精霊の守り人
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精霊の守り人 (Moribito #1)

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3.96 of 5 stars 3.96  ·  rating details  ·  1,197 ratings  ·  222 reviews
30歳の女用心棒バルサを主人公に、人の世界と精霊の世界を描いたハイファンタジー。野間児童文芸賞新人賞・産経児童出版文化賞・ニッポン放送賞・路傍の石文学賞を受賞した作品で、『闇の守り人』『夢の守り人』『神の守り人(来訪編)』『神の守り人(帰還編)』と続く「守り人」シリーズの第1弾。

100年に一度卵を産む精霊〈水の守り手ニュンガ・ロ・イム〉に卵を産みつけられ、〈精霊の守り人〉としての運命を背負わされた新ヨゴ皇国の第二王子チャグム。母妃からチャグムを託された女用心棒バルサは、チャグムに憑いたモノを疎ましく思う父王と、チャグムの身体の中にある卵を食らおうと狙う幻獣ラルンガ、ふたつの死の手から彼を守って逃げることになるのだが・・・

水の守り手とは何なのか?夏至祭りに隠された秘密とは?多くの謎を秘めて、物語は人間の住む世界「サグ」と精霊の住む「ナユグ

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Paperback, 380 pages
Published October 2006 by Kaisei-sha (first published 1996)
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TheBookSmugglers
Originally reviewed on Kirkus' Science Fiction & Fantasy Blog

“Your Highness,” she said. “I’ve already explained that no matter how much you might give me, it’s no good to me if I’m dead. Forgive my rudeness, but I must speak plainly. You have dealt me an unfair and cowardly blow.”
The queen went pale and began to tremble violently. “What do you mean?”
“I saved the prince’s life, yet you reward me by taking my life. What would you call that but unfair and cowardly?”


On the prosperous, island kin...more
Cyna
So I thought this was going to be a short one, because, well, the book is pretty short, and I didn't think I had much to say about it. Then I started writing, and NGL, totally fangirling, but I don't even care, because this series is fucking awesome, y'all. While Moribito isn't perfect, it was a genuinely pleasurable reading experience, and I would gladly commit gratuitous acts of imaginary violence to have more like it.

For those who skipped the summary, Moribito is the story of Balsa, a thirty-...more
Betsy
May 31, 2008 Betsy rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Betsy by: Cheryl Klein
No one can look you in the eye and tell you that kids today don't read Japanese literature. A simple stroll by the manga section of any well-stocked bookstore will put your mind to rest on that particular matter. But what the kids aren't reading these days is Japanese prose. How many novels for kids, translated from Japanese, can you come up with off the top of your head? Living as we do at a time when children's literature is profitable and all encompassing, you would think that publishers woul...more
Mery
Jun 21, 2010 Mery rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Mery by: Luqman Hakim
Shelves: punya
Guardian of the Sacred Spirit, judulnya keren. Penjaga Roh. Moribito kalau bahasa Yogonya.

Baca ini membuat kita terlempar dalam dunia yang dibuat oleh imajinasi Nahoko Uehashi. Dunia yang melibatkan Jepang dan mitos-mitos kunonya. Dunia yang isinya ada pendekar wanita, kerajaan kecil, dan para penafsir bintang.

Suatu tempat pada abad pertengahan, bernama New Yogo, kerajaan baru yang muncul ketika seorang raja muda bernama Tarugaru datang ke tempat itu membangun kerajaannya sendiri dengan bimbinga...more
branewurms
4 1/2 stars. It wasn't perfect, but man, it was really damn good. The prose is smooth, although a little flat, and the book relied a little too heavily on introspection as a method of relaying information, I think. But it was really gripping, and wow, the expertise of the author really shines through in the worldbuilding. I was also surprised at how well the themes of colonialism and such were handled - and how clearly deliberately thought out they were. This ain't your standard poor lost prince...more
Laura
This is an international book that has been translated from Japanese to English, but doesn't miss a beat with the translation. After Balsa saves the young prince from drowning in a river, his mother the Second Queen, hires Balsa to protect Chagum, the 11-year-old prince. She fears his life is in danger because of a spirit that lives inside him. Balsa agrees to protect the child from his father the Mikado, and the dangerous spirit hunter Rarunga. As the pair narrowly escape danger at every turn w...more
Traci Loudin
Apr 06, 2014 Traci Loudin added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Japanese culture, fans of secondary-world fantasy
Shelves: geek-gala, own, 2014-read
This was a great story about a warrior/bodyguard who is given an impossible mission to save the prince from an otherworldly predator. The prince turns out to be the Moribito, or guardian of an egg that spawns once a century. What I liked about this story was that it wasn't a "save the world" story. The characters were aware that although their mission was bigger than any one of them, it was only important to their area of the island. I haven't read many books where the characters are that... non...more
Novia
I first heard about Moribito from L’Arc~en~Ciel, their song entitled Shine was used as the opening song for the anime version of this book. When I saw the opening, I wasn’t impressed with it and decided not to look for the anime. Last year, a friend of mine (used to be my co work) told me that Seirei no Moribito (the title of the anime as well as the book) was awesome. I became more intrigued after reading the anime review by Kelly of The Gallery of Words.

