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The Book of Heroes

3.81  ·  Rating Details ·  470 Ratings  ·  52 Reviews
When her brother Hiroki disappears after a violent altercation with bullies, Yuriko finds a magical book in his room. She learns that Hiroki has been possessed by The Book of Heroes, and that only she can save him. With the help of the monk Sky, the dictionary-mouse Aju, and the mysterious Man of Ash, Yuriko has to solve the mystery of her vanished brother and save the wor ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published November 15th 2011 by Haikasoru (first published January 19th 2010)
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Seth T.
Nov 29, 2010 Seth T. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Let me get this out of the way at the outset: the antagonist is story! *jaw drops* Now, back to your regularly scheduled review.

It's pretty easy to see why fans of Miyabe's Brave Story could be disappointed in The Book of Heroes. The former was a winsome, compulsive read. Miyabe played with familiar fantasy and JRPG tropes using a wholly believable protagonist and did so with beauty and confidence. It was almost impossible not to enjoy her 800-page entry into young adult fantasy. Heroes has like
Bonnie (A Backwards Story)
Every now and then, it's good to break away from the mold and try something different. I don't often read adult sci-fi/fantasy, but walking through the aisle one day, Miyuki Miyabe's The Book of Heroes caught my eye. The novel's concept intrigued me. Plus, it had something else going for it from the get-go: I always enjoy a good hero story.

Eleven-year-old Yuriko Morisaki is an ordinary fifth-grade student until her older brother Hiroki does the unthinkable. After a bad altercation at school resu
Mar 24, 2010 Eric rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, 2010
What we have here is 350 pages of information dump. A couple of monsters show up to keep things lively (the giant eyeball is especially cool), but everything else is backstory, exposition, and endless lecturing. Terrible.
An expertly done fantasy novel with a young heroine, that's both simple enough to be realistic for her age whilst still being a complex story with fabulous world-building.
I read this ages ago but I still remember it. I'd like to find another copy and reread it.
Jan 13, 2017 Rhea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This reminds me a lot of Brave Story. It's a lot more concise than Brave Story though.
Educating Drew
Dec 17, 2011 Educating Drew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010, fantasy
"Consider a person's life," the Sage continued over her objection. "no matter that great deeds they might accomplish, they are merely creating a relaity, nothing more. Only when we have thoughts, and the telling of thoughts, and those thoughts become stories is the Hero first born. What we think, we tell, and are told - all are stories. But the Hero is the story that is the source of all the greatest deeds. The heroes who exist in your Circle all spring from this original story. They are like co ...more
Sophie Kihm
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 01, 2012 Paula rated it it was amazing
First off, let me apologize for my absence on the blog. So far 2012 has been light on the reading front, I think I may have burned myself out a bit last year and so I'm trying not to over-read now. I know that's not an excuse to all you lovely readers, but merely an explanation. Anyway.. on to what you are actually here for.

The story is thus: Yuriko is a normal elementary school girl. Her family is average, etc etc. Then one day she is called out of class because an incident has occurred. It tur
Apr 08, 2014 Andrew rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very strange book. I didn't connect with it, but I can't tell where the blame falls between me, the author, and the translator.

I only know the author from her novel inspired by (or tie-in to, if you're ungenerous) the game _Ico_. This felt weirdly like a tie-in to *that*; a great deal of the book's imagery reminded me strongly of either _Ico_ or _Shadow of the Colossus_. Not the story, mind you, that's new. But when you start with a cursed nameless land and a giant tower in the middle, with na
Apr 26, 2012 Steven rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: low-fantasy, 2012
This is a solid fantasy book. While the main character may be a fifth grader this is in no way to be considered young adult literature.

This story revolves around a little girl searching for her missing brother who has been corrupted by the dark side of "the Hero," "The King in Yellow." For those familiar, the King in Yellow is either a direct reference to or an allusion to the stories that inspired Lovecraft. It is a thing focused on chaos and destruction and it has taken Yuriko's brother. What
This book is a story about a girl who want to save her brother accompanied by a mouse-dictionary, monk, and a wolf. Before you roll your eyes, no, it's not werewolf (Thank God this book has nothing of sort. I'm going to bang my head if I found another book with werewolf and vampire.)

