Novel: Moribito Volume 2, Guardian of the Darkness (English)

April 25th, 2012

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. ^_^

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7 Responses

  1. Cryssoberyl says:

    It was excellent as well, although to be honest, I couldn’t shake the feeling that as a whole it was somewhat repeating the formula from the first book. However, the novel’s endgame certainly delivered an interesting situation in a unique style. I really wish they had continued to release these books.

  2. @Cryssoberyl – It is a YA series, so the formula repeat is, to a certain extent, unavoidable. ^_^

  3. Ash says:

    As soon as I finished the first novel I went out and bought the second. I love the books, so it makes me sad that they haven’t done well for the publisher. The first one won the Batchelder Award and the second was an honor book for the same award, and yet they still have slipped under people’s radar. (Granted, I’m only aware of that particular award since I’m a librarian.) I’m glad that we have the first two books in translation, though. Now I need/want to go reread them. ^_^

  4. @Ash Same here. I think the only reason I knew about them was I keep an eye on book news. But it wasn’t like Scholastic didn’t push them…. To the non-anime watching audience, they were just another YA series, and to the anime audience, they were outside the scope.

    I especially liked the second book – it motivated me to read the third. I’m working my way through the fourth now.

  5. shina_luna says:

    This reminds me a lot of having the complete series in Japanese in my shelf for almost two years and still not having read beyong page 5 of this book in particular…
    (I hopped onto reading Kemono no Souja instead somehow.)

    It’s curous thing through, that the Anime-adaption for Moribito turned out to be an all-age styled one, while the book is supposed to be more of a children’s/young adult book, while Kemono no Souja’s adaptions is obviously trimmed to suiting children audiences while the novel is more addressed to adults.

  6. @shina_luna – I’m not entirely sure what distinction you’re making between “all ages” and “children’s”?

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