On July 2011, I was visiting a book sale...more
L11_Nick Mamula
The themes in this book and the way in which they are presented are both powerful and wise. To start, the way in which Uehashi attacks gender roles in society is superb. Instead of relying on the males to represent the strength and power, Uehashi taps into the true power of the female. Throughout the story, it is the women who are subtly the wisest and the most brave. In addition to the gender issue, Uehashi makes sure to tap into ideas of moderation, and the importance of not being "more or les...more
A_Esther
Moribito is a high fantasy tale with subtle hints of heroic romance. From the very first pages, the reader literally dives in with Balsa, a 30 year old spear wielding bodyguard for hire, who jumps off a cliff into dark waters below to save a young prince. Balsa is strong, courageous, observant, and a formidable warrior. But Balsa is also a commoner in a foreign land and a woman. Her reward for saving the young prince is a plea from his mother, the second queen, to protect his life from assassins...more
Feby
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Eva Mitnick
Balsa, a woman warrior and bodyguard, is no shrinking violet, and she’s no spring chicken either. I knew I would like her when I read this description – “Her long, weather-beaten hair was tied at the nape of her neck, and her face, unadorned by makeup, was tanned and beginning to show fine wrinkles.” Brave, sensible, and superbly skilled in martial arts, Balsa is 30 years old – a refreshing age for the heroine of a children’s book, when they usually haven’t hit 18.

Oh, there’s a child in this boo...more
Roxanne Hsu Feldman
I think this one hovers just about 4.5 stars... not exactly perfect, but so so so good. So much about it I can praise:

It's a book that I can feel entirely enthusiastic about recommending to children who look for fast-paced and action packed stories with magic.

It's a book that features unusual characters: the protagonist is a 30-year-old warrior woman who wields a spear with great skills and who has a rich back story and an intriguing future story to look forward to.

It does not alter its sensibil...more
Peter
Guardian of the Spirit is the first book in a popular ten-book Moribito series of novels by Nahoko Uehashi. The fantasy stories are set in far-away lands long ago, with warriors, magicians, and magical creatures. The best reason to read these books, however, is for the main character. Balsa is a female body-guard who was forced to train at an early age after her father was killed. She's smart and clever, and a very strong and entertaining female character. In this book she is forced to protect a...more
Anggia Retno
Balsa seorang jagoan bersenjatakan tombak, menyelamatkan Chagum seorang pangeran kerajaan Yogo.
Dari situ Balsa menjadi terlibat berbagai petualangan demi menyelamatkan nyawa sang pangeran yang diincar berbagai pihak

Moribito, penjaga roh... Di tubuh Chagum bersemayam roh Nyunga Ro Im, yang kehancurannya dapat membawa kehancuran hidup penduduk seluruh kerajaan
Chagum harus berusaha menyelamatkan roh tersebut, sementara nyawanya sendiri terancam akibat kehandiran Nyunga Ro Im di tubuhnya
Mulai dari...more
Jacob
For Balsa, life is a process of penitence earned through fighting. When she meets a boy with a special burden, she finds not only a kindred spirit but a way to repay her debts. In protecting this boy prince, she must fight Emporers and magical creatures. Will she fail on her own, or will others strengthen her ability?

This is a very basic storyline filled with very basic characters. That does not mean it is bad; but it means that it is not entirely surprising or engrossing. Those who enjoy fantas...more
Destyni
This was a beautiful work, and an amazing translation. I love the characters; all of them, even minor characters, had a part to play and it all came together so well at the end. Every character felt so human; imperfect, but learning and progressing throughout the story. The writer does an excellent job at portraying various personalities and perspectives in an unbiased fashion; they were all so unique. I can't describe how much I appreciated that!

I love the fact that the culture did not get wash...more
528_Kristin
Summary: Moribito is an action packed fantasy novel involving, martial arts, sword fighting, myths, and an unlikely hero. The novel has 9 sequels, has been made into a movie, and even has a comic book and radio drama. Set in ancient Japan, the novel is about Balsa, a 30 year old, who is assigned the job of protecting the young prince who is the subject of a century year old myth about the water demon. She is being hunted by the king's men and has to struggle to solve the mystery and save the boy...more
Joy
A very solid fantasy adventure about Balsa, a bodyguard who ends up becoming the protector of a young prince when political forces seek his death. It's so unusual to see a middle-aged woman as the hero of this sort of adventure, and Balsa is awesome: brave, and pragmatic, and fiercely loyal. The story also has a lot of interesting worldbuilding: the land where it takes place is one where the colonized and colonizers live side-by-side, and the heart of the story lies as much in the characters' at...more
Crista
2009 Batchelder Award Winner

Set in a world created by the author, this is a fascinating story of a strong and determined female and her weak, but improving, young charge.

