Saturday, April 26, 2008

Nahoko Uehashi/ MORIBITO: Guardian of the Spirit

Moribito is the first true fantasy book I've ever read. (Reading the Potter series is on my to-do list for the summer). It's also the first "Uncorrected Proof" I've ever read (whatever that means!). The book will be available in the U.S. in June 2008.

This is the first book in a series of ten that have sold more than a million copies in Japan.

Moribito is about a young woman named Balsa who vows to save eight lives-the number of lives that were lost protecting her when she was a child. In this book, she protects the life of a young prince who has within him the egg of a Water Spirit. She needs to help him reach the river before the egg-eating monster gets them and in time for the egg to hatch.

I love that the hero of the series is really a heroine. She's an expert at the martial arts. The characters around her are richly developed and believable for such an adventure. There are brief parts in the book which wax philosophical. This quote will give a summary example: People from different countries who speak different languages have different ways of thinking. You know that, don't you? Take Balsa here. She's from Kanbal. The Kanbalese believe that thunder is a god.

I was also very pleasantly surprised that the amount of names and places didn't intimidate me. World-building has put me off about fantasy, until now. I really like it!

My only complaint about the writing of this story was that there were a number of "Over To You Bob" moments. Disguised info-dumps. But if I weren't a writer, I wouldn't have noticed. The book is very enjoyable. It's a YA, I believe.
(The cover for the English version is different. I think it's much better).


Dennis Cass is . . . said...

I like sci-fi and fantasy, but I find those nakedly moments embarrassing.

Orphan Prince: "The Dragon's Gate? I thought it was a myth!"

Complicated Wizard: "Oh, it's no myth. But, alas, only the one with the Three Keys and a face that looks sorta like yours can open it."

Would you say that MORBITO is about average in this regard? Or better?

ChrisEldin said...

Hi Dennis,

Do you mean did the plot elements feel contrived? Only once where all of the characters were 'coincidentally' at the same place at the same time. But this is my first 'true' fantasy book. By true fantasy I mean where the author had to create another world.
It was a fun read though. It reminded me of that children's show "Avatar," which I really like.

Dennis Cass is . . . said...

First, I need to learn how to post comments. In my original post, I mean to say "nakedly expository moments" as opposed to "nakedly moments," which sounds like something else entirely.


As for your question, Chris, my beef is mostly with bad dialog. I'm much more forgiving of a contrived plot, because in general I find plot less interesting that character and voice.

cindy said...

this looks very interesting! thanks for a great review of it, chris!