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Brave Story

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  2,525 ratings  ·  327 reviews
Young Wataru Mitani's life is a mess. His family has problems they never told him about, a new student at school upsets everything he knows about the world, and a girl's voice rings in his mind all hours of the night. 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 fi
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Hardcover, 816 pages
Published August 14th 2007 by VIZ Media LLC (first published March 3rd 2003)
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Isaiah I am only a hundred or so pages in. So far it is child safe, but your son may be bored. The first hundred pages focus very heavily on the housing mark…moreI am only a hundred or so pages in. So far it is child safe, but your son may be bored. The first hundred pages focus very heavily on the housing market of the area that the MC lives.

The MC's dad is cheating, but that is mentioned. There are no sex scenes or graphic descriptions of things. It is very matter of fact. The creatures from the other dimension/realm might be a bit scary. (less)
Isaiah Sort of. Whenever he collects the next gemstone the Brave Sword becomes more powerful. There are some big events that don't result in getting a gemsto…moreSort of. Whenever he collects the next gemstone the Brave Sword becomes more powerful. There are some big events that don't result in getting a gemstone, but the general idea is there. When all the gemstones are collected it turns into the Demon's Bane

"This Traveler's Sword, as it happens, is a reflection of your own strength. As you grow, so shall the sword."
—Wayfinder Lau(less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 4.17  · 
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 ·  2,525 ratings  ·  327 reviews


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Sadie
Jan 03, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
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Seth T.
Oct 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
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Caroline
Aug 22, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
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
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Ashley
Sep 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Star Rating : *STAR SYSTEM OVERLOAD*

(seriously it’s THAT good)

Just... everyone needs this book in their life. I read it years ago but am about to read it again... I love it SOMUCH. It is really worth it. Such a rewarding read. Anyone who likes the “wonderland” premise/ portal writing (accidentally stumbling upon a new world), will love it, IMO. Fans of pans labyrinth should love it as well! Give it a try, I feel like it’s one of those rare, hidden gems. It was originally in Japanese and is a
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Denzil Pugh
May 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Ben
Sep 05, 2007 rated it liked it
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
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Angela Auten
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Christine
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
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Alex
Apr 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: japan, fantasy
A great world for middle-schoolers and even older teens to get wrapped up in. Very sensitive and thoughtful treatment divorce and infidelity from a teen point of view. Strong story line with a lot of adventures; however, for readers already familiar with fantasy manga/anime, it might be too long.
Daniel
Jan 28, 2019 rated it it was ok
This is a portal fantasy.

The part of the book before he goes through the portal; the part about his normal, horrible life: Awesome - 5 stars!!!

After he goes through the portal: Mind-numbingly boring derivative D&D garbage - 0 stars
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Logan
Feb 28, 2018 rated it it was ok
The overarching story is interesting, the emotional struggle of a young boy seeing his parents divorce and having to go through all the strain involved in that had me emotionally invested. The scenes where he goes back along the corridor to speak with his mother were particularly well-done and the ending was mostly good...yet despite those good things, it was far, far too long of a book.

So the concept of "I'm in a video game" sounds cool at first, but there were multiple problems with it. For on
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Michael
rare as i give them out- this is a one. or less. this is a very frustrating read, as some of the allegorical scenes, acts, characters, magic etc are actually interesting, and somewhere in this 800 page monster is a good book. somewhere. i felt it was going to end here, here, and here again- only for it to launch into another hundred pages. i was at first, very fascinated, with the idea this was something like a role playing computer game, that it grew out of another culture- japanese- but the in ...more
Briana
Jul 26, 2011 rated it it was ok
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
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Christopher
Feb 17, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Thomas
Jan 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
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Eustacia Tan
Jun 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a reread from the distant past, before I had Goodreads or even the first iteration of my blog. But I own a copy of Brave Story and have been planning to reread it for the past decade (I carried this 800-page brick to Japan and back after all). I just hadn’t gotten around to actually doing so because it’s so long.

And because of the sad beginning.

But I’ve finished rereading it and wow, the emotional ride was just as intense as before. Actually, I think rereading as an adult is more rewardi
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Meganators
Jun 19, 2020 added it
Shelves: 2020, fiction, teen
This book sat on my shelf for many years and I always meant to get to it. I finally did! It's LONG. So very loooooong. Some sections flew by and others took me a couple of weeks to get into. But because it's so long, it felt immersive. Now that I've finished, I find myself missing the characters and wondering about them. What are they up to? :) It is an incredible story full of vibrant characters, world-building, and most importantly (to me) - emotional depth. The author does not shy away from t ...more
Andrew
I suppose I could compare it to The Neverending Story (alienated kid + fantasy world), but that was a two-hour movie (perfectly fine), not a 900-page behemoth novel that unfurled like a series of video game levels culminating in various bosses, as well as a few "Our princess is in another castle, Mario" moments. I can easily see how and why this was turned into anime, but I was hoping for something a bit closer to Murakami. Not for me at all. But, because I am a Middle American and I FINISH what ...more
Luke Burchell
May 14, 2020 rated it liked it
This book was pretty good, but way too long. So in the spirit of being concise, I will end my review there.
Manuel Alfonseca
Jan 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
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Sarah Lozy
Nov 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
I had Brave Story on my bookshelf years before I actually read it. I was just so drawn to the cover- the vibrant drawings and the description sounded a lot like what would be a Japanese Harry Potter. But my gosh, it's soooo long! That very fact alone, stopped me from picking it up many a time.

A) I'm a slow reader. A book with 816 pages is a challenge period. With the exception of the actually Harry Potter books, I don't think I could ever read book this thick in less than 3 weeks.

B) I have OCD w
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David Ranney
Jun 18, 2013 rated it liked it
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 no
...more
Milankovitch
Jan 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Terrific. Good character development. More philosophical than I would have imagined, but in a thought-provoking, creative, emotional, and inspiring way. A long book, bit slow in the beginning, but well worth the read. I found it very entertaining. I'm sad to be leaving Wataru, Vision, and the adventure. Being that I am currently struggling with personal misfortune like Wataru and Mitsuru, I find that I am strengthened to go bravely forward and embrace my future, and find happiness in all the goo ...more
Chris
Jul 10, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: self-reflection, ya
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
...more
Woodge
Aug 10, 2010 rated it did not like it
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
Jasmine
Jun 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
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T. Sit
Mar 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Jennifer
May 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Yami
Sep 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
waaaahhhh, that was a long book indeed, as an anime fan this book was nonetheless one printed to words, it has all the classic elements of an anime, yet I was not bored for a second even with this huge number of pages.
the story talks about Wataru and it begins slowly building up the circumstances that will lead him to be chosen as traveler in an imaginary world, meeting new friends and foes and fighting his way to change his destiny. it is very intriguing, character are lovely,and events are ex
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Zaina Tangled
Nov 18, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
WAAH! what an epic book. I loved it till the last word of it, although I must admit that there were several unnecessary details. But the book was definitely worth my time. Miyuki Miyabe has the most amazing imagination. I really admire her. She did a great job in attaching Wataru and Mitsuru together. They had a very unique strange friendship that made me wish I had the same twisted relationship with someone. The book was filed with descriptions and some unwanted details but all to make the read ...more
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See also 宮部みゆき (Japanese language profile) and 宮部美幸 (Chinese language profile).

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 a
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As dedicated readers already know, some of the best and most innovative stories on the shelves come from the constantly evolving realm of...
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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.”
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“Vesna Esta Holicia, until you shine again, into vision, into the real world. Though a child of man knows time, life itself is eternal.” 8 likes
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