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Dragon Sword and Wind Child by Noriko…
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Dragon Sword and Wind Child

by Noriko Ogiwara

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Tales of Magatama | The Jade Trilogy (Book 1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
201790,075 (3.95)8
Raised in the ancient Japanese village of Hashiba, fifteen-year-old Saya discovers that she is the reincarnation of the Water Maiden, princess of the underworld, who must try to reconcile the powers of heaven and earth.
  1. 00
    The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N. K. Jemisin (kaionvin)
    kaionvin: Dueling gods, reincarnation, child-like characters, and a female protagonist who gets involved in it all.
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Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
Fifteen-year-old Saya is the only survivor of an attack by the army of the God of Light on her village when she was a child. Although she occasionally dreams about the attack, she now lives with her adoptive parents in the village of Hashiba, which has accepted the God of Light and his immortal children, Princess Teruhi and Prince Tsukishiro. Saya has no memories of her birth parents and loves the Light just as much as any other person in Hashiba, so it's a shock when several strangers arrive and tell her that she's a princess of the Children of the Dark. Unlike the immortal Children of the God of Light, the Children of the Goddess of Darkness can die and then be reincarnated, and Saya is the reincarnation of the Water Maiden. Before she has a chance to truly process this, Prince Tsukishiro arrives and takes a sudden interest in her.

Saya is faced with several choices: she can become one of the prince's handmaidens and eventually his bride, knowing that he doesn't really love her; she can kill herself like the Water Maidens before her; or she can somehow find a way to escape. She chooses the third option and discovers both the Dragon Sword, a weapon so powerful it can kill gods, and Chihaya, a Child of the God of Light who is seen as a failure by his siblings because he has always been drawn to the Darkness.

I honestly didn't know where Ogiwara was going to go with this book, most of the time. Saya figured out that her love for Prince Tsukishiro was foolish surprisingly quickly, although it took a bit longer for her heart to catch up. Chihaya was...unexpected. I had caught the mention of a third Child of the God of Light, but I hadn't thought that Saya would be meeting him so soon and taking him along with her.

The immortals, Chihaya in particular, came across as somewhat alien. Chihaya had the ability to switch bodies with various animals and didn't seem to be aware, or maybe didn't care, that the animals wouldn't necessarily be okay if they got injured while he was using them. He could experience pain and certainly disliked it, but any injuries would usually disappear in a day or less. He cared about his horse and Saya, in that order, and I'm not sure he truly realized, during a good chunk of the book, that Saya could die.

The book's pacing was a bit slow for my tastes, but I liked reading about Saya's efforts to understand Chihaya. She had to struggle to convince the Children of the Goddess of Darkness to keep him free as he kept doing things that indicated he was more dangerous to have around than they'd initially thought. Watching how Chihaya changed as the story progressed was fascinating.

I wish, though, that Saya hadn't come across as more a supporting character than a main character. I went into the book expecting her to be more active. There were moments when she had choices to make and things to do, but mostly she existed to support Chihaya while he gradually came into his powers and got a better look at the Darkness he'd been drawn towards all his life. Saya supposedly had the power to pacify gods but never got to the point of being able to use them, unless her ability to connect with Chihaya counted.

I kind of wish this had been a friendship-only book, since I felt Chihaya and Saya worked best as friends, but I suppose their eventual romance fit with the "God of Light and Goddess of Darkness" theme. The way I felt about the two of them reminded me a little of how I felt about the sudden romance in Philip Pullman's The Amber Spyglass. It felt forced.

All in all, despite its problems this was pretty good. I look forward to the next book, although I wonder how it'll be related to this one. I don't recognize the character names in the description and, honestly, the way Dragon Sword and Wind Child ended makes it work just fine as a standalone.

Extras:

The book includes two full-page, full-color illustrations. One is a larger version of the cover illustration.

(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.) ( )
  Familiar_Diversions | Mar 11, 2018 |
A translation of a fantasy story based on Japanese mythology. I loved the lyrical description and the inventive characters - especially the immortals who were always up to something interesting. The plot was a little convoluted at times but in a way it suited the dream-like nature of the world. ( )
  Elizabeth_Foster | Nov 3, 2017 |
Dragon Sword and Wind Child is a translation of a Japanese fantasy novel that draws on Japanese mythology and Western fantasy tradition.

The forces of the God of Light and the Goddess of Darkness have been at war for generations. For Saya, an orphaned teenage girl living among the people of Light, the war exists somewhere in the background… until she finds out that she is the Water Maiden, a reincarnation of the priestess of the Goddess of Dark. As the Water Maiden, Saya is the only one who can tame the Dragon Sword, a legendary weapon fated to end the war between the deities.