This is the first installment of this series and at the end; you are ready for the next one. I loved how the illustrations in the beginning of each part foreshadowed how that part would end. That is a great stopping point for students to try to predict what will happen.

Older students would be better apt to understand the mythi...more
Laura VanArendonk Baugh
Feb 10, 2009 Laura VanArendonk Baugh rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of fantasy, alternate realities, dual universes
Shelves: fiction
Oddly enough, I enjoyed the anime more than I did the book. The anime (Seirei no Moribito) devoted a full season to just the first book of the series, and I think that was what made the difference -- parts of the book feel rushed and incomplete, after I have seen a more fully developed visual script.

Still, I like the premise and without the book, the anime would not have been made. And I have a guess that some of the richer development in the anime came from later volumes in the novel series. St...more
528_Mary F.
This book is the first in a series by Nahoko Uehashi. It has nine sequels, a radio show, a comic book, and an anime television series in Japan.

Moribito is the guardian of the spirit. If he fails, a drought will devastate New Yogo. People work together to save the world from demons in New Yogo. Balsa and Chagum travel across the country and find themselves hunted by two deadly enemies. Balsa is hired as a body guard and it is feared that Chagum, possessed by a water demon, will be killed.

There i...more
Kristy
This is not at all the type of thing that I would pick up, but I really enjoyed it. It's a part of my read all of the Batchelder awards and honors goal.

Balsa is a 30-year-old bodyguard know through the region for her kicking-tail-and-taking-names ability.

Balsa is hired by the second queen to save the life of the second prince. He becomes like a son to her, as she battles creatures from their world, Sagu, and the other world, Nayugu. It's super intense, kind of like watching Crouching Tiger, Hid...more
Holly
This is the 2009 winner of ALA's Batchelder Award, which "is a citation awarded to an American publisher for a children's book considered to be the most outstanding of those books originally published in a foreign language in a foreign country, and subsequently translated into English and published in the United States." (from the ALA website)

I quite liked it, and hope that more of the series will be translated into English.
Sheila Ruth
Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit is an exciting, action packed story with amazing fight scenes. Yet, the book also has surprising depth and solid character development. The world building is amazing; New Yogo is a fantasy world, but there are definite Japanese cultural influences.

Read my entire review
Kara Wyatt
As a bridge suddenly snaps and a boy goes to the water, it appears as an accident, but Balsa realizes that is not the case. Prince Chagum has a dark secret, which only Balsa knows. Balsa will do everything to protect Prince Chagrum and his secret of attempting assassination.

This book could be used in a classroom setting for enjoyment for the kids.
Jori Richardson
This book was written in stiff, distant prose, with lifeless characters and a plot that plodded along.
For an excellent samurai story, read "A Samurai's Tale" by Erik Christian Haugaard, or if you are looking for something lighter - The Jude Ooka Samurai Mysteries by Thomas Hoobler, or the Zenta & Matsuzo books by Lensey Namioka.
Kris
If you like to read about strong women and have an interest in intrigue, fighting, mythology, monsters, and Japan, here's your book! There have been 10 of these written in Japanese, only 2 have been translated. I'm looking forward to #2 and finding out more about Balsa, female warrior.
Karlan
This Batchelder prize book is an exciting read which I thoroughly enjoyed. There are several sequels available in Japanese, so I hope they are translated for us. The heroine is a vulnerable martial arts star who makes one care about the people caught in a wild fantasy.
Victoria Law
Not as gripping a martial arts novel as Louis Cha's (translated) works, but still engaging. I especially appreciate the repeated recognition of how those in power twist and turn legends and histories for their own purposes.
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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.
More about Nahoko Uehashi...
Moribito II: Guardian of the Darkness (Moribito, #2) 獣の奏者 2 王獣編 獣の奏者 1 闘蛇編 (Musician to the Beasts, #1) 獣の奏者 3 探求編 獣の奏者 4 完結編

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“I know what the world is like. Nobody does anything unless there's something in it for themselves. But there are some people who do more than they have to for what they get in return, and those people are kind right to the heart.” 11 likes
“No matter where you go, you'll find that people in high positions like to make themselves look good. A general, for example, must always be a hero, because who will respect him if he is a coward? I've traveled to many countries and heard many stories, and a victory in battle is always the general's, even when it's won by the hard work of ordinary soldiers. And when time passes, these stories often develop into legends.” 7 likes
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