Monday, September 21, 2009

Moribito II: Guardian of the Darkness

Moribito II: Guardian of the Darkness
by Nahoko Uehashi
New York: Scholastic, 2009. Juvenile fiction.

Second in a series of stories about Balsa, the spear-wielding bodyguard who saved Prince Chagum and her country from death and drought in the last episode, Guardian of the Darkness has Balsa returning home to Kanbal to lay to rest the murdered spirit of her father, and of her guardian, Jiguro. Entering the network of caves that will take her home, she fights a terrifying ghostlike creature, the hyohlu, defending two children who have wandered into the caves. In this entry in Uehashi's admirable martial arts series, Balsa herself comes much closer to death, but rises in the end to give Jiguro's spirit peace and to save the land of her birth from starvation and destruction. With just the right mix of mysticism, action, danger, courage, and honor, the Moribito should speak deeply and clearly to a generation of young people raised on manga and anime - and to their elders.

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