Ico: Castle in the Mist (ICO-霧の城)

I read a beautiful book over the week that I had kept dusty in my cabinet for quite a time.

Ico: Castle in the Mist (ICO-霧の城)
Author: Miyuki Miyabe
Genre: Fiction, Fantasy, Asian Literature
Year Published: 2011
Publisher: Haikasoru

My encounter with this book is one of those few occasions that I had focused into finishing a novel in less than three days. By its name, the story is about Ico, a horned child who grew from a village accustomed to offer horned children as sacrifice when they reach a certain age. The plot is far-fetched, but as you keep turning pages, you will build attachment to the character of Ico as you try to understand why a child will be willing to go along a tradition that will send him off to his death.

“It was all right to be sad. It was all right to lament. It was all right to feel anger. But it’s not all right to run away.”

The style in which the words are laid to tell Ico’s story is relaxing in its clean simplicity. Maybe this is the reason why I didn’t easily tire of reading as much as I can – everything just feels too light to absorb that you’ll think you are only taking a sip when in fact you are engulfing the story in ravenous speed. What I like best about this novel is the strong focus on the human emotions – its strength and its frailty. It is poignant how every horned child must be reared like a normal child:

How they listened to stories told in tender voices by men and women who raised them as their own. How they ran in fields and sank their mouth in sweet fruit; smiles brightening as sunlight hits their lips. And how they sat in front of wooden desks and tried to learn more about the world out of pure curiosity just like everyone else.

Read and you’ll find that there is love here. The story of Ico is a welcome reminder that you will never regret being kind.

Silhouette of Ico & Yorda, running.

Ico: Castle in the Mist is a novelization of the PS2 cult classic Ico. Having not played the game, I cannot discuss a comparison between the two. I have seen reviews that the novel was good but that the game was just incomparably brilliant. But then, I think the benefit of not having played the game is that you won’t have any fixed expectation to not see what’s great about the book. 🙂 If you happened to have played the game, feel free to air your comparison. 😉

 

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