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Characters, Emotion & Viewpoint: Techniques and Exercises for Crafting Dynamic Characters and Effective Viewpoints
Nancy Kress
The Accidental Creative: How to Be Brilliant at a Moment's Notice
Todd Henry

Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit

Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit - Nahoko Uehashi, Cathy Hirano 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-self-centered.

This is also somewhat of a coming-of-age book, because we frequently see from the prince's point of view. He struggles with destiny, first because he never chose to be the guardian of the egg, but he also realizes he never chose to be a prince either, and that has its own burdens.

The dialog oftentimes felt very straightforward (that's the only way I can think to describe it). I think because of how it was translated from Japanese. It's also written in third-omniscient, which is pretty cool, actually. It's been awhile since I read one, but it allows the reader to get a very rounded understanding of what's going on in every scene.

This book is a secondary-world fantasy, set in a culture very much like feudal Japan. As a fan of anime, Japanese culture, and as a former tourist of Japan, I really enjoyed this aspect of the book. I recommend it to anyone who loves Japanese culture.