This is a gorgeous story, but not without flaws.Saya is our protagonist, an ordinary teenage girl who learns that she is the one destined to have the power to awaken and still the Dragon Sword, the only weapon that can end the war that is raging between the Light and Dark I know, sounds a bit too familiar, a bit generic right? Still, I found myself quickly pulled in by the beautiful atmosphere of the story.I was instantly intrigued by the story's concept of Light and Dark One side is led by Prince Tsukishiro and Princess Teruhi, the children of the God of Light, who represent life and so they are immortal On the other side are those who follow the Goddess of Darkness, of death, of earth Her people die and are reincarnated over and over Saya is the reincarnation of the Water Maiden, a princess who is born on the side of Darkness but who is always drawn to the Light and,specifically, to Tsukishiro While she does not remember her past lives, we are given hints of a relationship between Tsukishiro and the last Water Maiden, Sayura, who killed herself This book weaves the tale of Saya as she decides what side she will fight on, and the consequences of her choice.Unfortunately, this book has flaws that are big enough to turn off many readers The characters are all a bit flat and Saya in particular is a very passive protagonist (I normally like my female leads to be strong and decisive, however, I do think the point here is that Saya always desires to follow the Light which goes against her very nature as a child of Darkness, and so she's always caught between the two which leads to her feelings of being unable to truly belong on either side and with that comes insecurity, indecisiveness and passivity.) There is a romance that develops later in the book that I think could definitely have been left out And while I actually like the feel of translated stories, I know that this can be a huge turnoff to some people Also, the writing does get overly descriptive at times and borders on tedious And the ending well, I won't go into it but let's just say, I didn't care for it much.Still, there are some truly thrilling, heartracing scenes in this book And, every once in awhile, a character would say something that would absolutely take my breath away And the whole atmosphere or feeling or whatever of the story just captured me for some reason I definitely wouldn't recommend this book to just anybody, but there was enough here for me to appreciate it for what it was. In the land of Toyoashihara, the forces of the God of Light and the Goddess of Darkness have waged war for generations But for year old Saya, the war is far away and unimportantuntil the day she discovers she is the reincarnation of the Water Maiden and a princess of the Children of the Dark Raised to love the Light and detest the Dark, Saya must come to terms with her heritage even as she is tumbled into the very heart of the conflict that is destroying her country Both the army of the Light and Dark seek to claim her, for she is the only mortal who can awaken the legendary Dragon Sword, the weapon destined to end the war Can Saya make the dreadful choice between the Light and Dark, or is she doomed like all the Water Maidens who have come before her? Noriko Ogiwara grew up reading Western Fantasy books such as Narnia While she loved those, she also kept dreaming of a fantasy set in Asia In the end, she simply went ahead and wrote one herself Dragon Sword and Wind Child is the first book in her Magatamaseries, but it is also a standalone novel that can be read on its own.Saya, a slightly tomboyish girl from a tiny village, would be living a perfectly normal life, if it weren't for the intense nightmares that keep reminding her of her dark past as a war orphan A religious war, or it could be called a crusade, waged by the army of the God of Light against the people who refuse to worship him, derogatorily called Ground Spiders Up until now, all that has meant very little to Saya herself, but then she meets the demons from her dream and is about to play an important role in this centurylong conflict.The world of Dragon Sword and Wind Child is inspired by Japanese mythology, the Record of Ancient Matters (Kojiki) in general, and it is especially reminiscent of the myth of Izanagi and Izanami or also has characters loosely based on the shinto gods Amaterasu, Tsukuyomi and Susanoo However, the author has still created a world very much her own, which you can consider as a fantasy version of Japan, but also simply as a fantasy asianinspired setting I certainly didn't catch all the references (even though the book does feature a very interesting afterword and glossary) and apart from the names the Japanese influence on the story might not even be all that apparent for general readers.The writing isn't exactly polished, but nice enough Quite a few lines I genuinely enjoyed and for a debut work imho it is definitely a fine effort The translation is very well done A sentence here and there could probably have been turned into slightlynatural sounding English, but that's a minor issue.The book does have its weaknesses It is quite short, yet a lot happens in the story and some parts were maybe handled a bit too fast F.ex I found Saya's extreme depression to progress too rapidly and I didn't really get the feeling that a whole month had passed The recovery also happened very fast, but that one got explained and did make sense, so I didn't mind so much Still, sometimes Saya has some kind of flash of genius und just understands something completely, which enables the story to progress The whole reincarnation thing kind of explains it, but it still felt a bit too easy for me I also felt that the foreshadowing wasn't done particularly well and the ending had some parts that went just a bit too nicely.At the same time the book does manage to have depth and complexity Dragon Sword and Wind Child deals with