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ICO: Castle in the Mist [Paperback]

Miyuki Miyabe

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Book Description

Aug. 16 2011 ICO: Castle in the Mist
High fantasy and true love come to life in this novel based on the hit video game.

Reads L to R (Western Style), for audience A.

When a boy named Ico grows long curved horns overnight, his fate has been sealed-he is to be sacrificed in the Castle in the Mist. But in the castle, Ico meets a young girl named Yorda imprisoned in its halls. Alone they will die, but together Ico and Yorda might just be able to defy their destinies and escape the magic of the castle.

Based on the video game filmmaker Guillemo del Toro (Hellboy, Pan's Labyrinth) called a "masterpiece", Japan's leading fantasist Miyuki Miyabe has crafted a tale of magic, loss, and love that will never be forgotten.

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ICO: Castle in the Mist + The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia
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About the Author

Miyuki Miyabe's first novel was published in 1987, and since that time she has become one of Japan's most popular and best-selling authors.  Miyabe's 2007 novel "Brave Story" won The Batchelder Award for best chldren's book in translation from the American Library Association. "ICO: Castle in the Mist" is her seventh novel to be translated in English.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  26 reviews
21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Interesting Spin on the World of Ico Aug. 17 2011
By Michael C. Anderson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you're reading this, you are most likely away that "Ico: Castle in the Mist" is a novelization of the acclaimed 2001 PlayStation 2 classic video game, "ICO." The story can be summarized thusly: A young boy with horns, named Ico, is sacrificed by his people to a mysterious castle. After being escorted to the castle by a priest and a pair of guards, he is locked in a sarcophagus and left alone inside. The sarcophagus, however, fails to contain young Ico. He wanders about the castle before quickly running into a strange but beautiful girl locked in an iron cage. She is mysterious, garbed in white and holding some kind of power over the castle. Though she does not seem to speak his language, they work together seeking an escape from the castle's ever present entrapment.

The game relied on stunning visuals and touching physical interaction between Ico and the mysterious girl Yorda to illustrate it's world and touch the player. However, novels have no such luxury. Therefore, Miyuki Miyabe therefore took it upon herself to flesh out the details. Where does Ico come from? Why was he sacrificed to the Castle in the Mist? What is so special about him? Miyabe was given permission from the creators of the game to answer these questions herself, filling in the questions and gaps left by the game. That is not to say, however, that this novelization is accurate to the world created by Fumito Ueda and the other creators of the Team Ico games. Rather, the story presented here can be viewed as one possible version of the world. It is, in Miyabe's words, a "variation on the world of 'ICO'" and is a "novelization of the story found in the PlayStation 2 game.... Sort of."

So, what is important is not the story's accuracy, but rather it's ability to give the reader the same sense of wonder and immersion that the original game was so good at conveying. Does it succeed? Well, to be fair as of this writing I am only 40% of the way through the book. Much of that 40%, however, was spent telling the story before Ico ever enters the castle. The reader is shown his village, people that knew and cared for the boy. You are told why he is sacrificed, why the villagers obey the custom. And as a book it does this very well. It is a simple, light, fast read. Perhaps it is merely the excitement of living in this world once more, or getting to see another part of it (even if it isn't in line with the canon established by Shadow of the Colossus), but I find it difficult to stop reading. The personality given to Ico seems to be based heavily on how he moves and gestures in the game. While I have yet to see him wave and shout "BUUURRRR" or even an "Oompah!", he is a well mannered active young boy. He runs about and plays in the woods, but is disciplined and behaved (explaining his obedience at the beginning of the game). Even an explanation for his inhuman stamina and resilience is given, which I found particularly amusing.

