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Ico: Castle in the Mist

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  919 ratings  ·  87 reviews
A boy with horns, marked for death.

A girl who sleeps in a cage of iron.

The Castle of the Mist calls for its sacrifice: a horned child, born once a generation. When, on a single night in his thirteenth year, Ico's horns grow long and curved, he knows his time has come. But why does the Castle of the Mist demand this offering, and can the castle keep Ico's destiny from inter
Kindle Edition, 400 pages
Published (first published January 1st 2005)
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Average rating 3.66  · 
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 ·  919 ratings  ·  87 reviews

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Mar 01, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I suppose I should write two reviews here: one for folks who love _Ico_ the videogame, and one for folks who have never heard of it. (If you're in between, flip a coin and read both.)

_Ico_ was a 2001 videogame (for the Playstation). I loved it; I still love it. It remains a landmark in atmospheric, engaging videogame storytelling. Notably, it was almost entirely wordless. Everything was conveyed through architecture, lighting, the body language of the protagonists, and -- most important -- the p
Dec 26, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I really enjoyed this book. I knew before reading it that it was based on a video game, but I've never played it. I think the story in this book was very successful, but I had some problems with the way it was constructed.

The beginning, for me, was the best part. The writing was wonderful and as Ico's backstory was filled in the character was really coming alive for me.

In the middle, it started to be much less organic. Here you could tell that the book was based on a video game. Every scene se
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It is the novelization of a beloved video game, so there is some possibility that my joy in reading it is biased by my fond memories of the engaging mystery and emotion of the game. That being said, I think it would also be a great read for lovers of fantasy who have NOT played the game, even if they do not recognize the places and moments that conjure up game nostalgia for those who HAVE played it. The author takes some artistic liberty filling in gaps in the game world's story, but I am assure ...more
Jun 19, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

イコ - 霧の城
a story of an unknown place,
.. told in an unknown age.

I haven't played the game, but I still loved this beautiful book, gorgeous descriptions and characterizations ~<3
dnfing this for the moment. I think I'll first watch a playthrough of the actual game and then come back to this. For the moment I'm struggling to get through the parts which aren't added by Miyabe, but have been game canon. Gonna come back to this on a later date. ...more
May 30, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hands down the best video game novelization, I have ever encountered. Really tempted to give it a five star but I try to reserve that for works that alter my perceptions or strike me in a really profound way.

Having never played the actual game, I can't attest to the similarities or the connections between the two. The novel focuses primarily on a young boy who is sent as a sacrifice to a castle surrounded in mist. There is a great deal of mystery and a plethora of unknowns working behind the cur
Ugh, deleting this one is really the hardest, because mine was the *first* review for this book on GoodReads.

Oh well. What must be done will be done.

Read the review on my blog:
This could be so good, or so, so bad.
Actually it could be "meh", but I'm not even considering it at this point. Rise up with dignity or go down in flames, I say.
When Miyuki Miyabe comes to ICO she writes a world she has made her own. As she states in “Preface,” given “free reign with the story and world found in the game” by the producers and creators, she found her “own path through the tale.” She uses and develops elements and characters, but “the order of events, the solutions to puzzles, even the layout of the castle have changed.” The designated status as novelization honors the originators of her inspiration, but make no mistake that Miyabe lends ...more
Dec 03, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was enchanted by this book, or rather the author’s style. Smooth and nice reading it was, simple yet so profound.

Now, I never finished the game, but the similarities between the game and book are so obvious, at least in the first part: It described Ico’s walkthrough the castle and its architects, (ofc there was a fictional background that proceeded the events before which Ico was led into the castle). The second part, which I enjoyed more, offered a new perspective of the story, Yorda‘s persp
Sep 15, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Yorda!" he called out. The girl was several paces away, having stayed behind when he ran up to the window. "If we can make it over there, we'll reach the Eastern Arena - the celestial sphere's right next to it!" Ico stopped. Why was the celestial sphere important again?
Another image flitted through his consciousness: curved dishes rotating, the brilliant sun, and a great groaning of wood and stone.
Of course! Ico clapped his hands with excitement.
When the light from the mirror-dishes hits the
John | Tales from Absurdia
I was cautiously optimistic about ICO: Castle in the Mist, with a strong emphasis on 'cautiously'.

On the one hand, ICO is one of the more memorable videogames I've ever played. A haunting, ethereal experience, but one that could only really be expressed through its medium.

On the other hand, the relationship between the protagonists is (unusually) enhanced due to the language barrier between the two of them. Would adding dialogue ruin this?