Asking for romance is a too high of expectation of course. Traveling to different world is not unfamiliar concept, also the idea of saving the world. But don't let them make you put this book back to shelf yet. The '
May 10, 2014 Clare rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Book of Heroes is the same as Brave Story in which a young child has to travel to an entirely new world full of rich sceneries and characters. Like Brave Story had a lesson in it, so does Book of Heroes. It might seem more "abstract" than Brave Story, but its still there (what the lesson is...well, you'll have to read this to find out ;) The worlds/realms/whateveryoucallthem that Yuriko, the main character, travels through on her quest to save her brother, are easy enough to visualize, but the " ...more
Feb 19, 2014 Kim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There is a lot of explanations of different regions, what Yuriko has to do as an allcaste, etc. in this book, which made the first half a bit slow compared to other fantasy novels that I have read so far. However for some reason, I was very much into this book. The questions of what names and titles are, whether both told and lost stories are fake, and what right and wrong are ventured out with the fifth grade character Yuriko. Meeting different people at different places made her adventure fant ...more
Aug 06, 2016 Victoria rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review is going to be a bit of a mess, but this is one of the greatest books I have ever read. I rarely give books five stars, but this is definitely one of them. I liked a lot of Miyabe's other books, especially "Brave Story," but "The Book of Heroes" was a cut above the rest in my opinion. The main character of Yuri/U-ri goes through a lot of character development, becoming wise beyond her years as you get into the book. It has a lot of cool, complex lore about the origins and nature of s ...more
Aug 10, 2010 David added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Harry Potter and Kingdom Hearts fans
The book cover illustration portrays a magical children's book. But you must remember that this book was written by a Japanese author, so it will have a lot of Japanese influence on it. They have a different measurement of what is children stories compared to Americans. Typically it is a lot darker, violent, and scarier then your typical children stories. The book starts off care free enough but you can feel the tension build, which is done really well. You can feel the anxiety the character is ...more
Mar 21, 2010 Tiamat_the_red rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not really sure why this one keeps showing up in the graphic novel sections because it isn't one.

I enjoyed this book and spent the last 50 or so pages lamenting the fact that the quest had really only just begun and thus would require a second book. And then it didn't. The end startled me but it was still a good book.

For the most part you didn't need to be in any way familiar with Japan to enjoy this book, though it would have helped to make sense of one comment (That "Aju" and "Ash" sound
Nov 23, 2011 Savannah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: japanese
Is it a sin to want to BECOME part of a story? To wish you were the Hero of a tale, to save the day and triumph over "evil"? According to The Book of Heroes ,yes, it is. Meet The Hero, aka, The King in Yellow. Two sides of the same coin, one not existing without the other. He can give you anything you want, including the power to overcome your enemies, to protect the ones you love, but for what price? Yuriko's brother, Hiroki, has fallen prey to The King In Yellow and disappeared. When Yuriko m ...more
Voss Foster
Apr 22, 2015 Voss Foster rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I'm glad I read this book, but I will never read it again. It was absolutely incredible--plot, characters, twists and turns and all the wonderful things that make fiction such a beloved thing.

Why won't I read it? it's too much. the emotion is so on edge, the story line so depressing--not tearful depressing but more hopelessly depressing--it makes me nervous to open the book again.

But, as it is, it's a marvelous piece of fiction--it has to be to effect such emotion in someone, I think. For someon
William Clemens
May 05, 2011 William Clemens rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Admittedly, part of why I liked this book was just that it was Japanese. It has that quality where everything feels a bit foreign, so even if I didn't like bits of it, I just assume I didn't understand them. In fact, there was a lot that was confusing in this book.

The basic plot is that the story of 'The Hero' possesses a young girl's brother and she must travel to other worlds and into other stories to save him. The concept of stories as entities is great, and intriguing, but it's also confusin
May 10, 2012 Elsa rated it it was amazing
Shelves: japanese-lit
"So you see, it does not matter what form the books take here. All that matters is what they hold."

