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Moribito II: Guardian of the Darkness

by Nahoko Uehashi
Translated by Cathy Hirano

Published by U.S. edition: Arthur A. Levine Books / Scholastic, 2009
272 pages
ISBN: 978-0-545-10295-7

Ages 12 and older

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 Jiguroís reputation and memory have been dishonored by lies that can be traced directly to the current king, a prince at the time of her fatherís 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. CCBC categories: Fiction for Young Adults.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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