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marthawells

Martha Wells

My Flying Lizard Circus


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marthawells

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The YA book I've been reading is Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit by Nahoko Uehashi. It's book one of a series, was originally published in Japanese, has been very popular, and is now available in English translation. The first book won an ALA Batchelder award in 2008.

It's set in a fantasy world based loosely on feudal Japan, where a woman who works as a bodyguard ends up saving a boy prince, then discovers that he may be the host for an egg laid by a demon who reappears every hundred years. There's action, martial arts, strong female characters, fantasy demons and spirits, a well-realized world, and also a lot of complex themes. In the past, the dominant Japanese-like culture came in and colonized this area, and has been systematically subsuming the native culture, to the point where the original culture is losing the knowledge of its myths and legends; something that is about to come back and bite everybody in the ass when the hundred-year-demon shows up again. Everything and everyone is more complicated than they seem at first, there are misunderstandings and misguided attempts to protect the kingdom that leave people who should be on the same side working against each other, and so on.

If you liked Avatar: the Last Airbender, or good YA fantasy of any kind, you should definitely check this out. And the covers are gorgeous.

More links:

Stina Leicht's AggieCon report

Retro Future Art from Dark Roasted Blend

The helptheproject charity auction is still in progress. There are autographed books, food, jewelry, or you can get your tax return done. Plus fanfic and fanart and all kinds of fun stuff.

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I just finished watching the Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit anime; it's lovely, gentle anime, with beautiful art. I have the first book, too, but haven't read it yet.

Yes, I haven't seen it but heard it had been made into an anime a while back. I think the first book was originally published in 1996 in Japan.

If you liked Serei no Moribito the anime, you might like Twelve Kingdoms, although it has a lot more external conflict than Moribito does. But it's a very well developed fantasy society and social structure, and three of the light novels it is based on are also available in English. As a bonus, it has quite a few female centric storylines (there's a frame focus on a female teenager and her fate in that other world, whom different older stories are being told to). It has 45 episodes.

Thanks! I'll definitely check it out. I don't mind conflict--it's a story engine, after all--just found Moribito refreshing.

refreshing - I'd call Twelve Kingdoms that too, in a different way than Moribito ^^

Katherine Eliska Kimbriel did a review that's much better than my general squee of it ^^
ANIME REVIEW – The Twelve Kingdoms

Actually she did a lot of brilliant anime reviews on Book View Café - just check the tags of that review.

Nice page on the Retro Future Art. I liked their flying submarine page too, but can't believe they left out "Tom Swift Jr. and his Flying Seacopter." Loved that book as a kid :)

They translated into English? Awesome!

the anime adaptation is also really great, btw!

I second the call-out for 12 Kingdoms.

Unfortunately, the anime was cancelled and there's definitely some uneveness in at least an entire arc the animation due to budget issues. Then they had to rush the ending. It's still an excellent anime which I greatly love.

I've been reading the novels and finding all the information that didn't make it into the animation really interesting. Though. I did find it a little off-putting when I was told the translators took a preemptive stance with potential pedophilia accusations by needlessly mucking around with the wording surrounding the relationship between a king and his child-advisor.

Still, all that aside, the worldbuilding and stories built around the various kingdoms and the characters in each are fascinating.

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