I picked this book up expecting one thing and got something else completely. Yes, this is a quest adventure but it is so much more. It is about the nature of story, how we as humans are intrinsically interwoven in our own and others stories and how that shapes our perception of our world. It is about the duality of "the hero" and how from one perspective the view is of good and from another of evil
Serena Wyndelin Ogawa
Another beautiful and haunting story by Miyuki Miyabe. Although it falls just a step beneath Brave Story for me it is still 5-star work. Yuriko's desire to save her brother, to find him and help him are very human and heart-wrenching moments. It deals very closely to the real-life bullying which occurs often in Japanese school systems and how staff and students treat the cases. I've seen it firsthand and secondhand.

A chilling narrative with great characters and a story that makes your heart cry
May 25, 2010 Christopher rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gave-up
I loved Brave Story, but this book just didn't measure up for me. The story took too long to get off the ground, and it became so mired in the rules and conventions of its world, we never actually get a chance to roam around and explore. If you love reading exposition, this is certainly going to be up your alley. For me, this 300 page book felt longer than its 1,000 page-plus predecessor and I finally had to admit defeat and give up halfway through because I simply was not enjoying myself. Disap ...more
Apr 08, 2016 Ugoki rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this since I was such a fan of her Brave Story novel, expecting something like that. And what I got is not really what I wanted.

I understand the philosophy this book is all about. But I don't think I like it. It is too nihilist "balance between good and evil" Buddhist thing.

Speaking of Buddhism, once again not!Christianity gets a bad rep, just like in Brave Story. Perhaps she's just mimicking generic Japanese western fantasy tropes but I still don't like it.

This book feels less like a gra
Dec 16, 2011 Olivia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So I know that I took a long time to read this book, but that wasn't because I didn't like it, I was just busy. When I actually would sit down and read, I really enjoyed it! I liked the whole idea of the "circle", and the "hero", it was interesting. I also loved how the book was printed, with wavy text lines for the index, chapter titles, etc. and in the corner, if you flipped through the pages quickly, it looked like the little image of the book was flying!
May 17, 2015 Leah rated it liked it
An entertaining and fanciful storyline that kept me engaged throughout. There were some characters that kind of floated through without much purpose that confused me. I wish the main character had a little more character development and depth, but I still enjoyed her. Sometimes the author straight lays out what's going on though which could be awkward, but I'm kinda glad he did because it got really confusing sometimes. Still, worth a read for the concept.
Aug 08, 2014 Anna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
This book is so much deeper than the description implies, and it really blew away my expectations! The plot twists in such unpredictable ways that I did not guess a SINGLE thing that happened. It was a bit slow and confusing at times, but it was worth the read. The writing was nice and the world building and character development were exceptional.
Gail Lemiec
I loved Brave Story so I was really looking forward to this book. I found it to be incredibly slow at the beginning and kind of hard to get into. It was also filled with explanations and back story instead of actions. It did pick up toward the end of the book and I think it was a good concept for a story.
Cynthia Hampton
Jul 20, 2012 Cynthia Hampton rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book and felt like I was searching and rooting for it the whole time: come on, come on there's gotta be some hope and joy in here somewhere. Alas, I found none. This is a sad and dark tale in which my favorite part of the reading experience was the side page design of a small open book that when you flipped through the pages gave the illusion it was flying.
I just could not get into this story at all. I got about 70 pages in and put it down. It could be a translation thing or it could just be the format, but getting the perspective of a 10-year-old girl was less fun and whimsical and more tedious than I'd anticipated. Maybe someday I will be able to go back to this and feel the magic it is supposed to possess, but for now, I am not feeling it.
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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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“One has to walk through the fields of knowledge to pick its flowers. Run, and you will miss the best blossoms.” 2 likes
“This is the nameless land, they say. To you, who for reasons unknowable glimpse here these words. Good people, do not mistake the terms of the agreement: Do not ask men for the story of the nameless land. Do not move lips and tongue in an imitation of the tongue of the nameless land. Do not treat as men those who are imprisoned in the nameless land.” 1 likes
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