Wednesday, February 1, 2012

INKHEART + RECKLESS by Cornelia Funke

September 23rd, 2003 - Scholastic
Synopsis: One cruel night, Meggie's father reads aloud from a book called INKHEART-- and an evil ruler escapes the boundaries of fiction and lands in their living room. Suddenly, Meggie is smack in the middle of the kind of adventure she has only read about in books. Meggie must learn to harness the magic that has conjured this nightmare. For only she can change the course of the story that has changed her life forever.
This is INKHEART--a timeless tale about books, about imagination, about life. Dare to read it aloud.

I'd be pretty surprised if you liked middle grade or YA books, and you didn't know who Cornelia Funke (pronounced "foon-ka"). She's a German children's books writer who always writes this big fantasy stories filled with magic.

In INKHEART, you immediately feel for the characters. You feel for Meggie and her love for books and her father. You completely understand the mom-shaped hole in her heart, despite how wonderful Mo is at being a father. He shares the love of reading-even more intensely. In fact, it's his profession: Travelling places and taking the old books that were once leatherbound beauties and giving them new spines and covers and hinges and heads and tails, and makes them new again.

The story is wonderful, as well. It's filled with so much magic, and every page seems to have some underlying theme enchantments and spells. The guns, the fairies, the writers, the German hideout, the castle, the words, etc. All of it is just fantastic. But I can't help but focusing on Cornelia Funke's writing. In fact, all of her books have this really descriptive (but not overly descriptive) flowy writing that could be read at a poetry club meeting, but this series specifically is re-enforced with extra prose-beauty. I think it's because these books are about the power of words and stories, and so she decided to hone in on that. Also, if you're not one for flowy writing, at least take a look at the beginning of each chapter, where she starts it off with a great quote from classics like THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA and THE LORD OF THE RINGS.

Really, this is a classic. You should definitely read it if you haven't already.


September 14th, 2010 - Little Brown
Synopsis: Ever since Jacob Reckless was a child, he has been escaping to a hidden world through a portal in his father's abandoned study. Over the years, he has made a name for himself as a finder of enchanted items and buried secrets. He's also made many enemies and allies--most important, Fox, a beautiful shape-shifting vixen whom Jacob cares for more than he lets on.

But life in this other world is about to change. Tragedy strikes when Jacob's younger brother, Will, follows him through the portal. Brutally attacked, Will is infected with a curse that is quickly transforming him into a Goyl--a ruthless killing machine, with skin made of stone.

Jacob is prepared to fight to save his brother, but in a land built on trickery and lies, Jacob will need all the wit, courage, and reckless spirit he can summon to reverse the dark spell--before it's too late.

This book is very different from every book I've ever ever ever ever read. It's just so different. It's really amazing though. I felt like I was reading an insanely beautifully written screenplay for a Tim Burton film. It was exactly like a Tim Burton film: An enchanting fairy tale with mind-bendingly dark twists. One thing I typically don't like in books is when it says, "This person has this happen to them" in the jacket flap, and then you already know what's going to happen, so you have to wait for, like, 50 pages for it to happen, and when it finally does happen, it's really drawn out.

Well, Mrs. Funke doesn't do that.

She literally goes like this:
Prologue-Young, sad Jacob discovering mirror-world for first time. He decides to keep it a secret and start exploring.

Chapter One-For about a paragraph it's explained that Jacob's a treasure hunter (btw, he ain't no average Indian Jones-he goes for enchanted roses, magic handkerchiefs, and witchs' secrets), and then it goes into what's happening now, which is that Jacob's younger brother Will has already been attacked and is agonizing pain. Four sentences later, Jacob's like, "Let's go on a crazy adventure to find a cure for this dark fairy curse!"

The novel breaks all bounds that you could've thought a story like this has. There are a bagillion villians, thousands of deaths, crazy dark fairy tales, and alluring magic. Also, one of the things that I adored is that in most high fantasy novels, the magic world is all medieval-y, well, in this world, it's like America in the middle-to-late 1800's. Like muskets, and steam engine trains, and political shifting. This brings up another thing: I ADORED HOW MUCH IT HAD TO WITH GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS. Oh, it was so cool. It gave so much depth to a world that could've been like all other fantasy novels. 'Eh, we don't have to have a realistic ruling system. Let's just call ourselves queens and kings, and then we'll rule without any rebellions except for that ultra evil person living right around the corner who's probably going to declare a big battle on us. Magic can solve anything.'

.....And this is coming from a guy who loves THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA. This world is realistically like a Civil War-American Era, but with magic. We've got an empress, a dying human population, a growing Goyl population, a crumbling economy, treaties, battles lost, political marriages, assassination plots. Like seriously. This junk be cray-cray.

The ONLY thing I had a problem with.... Is the ending. This would be in one of my top five favorite books ever if it weren't for that ending. Sure, it made me wonder about a few things, and I loved the characters and the world, so I'll buy the sequel whenever it comes out. But it was just kind of annoying. It was so awesome. And then the ending hit. Ugh. But you should still read it, because, ending aside, it was such an amazing book!!!!!!!!

See ya on Friday,

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