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Brave Story

4.12 of 5 stars 4.12  ·  rating details  ·  1,779 ratings  ·  245 reviews
A young boy finds his destiny in a world of fantasy. The Bravest Story Ever Told Young Wataru Mitani's life is a mess. His father has abandoned him, and his mother has been hospitalized after a suicide attempt. Desperately he searches for some way to change his life, a way to alter his fate. To achieve his goal, he must navigate the magical world of Vision, a land filled w ...more
Kindle Edition, 938 pages
Published (first published January 1st 2006)
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Sandy Shaller As in most classic fantasies that follow the formula of the hero with many faces, the boy redeems the magic land and thus redeems his own real world.…moreAs in most classic fantasies that follow the formula of the hero with many faces, the boy redeems the magic land and thus redeems his own real world.

It's one of the longest, most unusual and uneven fantasies, but it is compelling in its story-telling.(less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Besides having to hide at my desk to read this at lunch hour (people were constantly asking me 'how long's it take you to read a book like that??), I really like it. I'm a big fan of japanese literature in general but this was my first taste of fantasy. Usually I can only get mysteries. Miyabe is an accomplished mystery writer which is probably why she managed to get this one marketed in the US. I'm so glad she did!

I'll be honest, if you don't spend hours glued to Final Fantasy you're going to
Seth Hahne
Really there's not much else to say but that I was blown away by Brave Story. It was so much better than I expected, a thoroughly designed young adult fantasy that builds its strength on the problem of growing up.

It's a little known fact that I find most fantasy novels to be less engaging than their real-world counterparts. Authors of fantasy, then, really have to present something special or endearing in order to get a) to finish their works and b) to be happy I did. Despite being perfectly at
Sep 12, 2007 Ben rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Japanese animation fans, or fans of the Neverending Story
This was a fun, if lengthy story. According to the book jacket, Ms. Miyabe is quite an accomplished author, with several accolades and awards to her name in her native Japan. I'm always interested in the manner in which Japanese books are translated to English.
One of my observations is that the books I've read in Japanese tend to play a little more loosely with the point of view. In other words, the authors don't have a problem leaping from one character's head to another, and then back, within
This is one of those books that I wish had been more heavily edited. It was good and I enjoyed it, but it was just too long to really be necessary. The beginning really sucked me in--it was a good mix of mystery, fantasy and drama. After Wataru is transported to the magical realm of Vision, things start to weaken significantly.

Overall, I felt that it was too many things right after another. As someone who grew up playing Final Fantasy and other Japanese role-playing video games, I'm completely u
Denzil Pugh
I remember as a child watching cartoon movies on HBO and Showtime, movies like Nausicaa, which fascinated me, as they were nothing like any of the cartoons you saw on television at the time. Characters with emotional depth, with real feelings. And sometimes the characters died, which is something you don't see on American cartoons. Cobra Commander might have been an evil mastermind, but he couldn't shoot the broad side of a barn. And no Transformer ever got killed until the movie, which sent man ...more
I have this list of 7 things which the "Perfect Book" contains; it ranges from title and opening lines, to depth of characters and writing style ( plus some bonus factors that I find personally important). For my goodreads reviews I've condensed that list into 5 'star categories', and the total earned will equal my review score.

The categories are:
1) Appeal - did it grab and hold my attention?
2) Story
3) Characters
4) Style
5) Meaning - did it have something to say?

I gave "Brave Story" 3.5 Stars
It's just...

it's just so LONG.

I don't have a problem with long books, guys, honestly not. If a well-crafted story can hold my attention for 800 pages, I am properly thrilled. It's just that there's no reason for this book to be as long as it is. It meanders into sub-plot after sub-plot - much like the video games it's inspired by, I understand, but it doesn't work very well in a literary format. The sense of realistic urgency set up by the first 200 pages was just destroyed by the 400th; at that
If you enjoyed the Narnia books, the Wrinkle In Time books, or even Lloyd Alexander's Prydain books, you're going to love this one. At 816 pages, it's a little on the meandering side, but when you surrender yourself to its heft, you'll be rewarded with a very well thought-out imaginary world inhabited by tons of charming (and not so charming) creatures. If I had a kid just starting to sniff out more challenging literary adventures, I'd give her this book to tackle. The architecture of plot is so ...more
I enjoyed this book, but I felt it was a little longer than necessary - and a little preachy at times. I loved the characters of Meena, Kee Keema, Kutz and Wataru - the relationships they built were worth reading about and kept me invested in the story. And the addition of the dragon, Jozo, added excitement just when I was about to give up on the book.

