At the end of my last Reading My Library challenge book review, I solicited input about a title to read by an author whose last name ends in F. Stephanie suggested Inkheart by Cornelia Funke. I trust Stephanie’s opinion on books, so I decided to take her recommendation. I’m so glad I did! I had passed this book over for a long time (and I remember this particular author being touted heavily at the Scholastic book fairs we used to have at the school where I was librarian) for two reasons: first, the author’s name. I just couldn’t bring myself to read a book by an author whose last name is Funke. I don’t know why. It just sounds horribly made up to me, which I realize sounds terrible and I can’t believe I’m admitting it here on my blog. I do realize that she’s German and this might be a completely respectable name in German. Second, I didn’t like the cover of the book (and still don’t, actually)–it looks gimmicky to me, like the name sounds. It reminds me of a dollar store treasure chest I might buy for the girls that would be full of cheap toys, all made in China out of some poisonous metal. I think, too, when this book sits on the shelf next to its sequels, it just sort of blends in (due to the cover art, etc.) and I have a bad track record on following up with sequels. To date, I’ve yet to read sequels to the following books I enjoyed:
- The Mysterious Benedict Society
- The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nations: Volume One, the Pox Party
- The Hunger Games
- The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency
- The City of Ember
See what I mean?
Most of these factors have since been forgotten, though.
Wow! What a book!
Can I say that again? Wow! What a book!
This was the perfect for me to be in the middle of for the DLM’s arrival because the plot is exciting enough that I actually remembered it in the post-partum, and I was eager to finish reading it. It was perfect for those marathon nursing sessions! I was drawn in from page one, and although it is a hefty volume of over 500 pages, I never really felt like it was too long. That’s saying something.
I love the whole concept of this book–the idea that characters can be “read out” of books. I think most book lovers have probably entertained the thought that it would be fun to meet their favorite characters but have never really considered the possible implications if those characters were to come out of their books. I won’t add any more to this to avoid possible spoilers.
Inkheart‘s characters are extremely well-developed. Character development is very important to me–I don’t really enjoy books that have forgettable characters. I love that Funke gave even the most heinous villains in this story their own Achilles’ heels in terms of their utter badness. I love that she even interwove “real” storybook characters (as opposed to those she created) into the story. I don’t think I’ll forget any of the characters in this book any time soon.
Inkheart makes me want to delve into some books I’ve never read and some I’ve never even heard of because of Funke’s use of quotations from various books to begin each chapter. In particular I now want to read The Princess Bride (which I actually own already) and T.H. White’s books. I think reading this book also gave me the courage to try The Hobbit again, mainly because Inkheart is not the type of book I would normally pick up, but I loved it so much. I thought I’d give another fantasy story a try!
As far as reservations go, my only one is that I’m not sure I’d classify this story as juvenile fiction, like my library does. Admittedly, I’m really conservative, but there some mildly suggestive interchanges between adult male characters and the young, female protagonist that probably would go over the heads of young readers but that I still am not sure I am comfortable with in a book for ten year olds. Although in the story Meggie is only twelve, I think a YA designation might be better for this book. The other thing I didn’t like is the amount of cursing in this story. I’ll readily admit that the evil characters that populate this story would likely not have lily-white vocabularies, but the thing that got me most was Aunt Elinor’s constant use of God’s name.
Carrie says the movie’s pretty good but don’t bother with the sequel. Stephanie, on the other hand, says in the comments on this post that the sequels are good but not as good as Inkheart. I think I’d be inclined to read at least the next book out of sheer curiosity about what happens to the characters, but given my record with sequels, who knows?
Now I’ve completed six books in my Reading My Library challenge. So far, in addition to Inkheart, I’ve read
- A: Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson
- B: The Penderwicks on Gardam Street by Jeanne Birdsall
- C: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
- D: The Door in the Wall by Marguerite De Angeli
- E: Thimble Summer by Elizabeth Enright
Any one want to venture a suggestion for a book whose author’s last name begins with G?