In Moribito, Guardian of the Spirit, we learn Balsa’s tragic backstory, and why she cannot return to her country, Kanbal. In Moribito 2, Guardian of the Darkness, she returns to Kanbal to face her past.
Still in New Yogo, Balsa learns that the King who had had her father killed unjustly and caused her foster father Jiguro to take her out of the country as a child, has died. She decides to return to her country – and to her tribe – to face the wounds she still bears.
Of course, on the way, an adventure breaks out. As with the first book, it is two young people that help her figure out what has gone wrong where. And indeed, several things have gone terribly wrong. The land is suffering because a ritual has gone undone for too many years, the wrong person is in charge of her tribe and there is a conspiracy against her life.
Because it is Balsa, and not someone else, we can be content to watch her work out the pieces until she knows what must be done – and what must be done, right away, is the long neglected ritual in which a future tribe leader faces down the darkness.
Accompanying the true heir to the title of leader, Balsa faces the spirits of the darkness and the joys and horrors until, at last, she comes face to face with her own ghosts.
The scene where she fights for not only her own life, but for her tribe’s future and her own mental well-being had me in tears. I was, and am, so glad that this was translated into English!
Once again, I recommend this book for a young person with an interest in myth and action. But more than the first book, this novel was all about Balsa – her childhood, her adulthood, her life. And for that, it was absolutely, fabulously awesome.
Overall – 9
At the end, she turns her sight on home…New Yogo…and Tanda. Awww. ^_^