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Grade 5 Up—This fantasy takes place in a land reminiscent of ancient Japan, populated by the indigenous Yakoo people and the immigrant Yogo who now rule. Both peoples tell a story of a child and a water spirit but with much different details. For the Yogo, the child was possessed by a water demon, while for the Yakoo, the water spirit was essential to prevent a horrendous drought. Now, it seems that this spirit has returned and is somehow living in Prince Chagum, and his father feels that he must have his son assassinated to defeat the demon. Chagum's mother prevails upon Balsa, a bodyguard-for-hire, to flee the capital with Chagum. Balsa is wounded after fighting off four of the assassins and seeks shelter with her friend Tanda, a healer. As she begins to train Chagum in life outside the palace, Tanda and his teacher Torogai begin researching Yakoo folklore and employing magic to discover more about this water spirit. In the meantime, the Yogo Star Readers research their records. Only through their combined studies are they able to learn the nature of the true danger and the means to defeat it. Whether from the original or through the translation, there are a few rough spots in the dialogue. Still, this book should appeal to fans of medieval and fantasy manga and of Usagi Yojimbo. The forthcoming manga and anime will also create interest.—Eric Norton, McMillan Memorial Library, Wisconsin Rapids, WI
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This Japanese import features many familiar martial-arts fantasy elements: magic, nonstop action, swordplay, a puzzling myth, dangerous plot twists, and a strong-willed, flawed hero on a quest. What’s surprising is that the “hero” is a slightly wrinkled, weather-beaten, thirty-year-old heroine: Balsa Spear-wielder, an itinerant bodyguard. After Balsa saves Chagum, the son of the Mikado, following a freak accident, Chagum’s mother hires Balsa to protect him; she is certain that Chagum will be murdered because he is host to a mythical creature, a fact that belies the divine nature of the Mikado. Balsa must solve a mystery involving the creature and protect Chagum from both the Mikado’s elite forces and an otherworldly monster. Guardian will sell itself in booktalks: the story is intriguing, and Balsa is a smart, crotchety, fully realized heroine. Even the minor characters are interesting. Uehashi’s Moribito series is enormously popular in Japan, and if the remaining nine stories are as enjoyable as this one, boys and girls here will be clamoring to read them. Grades 6-9. --Chris Sherman --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Editorial Reviews
This book is fantastic. I've read it several times already. Nice storytelling and great character development.Published 14 days ago by Blue Junkie
Simple short Novel, translated from a Japanese Author, the translation work is great, the story flows smoothly. Read morePublished 1 month ago by ryan
Came right on time. Book was in perfect condition, no tears or bent edges. Great read. Thanks!Published 7 months ago by Jessica
Enjoyable, but far short of spectacular. Characters were rather shallow and not much attention was given to world building. Read morePublished 8 months ago by starspace
This is a great fantasy novel. The only bad thing about this book series is that only the first two of eight have been translated.Published 8 months ago by Preston Averett
this is one heck of a very good book. Reminds me of the anime and feels like you got transported into the world of Balsa.Published 9 months ago by Fan reader
It was amazing ! I highly recommend it and I can't wait to get the next book "Guardian of the Darkness "Published 13 months ago by Martha
This book is a classic tale of kings, and queens, and in this case a very good body guard. This book says a lot about actual society, and the ways that the government works to keep... Read morePublished 14 months ago by 17 year old dude