BookDragon Books for the Diverse Reader

Tegami Bachi: Letter Bee (vol. 1) by Hiroyuki Asada, English adaptation by Rich Amtower, translated by JN Productions

Tegami Bachi 1In a barren wasteland of “perpetual night” called Amberground where only the capital city has access to light from an artificial sun, 18-year-old Gauche Suede works as a dedicated tegami bachi (literally ‘letter bee’), a mail carrier whom people entrust “with their hearts.” Living in a world defined by isolation, the only connections are made in rare letters, whatever their form.

Gauche stumbles on 7-year-old Lag Seeing, his next assigned “letter.” Traumatized by his mother’s recent kidnapping, Lag is labeled to be sent to faraway Yodaka – the poorest area of Amberground, home to the lowest caste – where his aunt lives. Battling giant insects drawn to attack human hearts, Gauche and Lag bond as they share difficulties and dangers on their journey.

Five years later, Lag’s becoming a letter bee himself, all the while hoping to find his beloved mother. Just as Lag was entrusted to Gauche, a nameless little girl is given to Lag … but her mailing label is incomplete. Lag names her “Niche,” and discovers she has such remarkable, surprising powers, he wonders, “Maybe she’s really a boy …” When the two finally reach their mysterious destination, Lag realizes that Niche is anything but safely delivered. He helps her breaks free (not that she needed his help, truth be told). In the struggle, her label gets damaged beyond recognition, and she’s free to be Lag’s companion for all their adventures ahead.

With an emphasis on the importance – and power – of the human heart, this introductory volume sets up a promising new series with endless potential for stories to come. Do Lag and Gauche reunite? Where is Gauche now? What happened to Lag’s mother and Gauche’s ill sister? What new characters are waiting to be revealed? And just how did Niche get all those amazing abilities, anyway? Oh, volume 2, where are you?

Readers: Middle Grade, Young Adult

Published: 2009 (United States)
TEGAMIBACHI © Hiroyukia Asasda
Original Japanese edition published by Shueisha Inc.



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