I find myself now excited to see what happens next, and how other events from the game are handled. If you have ever played Ico or Shadow of the Colossus, you know how indescribable the beauty and atmosphere of those worlds are. If you find yourself longing to revisit that world, this "Ico: Castle in the Mist" is the perfect way to do so. It is a fresh take on the dusty old towers and stone of ICO. And should you be unfamiliar with either of those games, do yourself a favor and pick them up. If you have a PS3, please consider the ICO/Shadow of the Colossus HD Collection coming out Sept 2011. And should after playing either of those games you are left wanting more, please consider giving "Ico: Castle in the Mist" a read. You will find a world of magic and loss and love within its pages.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Miyabe manages to capture the emotion from the game and magnify it ten-fold. Aug. 18 2011
By big kid - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This review is written with the assumption that the reader has played the video game ICO. While the book can easily be enjoyed by someone who hasn't, it's likely that your love of the game brought you here so I address the book in that way. Some very small spoilers will be contained, but nothing that will ruin the story. I hate spoilers with a passion so I avoid them when I can.

Castle in the Mist is an adaptation of the popular PS2 game ICO. The book was originally written in Japanese but you wouldn't know it, as the translation to English is on the mark with no noticeable mistakes in spelling or word usage. The author, Miyaki Miyubi, has said that while the book follows the game for the most part, it isn't intended to be a "strategy guide" for it, as she took some liberties with the subject matter. While noticeable, the story follows the game very closely. A good portion of the novel takes place before the game, so understandably, that is where she takes the majority of her freedom with it.

If you're a big ICO fan you won't want to pass this book up. While its unmistakably "ICO", the book gives new perspectives to the story that will have you looking at the game in another light. It's a shame Castle in the Mist isn't considered canon since its so beautifully written but that shouldn't make fans pass on it. Canon or not, the book captures the essence of ICO to the core and I felt like it deepened my emotional involvement with the characters even more than my experience with the game. For example, the first seventy pages take place immediately before the start of the game and are dedicated to giving the reader a deeper understanding of the events that need to take place without fully giving the why... a great introduction to the journey that's about to be embarked on.

The castle is captured well by the author, as well as its inhabitants. Fans of the game will remember the shadows were like flies that simply needed a good swat of the hand; always annoying but never a threat. The book does a good job of communicating the terror they bring and turning them into a somewhat more formidable foe, although I had a hard time always "believing" the new danger because of my experiences with the game. I don't want to give away much more, but I will say that Castle in the Mist is as much Yorda's story as it is Ico's.

Again, ICO fans... this is a must-read despite it being non-canon. You'll see the characters in a new light, that while artificial it may be, can't be far from where TeamICO intended it and Miyabe's take on the castle's haunting origin is amazing. Also, with the ICO/Shadow of the Colossus collection set to release right around the corner (9/27), Castle in the Mist is a great way to jump back into the game. Highly recommended.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More than just a game novelization! Sept. 9 2011
By Trevor Irizarry - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Read the book play the game read the book again. Yes, it's that good. "Ico (the video game) weaves the tale of a young boy trying to escape his imprisonment in a large, vacant castle. Along the way, he discovers another captive--a beautiful princess named Yorda. In the game Players control Ico with the goal of escaping the castle with the princess safely in hand." --Raymond M. Padilla

The book is still very much the same but also so much more. As you read you grow very attached to Ico and Yorda and their wanderings in the caslte but that's not all. The author does a wonderful job of exploring Ico's village and it's people and you get a good sense of what's at stake in the world. However what got to me and hopefully will you the same is Yorda's tale of how the Castle in the Mist came to be. This story is about facing your fears and not always doing what is easy but what is right and friendship - the bond we make with friends and how they leave imprints on our hearts and minds that are never forgotten.

If you've heard of the game, played it or are just a fan of fantasy stories do not pass this one up. It truly is something magical.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must Read for ICO fans March 11 2013
By TechJunkie - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Adds a lot of depth to an already great game by being a great companion story. If you loved ICO you must own this.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ico: Casle in the Mist Feb. 22 2012
By Kyle V - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Having never played ICO, but heard of great praise from it, I figured I would go ahead and purchase this novel. This book is separated into 4 chapters: The life of Ico before leaving the village, The Castle, Yorda's story, and the finale. One of my favorite parts while reading was when Toto, Ico's friend, goes into the Forbidden Mountain. It wasn't anything grand or amazing, but the way it was written just seemed amazing to me. Overall, if your a fan or just looking for something to read, I'd recommend this book.

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