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Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit by Nahoko Uehashi Review

Title: Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit

Author: Nahoko Uehashi

First published July 1, 1996

248 pages, Hardcover

ISBN: 9780545005425 (ISBN10: 0545005426)

Rating: 4.03


MEET A HEROINE UNLIKE ANY OTHER IN LADY ELIZABETH’S DARING TALE. As the daughter of a wealthy merchant, Lady Elizabeth has always been expected to behave with utmost propriety.

But when her father’s business is threatened, she takes matters into her own hands and seeks the help of the dashing and mysterious Lord Nathaniel. Despite their different stations in life, Elizabeth finds herself drawn to Nathaniel’s charm and recklessness, and soon she is caught up in a dangerous game of deception and desire.

As they embark on a perilous journey, Elizabeth must decide if she is willing to risk everything for love and adventure with the irresistible Lord Nathaniel.

About the Author

Meet Nahoko Uehashi, the talented author behind the Moribito book series. Her books have sold over a million copies and have been widely recognized with major literary awards in Japan.

Uehashi is not only an accomplished writer, but also an associate professor with a Ph.D. in cultural anthropology. Her research focuses on the indigenous peoples of Australia.

She currently resides near Tokyo, Japan.

Editoral Review

Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit by Nahoko Uehashi is an enthralling and evocative work of fiction that belongs to the high fantasy genre. First published in Japan in 1996, this novel is an imaginative and beautifully written masterpiece that has garnered a wide readership around the world.

The author, Nahoko Uehashi, is a professor of ethnology at a Japanese university and an expert on indigenous children’s literature. With deep knowledge of her culture and mythology, Uehashi weaves a rich and intricate tapestry of words that reflects her masterful storytelling skills.

Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit is her most renowned work and has been adapted into an anime television series and a manga. The novel takes place in a magical kingdom called New Yogo, based on the Heian period of Japan.

The story revolves around Balsa, a highly skilled and brave female warrior who has been hired to protect the young prince Chagum, who is possessed by a malevolent spirit that could bring chaos and destruction to the kingdom. Balsa is a complex and compelling character, who has a dark and troubled past that haunts her every step.

As she struggles to keep the prince safe, Balsa must confront her inner demons and uncover the truth about her destiny. Uehashi’s world-building is superb, and she brings to life a captivating and vivid landscape filled with mythical creatures, political intrigue, and cultural nuances.

She explores themes such as identity, loyalty, sacrifice, and redemption with depth and sensitivity. The novel is steeped in Japanese culture, and Uehashi uses folklore, language, and history to enrich the narrative.

The novel is beautifully translated by Cathy Hirano, who captures the essence of the original text. One of the strengths of the novel is its character development.

Uehashi creates a cast of multifaceted and relatable characters who undergo profound transformations throughout the story. Balsa is a complex and nuanced protagonist who defies gender stereotypes and is an empowering symbol for young readers.

Prince Chagum is a sympathetic and endearing child who grows into a thoughtful and courageous leader. The supporting characters are also well-drawn and add depth and texture to the story.

The pacing of the novel is expertly crafted, and Uehashi balances action, suspense, and introspection with finesse. The plot is intricately plotted and filled with surprises and twists that keep the reader engaged.

The prose style is elegant, graceful, and poetic, and Uehashi’s writing is imbued with a sense of wonder and awe. There are some minor flaws in the novel, such as some segments feeling a bit slow, but they do not detract from the overall quality of the book.

Overall, Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit is an exceptional work of fantasy fiction that deserves to be widely read and appreciated. It is a captivating and thought-provoking tale that transcends cultural and linguistic barriers.

Its messages of self-discovery, integrity, and compassion resonate with readers of all ages and backgrounds. I highly recommend this novel to anyone who loves immersive and imaginative world-building, compelling characters, and epic adventures.

On a scale of 1-10, this novel’s rating is a solid 9.

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