how religion and culture change over time, how one people will influence another, how one religion or culture will assimilate and modify other already existing customs The issues of light vs darkness, life vs death, nature vs “civilization” and, at the end of all, coexistence and tolerance play a major part in the story and convey a nice, if idealistic, message.Saya is a fine heroine, who gets her fair share of character development She questions herself and things around her, makes mistakes, but also learns from them She's not your usual YA bratty main character Torihiko and Chihaya are also very likeable characters and the interactions between Teruhi and Tsukishiro were wellwritten and both act as individuals I appreciated f.ex that Saya realizes that the love she feels for the prince is based for a fair part on physical attraction There is also no instantlove, quite the contrary and no teenie drama Actually this book could be counted as one of the first YA paranormal romance novels I read And if the publisher would just market it as such, it surely could be getting a fewsales With reincarnation, gods and doomed love, there is absolutely no reason this should be any less successful than f.ex Starcrossed.To sum it up, Dragon Sword and Wind Child can be enjoyed simply for its fantasy story, which is exotic and fresh, but also for the different issues it tackles that are very real and exist in our world just as much as in this imaginary setting。If you are a fantasy reader, who is at all interested in Asia or Japan in particular, this book is a mustread For others it is worth reading at least once, if you'd like something different from the general YA fantasy books available in the West. It took me a while to get into this book, but it wasn't the story's fault, I think it was the translation It felt very cold and didn't draw me into the amazing story that was unfolding right underneath the completely passionless words But once I got used to that, the story was incredible While reading it I kept wondering if it was based on actual Japanese mythology It had a real pagan, Greek or Celtic kind of saga feel to it, but Japanese instead The afterword told me this was exactly what Ogiwara was trying to do She said she's always had a love for the British style fantasy that draws its inspiration from Celtic myths and wanted to do the same but from a Japanese point of view I think my favourite thing about this was how different the story was the from usual British fantasy though Having a new mythology to draw her story from really made this book stand out The way it all centers around balance and the cyclical nature of life is fascinating This was the most packed story I've read in a long time It was reallylike three 100 page books in one I don't know how he put so much story into such a tiny book! I can't wait for book two, which is finally being published in English later this year. One of the best Japanese Creation Myths retelling I've ever read in my life, and it's a YA People, read up!What I remember about the story: we follows the heroine Saya, a daughter of the clan of Darkness, who is also a reincarnation of a series of Water Maidens before her She is summoned to the Capital to serve the Moon God, son of the God of Light Saya falls for the handsome, kind Moon God almost instantly However, soon Saya finds herself caught between the conflict between the Moon God and his fierce, beautiful older sister the Sun God a.k.a ruler of the Land; and there are deeper secrets hidden between the godly siblings.The God of Light and the Goddess of Darkness in this story are obviously the creation Gods, Izanami and Izanaki, from the Japanese Creation Myths, but the author offers a lot of her own brand of twists and turns for this touching, imaginative fantasy novel Last but not least, I just absolutely love the ending! This book is surely a Japanese YA novel which definitely needs an anime adaptation! This was a rare impulse buy for me since I'd never heard of this book until I came across it at the bookstore I was very glad I read it It's a translation of a Japanese fantasy book written in the tradition of the common British and American fantasies based on Celtic mythology, only using Japanese mythology from the Kojiki as the basis for the story I loved the fantasy elements and am definitely planning to pick up the second book in the Tales of the Magatama, which has also been translated into English!Full Review 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 earthbound 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 selfdiscovery, 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 JapaneseCanadian 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 worldbuilding, are impressive, as are her fascinating characters Definitely one fantasyfans will want to seek out! As for me, I think I need to find a decent translation of the The Kojiki See this review andat Whitley ReadsI recently found out that the second book in this series has been translated to English, so of course I had to do a reread of this one For…what, the fourth time? Fifth? Who cares; I’m sure I’ll do .This one of my favorite books from my childhood, so one of those stars is probably from nostalgia.That being said, the book probably won’t appeal to everyone It’s a very dense, plotheavy book with little in the way of indepth character development Which is not to say that the characters aren’t fascinating; they are But the whole story reads like a fairy tale, so the characters are kind of distant, like someone who looks like they’d be fun to hang out with but you don’t get a chance to.And I still don’t care, because I’ll take fascinatingbutdistant characters over crappy ones any day All the characters are great, but Chihaya and Torihiko really steal the show Chihaya is probably one of the best characters I’ve ever read about, as he’s an immortal god who’s been shut away from the