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Moribito II: Guardian of the Darkness Hardcover – May 1, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 6 Up—Though a sequel, Moribito II stands on its own as an engrossing story of redemption, with seasoned warrior and bodyguard Balsa back in the center of it all. Seeking to relieve the emotional burden she had been carrying since her foster father died more than 20 years earlier, she returns to her native country of Kanbal. Just a few steps into her homeland, she rescues two children and duels a cave-dwelling mountain spirit. This encounter becomes a catalyst for two worlds to eventually mingle: the human one full of political conspiracy and a reawakened mythological one. Both come alive with the wonderful attention to detail, from descriptions of the geography, food, and social structure to the ceremony where humans come face to face with their gods. Fast-paced action scenes (frenzied but not overly violent) help lessen the weightiness of this epic, where themes like a boy's coming of age, family betrayal, and the consequences of unchecked ambition are also explored. So steeped in anime sensibilities that one could almost imagine commercial breaks between chapters, this series serves as a smooth transition between manga and straight narrative.—Joanna K. Fabicon, Los Angeles Public Library
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

NAHOKO UEHASHI is the author of ten novels in the Guardian series, which together have sold more than half a million copies. A professional anthropologist, she lives in Tokyo, Japan.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 830L (What's this?)
  • Series: Moribito (Book 2)
  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books; 1 edition (May 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0545102952
  • ISBN-13: 978-0545102957
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #112,673 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By faolin on May 6, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I enjoyed reading the first volume in this series - Guardian Of The Spirit (Moribito) - but as a fan of the anime version, I couldn't help comparing the author's original story to the expanded and sometimes rearranged narrative of the anime. This second volume suffers no such distraction. We now follow Balsa to her native Kanbal, where she hopes to clear the name of her deceased guardian and teacher, Jiguro. King's Spear Jiguro had abandoned his position, his family, his country to protect her from assassins sent to eliminate the last dangling threads that might unravel the truth behind the death of a king. This much we learned in the first volume.

Balsa's return threatens the status quo, which has been built on the lies that ambitious and powerful men wove to cover their crimes and obscure their plans for the future. Balsa might take the practical route and retreat back to her life in New Yogo, but those events from her childhood have disrupted more than just the political future of Kanbal...

The narrative unfolds nicely, revealing new allies and antagonists, interconnections, mystical creatures, and another daunting ceremony that resonates with the release of the egg in the first volume. The writing flowed much more smoothly for me in this volume, partly because I was no longer distracted by comparisons to the anime. The story is deep and satisfying, layering new truths and revelations onto what we learned in "Guardian of the Spirit". Jiguro - long dead in the first book - takes on new life here, as the recollections of those in Kanbal who had known him best add real dimension to a character that even Balsa did not know as well as she had thought.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Sunny in DC on July 9, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have to give kudos to the editorial team that handled the translation of both the Moribito books. I find translated books tend to be stilted and clunky in general. Not the case here! You'd never know this wasn't an English book in the first place.

I loved the first one, but I have to admit that the second book is even better than the first. More satisfying, more sympathetic, more engrossing - and I loved the first one! Moribito satisfies with a tremendously rousing story that grips you and keeps you on the edge of your seat, and takes you to a completely different world that feels so original and fascinating. And I have to tell you, I had no clue what to expect in the grand finale. It was so original and impressive - and I tend to be the type of person who guesses everything that is going to happen. They say there is no original ideas - well, when you aren't familiar with another culture, it becomes original to you. And this book is fascinating for that reason.

Balsa is also one of the best kickass heroines I've had the pleasure of reading. She was a bit stiffer in the first one, but in this story everything becomes personal for her, and we really get to see her true personality - and she rocks! I honestly can't wait for the next in the series.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By E. J. Brown on July 26, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This is the second part to the amazing Moribito series, and it continues with Balsa's journey to Kanbal. I enjoyed this book immensely (even better than the first!) and I began researching Amazon for the remaining 9 books in the series. Unfortunately - Scholastic (the U.S. publishers) have decided not to continue printing any more of the Moribito series. I was devastated!
If anyone from a publishing company reads this - please PLEASE continue the series! It's absolutely wonderful and a true joy to read. Well, here's hoping.....
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By TeensReadToo on September 10, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This second book of the MORIBITO series follows female bodyguard Balsa as she returns from the land of New Yogo to her ancestral homeland of Kanbal, a land she has not seen since she was a young child. At the age of six, Balsa's father discovered a plot to murder the current king of Kanbal, and as a result, her father was murdered and his best friend fled the country with the young Balsa. This man, Jiguro, was responsible for protecting and raising Balsa from childhood into adulthood, eventually dying of an illness under Balsa's care.

Although Balsa only intends to return in order to find personal peace, her entry into Kanbal sets off a series of events destined to plunge Balsa back into the same kinds of plotting that led to her father's death years before. Balso quickly learns that, during her long absence from the land, her mentor Jiguro has been wrongfully accused of great crimes. His younger brother, Yuguro, has become a hero for supposedly killing Jiguro and returning the symbolically important golden spear rings that Jiguro was framed for stealing. The new king is entirely under Yuguro's control. And once again, it's up to Balsa to work her way through the deception and trickery in order to save her homeland before it's too late.

GUARDIAN OF THE DARKNESS adds new depth to Balsa's character by allowing the reader to see her in a new setting, one that is both familiar to her and strangely foreign. Her own inner turmoil about the death of Jiguro and the lies that have been spread about him provide the novel with its emotional power.

As with the first volume in the series, Uehashi's worldbuilding is stunning.
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