A Month of Japan – Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit

A Month of Japan blog seriesBecause A Mortal Song is set in Japan, in the month leading up to the book’s release I wanted to celebrate some of the amazing media out there by Japanese creators. Monday to Friday for the next four weeks, I’ll be highlighting my favorite books, TV shows, and films (as well as some snack box services—you need something to munch on while you’re doing all that watching and reading!). You can find a full list of my faves and other resources here on my website.

Let’s kick things off!

Book Rec – Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit by Nahoko Uehashi


What it’s all about: Balsa was a wanderer and warrior for hire. Then she rescued a boy flung into a raging river—and at that moment, her destiny changed. Now Balsa must protect the boy—the Prince Chagum—on his quest to deliver the great egg of the water spirit to its source in the sea. As they travel across the land of Yogo and discover the truth about the spirit, they find themselves hunted by two deadly enemies: the egg-eating monster Rarunga . . . and the prince’s own father.

Why you should read it: Balsa is a great protagonist, a tough and skilled fighter but also compassionate. I loved the interplay between her and the prince (who grows a lot over the course of the story and really comes into his own), her mentor, and her friend/almost-romantic interest. The story’s mystery is unraveled at a good pace, with twists I didn’t see coming, and I appreciated that one of the key figures in finding the answer isn’t a fighter but a scholar. The action sequences are exciting and the questions of history and morality thought-provoking. Plus, if you can get your hands on a print version, it has an absolutely lovely interior design including two-page illustrations for each section! An all-around excellent fantasy novel. 🙂

Who are your favorite fantasy heroines? Let me know in the comments.

Join me tomorrow for my next rec! You can read more about A Mortal Song in the meantime:


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