Wataru is a boy learning to come to grips with his parents' divorce. He finds himself sucked into an alternate reality in which, if he is successf
David Ranney
Apr 20, 2015 David Ranney rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to David by: Ashley
Mitsuru, the little boy who lost his mother and his baby sister when his dad went on a killing spree. Mitsuru Ashikawa, the little boy who'd been next in line to be murdered. Mitsuru Ashikawa, who tried to commit suicide.
Wataru curled up in a ball on the floor. He couldn't control his shivering. His whole body should until the bookshelf behind him was rattling.
So long. Goodbye.
Wataru knew now why Ashikawa had gone to the other world. He didn't have a place in this one. Vision was his home now.
This story (translated from the Japanese) is like two stories mashed together. It begins in the real world with a young boy (age 11) named Wataru. There's some strange goings-on in a half-built house in his neighborhood (and it's pretty interesting). But then that bit gets overshadowed by Wataru's disintegrating family. Wataru wants to fix things and thinks he'll get a chance by fulfilling a mission into another world called Vision. Brave Story is fat, heavy, 800-page book and Wataru's entrance ...more
I almost didn't buy this book. I'm not even sure why I brought this book. Maybe it's the cover; I don't know.

Brave Story tells the interior and exterior of a young boy's struggle to deal with his changing family situation. There are similarities, as another review pointed out, to The Neverending Story, but the allergory between the magical world and inner self of the boy is more obivious.

The characters are well drawn and while the main character is a boy, there are several strong female characte
Teresa Foote
This is a very special book. I wouldn't say it's perfect, I think there is a little bit of muddiness that might be a result of translating it from the original Japanese, not sure. Still, I really enjoyed this imaginative and wonderful coming-of-age tale, that addresses issues that a lot of kids deal with and not many people talk about (divorce). Not all of the themes are unique--escaping to a world created by one's own imagination has been done before. However, I don't think that anyone has delv ...more
Wow... I finally finished this book.
A few times I was ready to give up on it, not because of the story, but because it's such a long book! My other books were up on my shelf, gathering dust while I was reading this book,tempting me to put down Brave Story and pick up a book I recently bought. I'm glad I didn't give up on Brave Story, though, despite its whopping 816 pages. I learned a lot from this book. As an aspiring author, I am bracing myself for what I hope to have in store, and seeing Miy
This is a book that affirms for me why we read stories. Worlds created in our imagination make it possible for us to think in new ways and--perhaps--live in new ways. Miyabe gets spot on the anxieties of being a child and the trauma brought on by familial instability. She gives the protagonist, Wataru, the chance to alter his destiny in a fully realized fantasy world parallel to the "real" world. Part coming-of-age, part adventure fantasy, and part philosophical treatise on suffering and happine ...more
This book was
I would put this book in that "fairy tales for people old enough to understand what fairy tales are about" category. It's a little over-the-top on its symbolism but also pretty heart-wrenchingly poignant when you get to the core: a boy trying to deal with the adults in his life revealing they are also mistake-making humans. That he does this through building and exploring an entire video game-esque alternate reality just means that this story would make an amazing Studio Ghibli animated feature. ...more
If ever I've come across a satisfyingly meaty fantasy novel for the youth set, this is it. Miyuki Miyabe's instant classic recipient of the Batchelder Award for the year's best foreign language juvenile novel translated into English is a long book even for its eight hundred sixteen pages; the print reads smaller than it would appear to at first glance, and extends further up at the top and down at the bottom of each page than in most books. Brave Story is such a dense volume, I found it impract ...more
Apr 22, 2015 Devon rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: 14+ y/o's who love fantasy, and aren't afraid of big books
At 813 pages this is both the longest book I've read, and one of the toughest books to sell, but just having it in store as my staff pick has seen it bought. It is something I read in early junior high that stuck with me, and that one day I would really like to read again.