Simply put, the book is not the videogame - a point that
I've never played the video game this is based on, although I had heard of it. I went into this book knowing nothing apart from the blurb on the back. It's an interesting fantasy adventure - although at times, the translation feels a little stilted as if the translator has struggled to find the right word. At times, you can visualise the game characters having to navigate the areas being described in the book, although the author notes that the novel and game do not correspond exactly and the no ...more
Pedro Fernandes
I totally read this because I love the original game in the Ps2, Fumito Ueda's trilogy endorsed the design by Subtraction that inspired a lot of later on games and is an absolute masterpiece and very open to interpretation.
This book picks the original game and gives it more context, the author interprets the game her own way and creates a more linear story that doesn't leave much to the imagination. It tries to fill the holes of the game and make a more closed story.
I think it's a good interpret
Taylor Drew
An absolutely magical tale woven together with expert hands. I've never had the joy of playing the game but it must be something special if it inspired a story like this.

Miyabe did a wonderful job of creating story that was both magical and somehow relatable despite the mystical setting.

The translation by Alexander O. Smith is also nothing to complain about. It is very rare that I read a Japanese book translated that is done in such a way that I don't notice. His translations never fail to hid
For what it was, this adaptation was a charming read. The interpretation of the mystery of the castle was certainly an interesting perspective. However, having played the game first, I feel as if what ever answers I did get from this story, did not live up to my own conclusions. I can't fault the author for that, the mediums are completely different after all. I think this story was ideally told in as a video game, the feelings of playing as Ico just can't be replicated when reading about it for ...more
Jamie Galea
ICO is a Playstation2 game that's revered for being one of the most beautifully minimalistic games ever made. It's haunting and moving in a way most games aren't. While Alexander O. Smith's translation is technically great, Miyuki's adaptation just doesn't work out so well. Half of this book is backstory to the events of the game, and just doesn't work.

Granted, it needs to be there because it'd be a much shorter book otherwise, but it comes across as plodding.

Aug 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: standalones, owned
This book was so much like a videogame! And that was due to both its ample sequential action (running, jumping, tripping, climbing) and its absence of dialogue between the two protagonists. A very interesting and moving story, that I wish had delved deeper into its core mystery, probably by spanning across more than one adventure. If you like studio Ghibli films, you will definitely like this book!
Michael B Tager
Jan 02, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Video game adaptations seem to be pretty challenging, but the author of this one did a fantastic job giving backstory, balancing description and characterization and staying faithful to the game. It was actually a little too faithful for me, going into detail of quite a few of the more challenging puzzles, but that's really a quibble. It made me want to play the game, and since I read the book specifically because I didn't want to take the time to play it, that's pretty well done! ...more
The story starts out fairly interesting, filling in Ico's backstory and taking him through the castle. Eventually it switches to Yorda to cover a lot of the same castle wandering material, with flashbacks to her backstory. And it drags. And drags. Finally I realized I didn't really care to finish this story. ...more
Andy Cyca
May 03, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having never finished the game, I can say this is a very interesting novelization. The main elements from the game are there, but Miyuki Miyabe has expanded the minimalist structure of the game to a full story without sacrificing the austere beauty of it. Glad to see Yorda as more than a mere prop, being a central cog in the story. I'd love to finish the game with this story in mind ...more
Bryan House
It took me quite awhile to finish this one. Nothing in the story really grabbed my attention and was able to hold it. The story overall wasn't very unique as I was expecting. I never played the game before - maybe I would have gotten more out of the book if I did. The story just seemed longer than what it needed to be. ...more
Olly Steele
Aug 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For anyone who loved the videogame and wanted to spend a little longer in the world.

A thoughtfully written story that explores the events leading up to the game itself and a fantastic exploration of the castle and how it came to be.
Sep 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It follows the game well in chapters 1 and 3, but chapter 2 threw me off a bit. It's nice to have some backstory that the game doesn't show. It's kinda weird to have the backstory of the castle in the middle of the book which throws off the pacing for me at least. ...more
Anna Hepworth
Very pretty story, lush language and detailed set pieces. However, given that it is a novelisation of a computer game, the pacing is just a bit odd.
Tereza Vargova
3,5 star
Sab Cornelius <--- I do book blogging on the side, so posted my full review here. [Site is currently A WIP] ...more
The Good Doctor
Mar 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought that this was a very interesting interpretation of the events preceding and surrounding the game. Definitely worth a read for fans and newcomers alike.
Mar 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really enjoyed the book. I worried with the language barrier /translation it may be hard to read but it wasn't. Very enjoyable. A beautiful game too BTW. ...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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