What I liked most about Dragon Sword and Wind Child was how the light and dark was not equivalent to good and evil. The children of the God of Light are immortal and eternal, unchanging. The children of the Goddess of Darkness die and are reborn in a cyclical pattern. Neither is good or evil, but by starting the war the God of Light has been upsetting the balance between them.

“For the first time Saya understood how people can grow accustomed to war. Intensified by the stark contrast between life and death, fleeting moments of joy such as these could make one almost mad with happiness.”

I generally liked the characters, although there were a couple of minor ones I had trouble keeping track of. Chihaya was by far my favorite for how he didn’t know or care for societal customs. It gave him a humorous side that not a lot of the other characters had. As a heroine, I thought Saya seemed rather passive. Don’t be mistaken by the blurb – Saya is not destined to wield or fight with the Dragon Sword.

I was utterly immersed in the world Ogiwara created, which came to vivid life through the quality writing. The prose was simply beautiful, and I have no complaints regarding the translation.

I’m glad I read Dragon Sword and Wind Child, and I’m already planning on tracking down more by this author. If you’re looking for fantasy novel drawing from a non-Western background, this would be one of the first I’d recommend.

Originally posted on The Illustrated Page. ( )
  pwaites | Mar 25, 2016 |
Raised by adoptive parents in the quiet village of Hashiba, Saya had almost no memory of the time before she was found, a very young child, starving and alone on the mountainside. Haunted by terrifying dreams of a fire, and a nighttime flight, she had no real notion of who she was, until a company of travelers arrived with an incredible revelation. For Saya, taught to venerate the God of Light, and his earth-bound children - Prince Tsukishiro and Princess Teruhi - was none other than the Water Maiden, a princess of the Children of Darkness, and the one destined to awaken the fabled Dragon Sword. Would she take her place in the struggle to oppose the tyranny of the Palace of Light, to bring balance to the land of Toyoashihara? Or would she, like all the Water Maidens before her, be drawn to her enemy, and destroyed...?

First translated into English in 1993, before going out of print, and then being republished in this lovely new edition in 2005, this Japanese children's fantasy has long been on my list of books to read, so I was delighted when it was chosen as our May selection for The International Book Club to which I belong. I knew that Ogiwara had drawn on traditional Japanese Shinto mythology in the writing of this - the first in a trilogy (of which, alas, only the first title has been translated) - and I was curious to see what she made of it.

Overall, I think Dragon Sword and Wind Child is a success, and while I was not unaware of a few narrative flaws, while reading, would not hesitate to recommend it to those with an interest in epic fantasy, or Japanese folklore. It was a little disconcerting to see how rapidly the book shifted focus, after Chihaya entered the picture, almost abandoning the tale of Saya's journey of self-discovery, in order to focus on the epic quest of the youngest child of the God of Light; but while Saya was sometimes a little too passive a heroine for my taste, I can't deny that I found the story involving, and, at times, moving.

This is the second fantasy novel with a Japanese theme that I have read, where the narrative developments hinge on the notion of balance, and how destructive it can be, when some sort of duality is off kilter. In The Water of Possibility, by Japanese-Canadian author Hiromi Goto, the imbalance is between masculine and feminine power, and here it is between the forces of light and dark (each of which has both its feminine and masculine defenders), but the principle seems to be the same: too much of one or the other can only lead to disaster. Ogiwara's development of this theme, and her world-building, are impressive, as are her fascinating characters. Definitely one fantasy-fans will want to seek out! As for me, I think I need to find a decent translation of the The Kojiki... ( )
  AbigailAdams26 | Apr 16, 2013 |
This book was out of print for so long that I despaired of ever finding a copy of my own. I was delighted to find it back in print at last.

The story is of Saya, a young woman who finds herself in the middle of a war between light and darkness. But this isn't Star Wars, and what is bright and beautiful on the surface may be very different within. Imprisoned by two demigods, and befriended by a third, Saya must accept an unbelievable past in order to survive her uncertain future.

The translation by Cathy Hirano is simply beautiful. The different places in the novel--especially the court of Princess Teruhi and Prince Tsukishiro, and the field of gypsy roses--are depicted with amazing lyricism and detail. For that alone the book would be worth reading, but the intricate plot and intriguing characters make it a must-read for fantasy fans.

The story stands on its own very well, but keep an eye out for the other two books of the Jade Trilogy--an English edition of Mirror Sword and Shadow Prince is slated for publication in May 2011. ( )
  thelibrarina | Dec 28, 2010 |
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» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Noriko Ogiwaraprimary authorall editionscalculated
Hirano, CathyTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Satake, MihoIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
"Like the swift flowing waters,
Parted by a rock in midstream,
We shall be reunited."

- The retired emperor Sutoku
Dedication
First words
In her dream, Saya was always six years old.
Quotations
O winds of heaven, bring up the clouds
and seal the vaulted sky
Lest these heavenly maids should wings possess
and away from us should fly.
-Bishop Henjo
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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