Moribito II: Guardian of the Darkness

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9780545102957: Moribito II: Guardian of the Darkness

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.

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About the Author:

Nahoko Uehashi is the author of ten books in the Moribito series, which have sold more than a million copies and won many major literary awards in her native Japan. An associate professor at a Japanese university, she has a Ph.D. in cultural anthropology and studies indigenous peoples in Australia. She lives near Tokyo, Japan.

Review:

"Having successfully protected young Prince Chagum in 2008's Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit, Balsa, a spear-wielding warrior, ventures to her rocky homeland of Kanbal in this sequel. Once again, Uehashi immerses readers in the culture, traditions, mythology even diet of the populace, creating a full, captivating world. Upon her return, Balsa rescues a pair of siblings in the area's caves (home to the mysterious hyohlu, the guardians of the darkness). She is soon marked as a fugitive, but with help she still uncovers a wide-ranging plot involving her deceased mentor and a scheme to attack the underground kingdom of the Mountain King. Uehashi explores themes of family and honesty with rich prose and compelling characters. Powerful and loyal, Balsa is the core draw ( Although her hands were bound and she was held captive, Balsa's eyes were filled with a fierce light, like a fighter ready to enter the ring”), but the cast of secondary characters are well developed and intriguing in their own right. Add to that some intense spear battles and a gripping finale, and this growing series has something for everyone." -- Publishers Weekly, starred review
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. . . . Both [human and mythological worlds] 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. . . . [T]his series serves as a smooth transition between manga and straight narrative.” -- School Library Journal

AWARDS:

An ALA Notable Book for Children, 2010
Mildred L. Batchelder Honor for Translation, 2010
USBBY Outstanding International Book, 2010

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Nahoko Uehashi, Yuko Shimizu (Illustrator)
Editore: Arthur A. Levine Books (2009)
ISBN 10: 0545102952 ISBN 13: 9780545102957
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ISBN 10: 0545102952 ISBN 13: 9780545102957
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