for Guardian of the Darkness
by Nahoko Uehashi
and Yuko Shimizu
Warrior Balsa is returning to the kingdom of her birth for the first time since her guardian Jiguro fled with her when she was a child. Jiguro gave up everything to save Balsa after her father was murdered. But Balsa discovers that Jiguro’s reputation and memory have been dishonored by lies that can be traced directly to the current king, a prince at the time of her father’s death. As she tries to ferret out the motive for the lies, Balsa learns that the time for a once-in-a-generation ceremony that keeps the spirit and physical world forces in balance is approaching, and understanding brings frightening implications. Nahoko Uehashi again explores how disregard for old ways, ancient knowledge, and indigenous peoples, as well greed and lust for power, can threaten the very existence of a culture in this thoughtful, action-packed follow-up to Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit (U.S. edition: Arthur A. Levine Books / Scholastic, 2008). Balsa is a singular, satisfying hero whose exploits offer adventure as well as commentary on human nature and society. Although the richly developed setting for these fantasy stories has a medieval Japanese feel, readers will find much that is applicable to our world today. (Age 12 and older)
CCBC Choices 2010. © Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2010. Used with permission.
In order to protect Balsa and himself, Jiguro Balsa’s stepfather had been forced to kill eight former friends sent by the nefarious King Rogsam. So when Balsa returns to her native Kanbal, she is on a pilgrimage of repara tion for Jiguro’s misdeeds. The longer Balsa remains in Kanbal, however, the more dangers she faces. Yuguro, her stepfather’s younger brother, and King Radalle, Rogsam’s son, have conspired to kill the Mountain King and steal the mountain’s precious luisha. Balsa must protect the young message carrier Kassa, but Balsa herself is predestined to perform the Spear Dance with the hyohlu, spirit guardians of the Mountain King. 2010 USBBY Outstanding International Books List. lmp
Originally published as Yami no Moribito in Japanese by KaiseiSha Publishing Japan, in 1999.
Bridges to Understanding: Envisioning the World through Children's Books. © USBBY, 2011. Used with permission.
Balsa returns to her native Kanbal to clear the name of Jiguro, her dear mentor, who saved her life when she was six years old. But what should be a visit of truth and reconciliation becomes a fight for her life when she learns that Jiguro had been a member of King Rogsam's personal bodyguard. After Jiguro fled Kanbal with her, Rogsam sent the other bodyguards after them one by one--Jiguro's best friends, whom he had to kill to protect Balsa. Now, with the help of two Kanbalese children, Balsa must unwind the conspiracy surrounding Jiguro and the mystery of the Guardians of the Dark.
Publisher description retrieved from Google Books.