Taking destiny into our own hands: a review of Brave Story

Though a child of man knows time, life itself is eternal.

Brave Story by Miyuki MiyabeNote: This review contains minor spoilers.

The tale of Brave Story comes packaged in a gorgeously illustrated, colorful jacket that hints at the adventure awaiting readers courageous enough to delve into the book’s 800-plus pages (if that’s even a concern for you). It’s a meaty story, written by female Japanese author Miyuki Miyabe and translated by Alexander O. Smith. In ways, it reminds me of The Neverending Story (one of my favorite books), but I think it’s much more rich and real than that.

Brave Story is a ghost legend, fantasy epic, and heartbreaking family drama all in one. Part One deals with a typical Japanese haunting and — who would have guessed? — video games since the main character, Waturu, and his best friend Katchan are kids. Then it veers off into much harder-hitting territory than the simple fun and worries of childhood: divorce, a difficult betrayal for any family.

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