The main character is 12, and the content is not incredibly mature, but it is in the Teen section and it's length is intimidating. I would recommend this book to someone as young as 14 if they're willing to try, and love fanta
Elizabeth Solis
Oct 21, 2014 Elizabeth Solis rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone who likes fantasy and RPG games.
Shelves: favorite-books
Wow... Estoy sin palabras. Primero que nada tengo que decir que este NO es un libro para niños y si lo leyeran tal vez no alcanzarían a comprender la magnitud de la historia que se cuenta, es simplemente magnífico. Hace ya mucho tiempo que no leía un libro tan bueno como este, definitivamente se lo recomiendo a todos los interesados en el género de la fantasía, y a los que no, denle una oportunidad, no se arrepentirán.

Wataru Mitani, el protagonista, es un niño de 11 años a quien le encantan los
Manuel Alfonseca
The first part, in the real world, is very good. The second is an adventure story in a fantastic world, somewhat in the style of video games and manga. The epilogue gets back to the real world and closes most of the loose ends.
The fantasy world (Vision) adapts itself to the mind of the traveler. Good and evil in Vision correspond to good and evil in him. To fight evil, he must discover and uproot his own evil tendencies. This teaching of the novel is very good.
There is a problem, however. Too mu
for me this story reverses the general American approach to young adult books. There, usually a large, complex, adult problem is simplified so that extraordinary youths can conquer it without giving into the world around them.

Here large, complex, adult problems are left that way and we follow an ordinary youth through a fantastic journey to just come to grips with the enormity of life and it's struggles.

I was entranced by this tale of the breaking of ignorance and innocence. Of growing up and
Based on Japanese RPGs (in a pastiche sort of way), mixed with a soap opera atmosphere. It never quite manages to be as good as most Japanese RPGs, though, and it's ridiculously and needlessly wordy. I read most of it while also playing through a Final Fantasy game and always preferred the latter. Notable is an entire sequence (lovingly?) lifted straight from the Zelda game "Ocarina Of Time" without adding much to it at all. Additionally takes a lot of cues from "The Neverending Story" by Michae ...more
Joell Smith-Borne
This is an odd one. It's a translation of a Japanese I-guess-I'd-call-it-middle-grade novel. It's huge, something like 800 pages, and it's a kid-goes-to-magical-realm-and-learns-Important-Stuff story, but that magical realm follows video game rules.... I don't know; I kept reading because there were so many good reviews saying how interesting it was that the characters and motivations weren't just good and evil, but I guess I've read so many great YA and middle grade books that explore those gra ...more
Jun 27, 2015 Whitney rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone.
I’m going to go ahead and admit that the main reason I bought this book is because I thought the cover was absolutely beautiful. I knew nothing of the author, nor had I ever heard of this book, the cover captured me and the first chapter reeled me in so I took a risk and bought the book. I was not disappointed.
I think my favorite part of this book was the world building. I knew as soon as I saw the map printed on the first few pages (to be honest, as soon as I saw the cover) I knew that this bo
This was an excellent young adult book recommended by Daniel, the third in my "no white male writers" challenge. It was a bit of a departure for my dystopian Daniel, but one I'm so glad he made! The writing was beautiful and poignant, the main character was completely relatable, and although the story of a boy finding himself on a fantastical journey was not an original idea, it was original in its execution. It's quite a long book, so will keep a reader busy and interested for many long and enj ...more
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Leslie Fisher
I would probably give this 3.5-4 stars. It was good - especially the end - but it was long and it took a while to get through it. It had a good message: that you are in control of your destiny, and that there will always be happiness and sadness. The way you react to certain events will determine your satisfaction with life.

This book was very imaginative - it took place in a world like that of a fantasy video game. The creatures were creative, but the writing is descriptive and vivid. Though I'
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See also 宮部 みゆき.宮部美幸

Miyuki Miyabe (宮部みゆき Miyabe Miyuki) is a popular contemporary Japanese author active in a number of genres including science fiction, mystery fiction, historical fiction, social commentary, and juvenile fiction.
Miyabe started writing novels at the age of 23. She has been a prolific writer, publishing dozens of novels and winning many major literary prizes, including the Yamamo
More about Miyuki Miyabe...
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“As long as there is happiness, there will be sadness. As long as there is fortune, there will be misfortune.
“…What’s real is something that not even the strength of the Goddess can change. The only one who can change it is me. If I don’t change my destiny, if I don’t cut through the obstacles in my path, then no matter where I go, I’ll always be standing in the same place, doing the same thing over and over again, for the rest of my life.”
“Vesna Esta Holicia, until you shine again, into vision, into the real world. Though a child of man knows time, life itself is eternal.” 7 likes
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