[Book Review] Dragon Sword and Wind Child – Noriko Ogiwara
This book is one of my favorite of all time! If you are a fan of the popular Japanese manga/anime series, Inuyasha, you will probably enjoy this book as well since it is quite similar. The novel was first written in Japanese, and then two English versions (by the same translator) were released in America. I own and read both English copies (sadly, my Japanese is elementary, at best). I prefer the original translated version (as seen on the left) to the one that is more recent (as seen on the right)*. However, there are not many copies of the former and any existing ones for sale are probably quite pricey. There are not that many differences so you might want to settle for the cheaper and easier option.
Dragon Sword and Wind Child is set in a fantastical version of ancient Japan in which a war is brewing between the people of Light and the people of Darkness. A young girl named Saya is drawn to the Light and even childishly dreams of becoming the wife of immortal Prince Tsukishiro, the demigod son of the God of Light and the twin brother to the ruthless Princess Teruhi. However, the same day she encounters the Prince himself and is chosen to be his handmaid at the great palace, she finds out the shocking truth that she is one of the people of Darkness. She is the reincarnated Water Maiden, a priestess of Darkness who protects and pacifies the Dragon Sword. This dangerous weapon could kill any god. Initially, Saya is unable to accept her destiny as an important member of the forces of Darkness and goes to the palace to serve the Prince. However, once there, she realizes that her opinions about Light and Darkness were not as simple as she had always thought and she struggles to find a place for herself. Which side does she belong on? Who is she really? The strong-headed Saya or just another doomed Water Maiden? And who is the Wind Child she unexpectedly encounters, the one who can wield the dreaded Dragon Sword and finally end the war between those who shun death and those who accept it as an essential part of life?
(So there are a couple similarities to Inuyasha. The obvious ones: the heroine is a reincarnation of a special priestess and there is a powerful sword. While reading the novel, you will notice some more parallels.)
This is an amazing book! The setting is this incredible world derived from a mythological Japan. The characters are so alive, likeable, and relatable, especially Saya and the Wind Child with their struggles of finding a place in which they could belong and their coming to terms with who they are. The writing is beautiful and includes many profound life lessons without being too pedantic. The style is almost poetic and I believe the story is derived from Japanese myth, but I’m not entirely sure. I really, strongly recommend you read this because it is one of the most beautiful, moving stories that I have ever read. I love it!
(*For pictures, look at the review on my blogspot.)