world and only in the course of this book meets other people Watching him come to terms with the world at large, watching him learn about mortality and empathy, is marvelous The book manages to display him as otherworldly and different, but never makes him into an ass for his lack to other people And Torihiko is just cheeky I love him for being able to be irreverent without being a jerk, like the slew of “witty, sarcastic” characters we see in books today Saya and her bursts of anger fall under that same heading, too She’s got a temper on her, but she’s so frikkin polite about it, always feeling bad afterwards and only blowing up when it’s legitimately called for She’s flawed and human while still being nice, not someone carrying around a chip on her shoulder.But the best part of this book is the themes and concepts that are explored and turned on their heads Saya is drawn to the immortal Prince of Light in a situation that could easily fall into bad romance territory, and instead that obsession is treated as just that: an obsession, one to be explored The balance between Light and Dark and calling them both good and evil in equal measure is, while not new, still wonderfully woven into the story Too often that theme is brought in and only given lip service, rather than the consideration it deserves.This book will always have a special place for me, and I would highly recommend it to fans of high fantasy It’s a cerebral readthan an emotional one, but if that’s your boat, you won’t be disappointed here. This was a different book than I expected It hassimilarities to the current fashion for YA romantic adventure fantasy ( the female main character getting a boyfriend who is a vampire/werewolf/angel/demon/dragon/god/whatevertheywillthinkofnext) in a very different tone (mythologic) and setting, a prehistoric type of fantasy Japan I head this compared to The Lord of the Rings, or Narnia, or many other things, but I would only compare it to one of the longish chapters in the Silmarillion, but Japanese and romanticYA style.The setting and different type of writing, different type of character psychology are truly very interesting The writing is plainer, simpler anddirect than I expected, which contributes to it being a fast read There are many hints in the translation of its original richness in echoes in the original Japanese As it was, I feel I got an idea of the original but the language was not always perfectly ontone with my expectations of prehistorical society with many characters which are gods, either too idiomatic (i´ve had it with you, the sun goddess to her moon twin brother) or words just sounding too modern (enviromnent) But translating is a thankless task, and I am very happy to have read this translation. Check out my book blog forbook reviews and other bookish posts!I’m so happy that I read Dragon Sword and Wind Child and would never have done so if it hadn’t been for Asian Lit Bingo The prompt was to find a book that had been translated into English, and I decided that I wanted to read a fantasy book Dragon Sword and Wind Child is a Japanesemythology inspired fantasy story that had been written in Japanese One of my favourite fantasy book themes are dark vs light, so this immediately spoke to me I was also very intrigued by the Water Maiden aspect.It’s #ownvoices.Saya is just 15yearsold when she ends up having to deal with a lotthan she bargained for, thus she doesn’t always act responsibly I thought that the author did a great job in capturing the mindset of a teenager.I think this is one of the books that will be evenbeautiful after a reread because there are so many small details that one might have overflown during the first read At least, that is what I assume, and this book is for sure going on my reread pile.The romance is very sweet in this novel, and I especially liked how slowmoving it was and that a strong friendship and trust was established before the couple itself was established It’s very romantic to read about.If I could ever have a superpower, I would choose to be able to transform into other living beings There’s one sequence in this book that describes one of the character’s feelings and experiences, when they turn into a mouse and it is awesome This is one of the most creative subjects that I think a writer can write about, because it demands a lot of creativity to imagine how a different living being experiences the world we live in and how it is different and similar to how a human being experiences the world.One beautiful passage in this book that I recommend taking time to read is the passage where the idea of an apology is explained Words are very important to me personally, so this was especially lovely for me to read Another passage that I loved is where one of the characters takes another to show them a field of flowers, instead of picking the flowers and giving the character a bouquet I don’t like bouquets because the flowers end up dying, so I thought that this was so sweet!The title is very intriguing, as in retrospect it gives you a taste for what the book will be about, however, I didn’t pay much attention to it until after reading the book.One criticism that I have is that we don’t find out much about her past life, especially her relationship with the Moon God Her past relationship was a focal point of the story, however, we never got to know what exactly had happened so many years ago.Dragon Sword and Wind Child is a very intriguing and detailed fantasy novel I recommend it to all of you.This book certainly showed me that I shouldn’t be just focussed on upcoming and hyped books (which are usually written in English), but also take some time to look for books that have been translated from other languages There is such a vast library of books that is out there and just waiting to be unlocked, but sadly we don’t always have the correct language key for the library.Trigger warnings: suicide.