so far. Have you read these books? I’d love to know what you thought of them. I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.