‘Inkheart’ – Cornelia Funke
Twelve-year-old Meggie learns that her father, who repairs and binds books for a living, can “read” fictional characters to life when one of those characters abducts them and tries to force him into service.
Characters from books literally leap off the page in this engrossing fantasy. Meggie has had her father to herself since her mother went away when she was young. Mo taught her to read when she was five, and the two share a mutual love of books. He can “read” characters out of books. When she was three, he read aloud from a book called Inkheart and released characters into the real world. At the same time, Meggie’s mother disappeared into the story. This “story within a story” will delight not just fantasy fans, but all readers who like an exciting plot with larger-than-life characters.
I was really hopeful when I picked up this book. I had heard lots of good things about the story and knew that there was a film adaptation too. But, quite frankly, I was really disappointed with what ‘Inkheart’ had to offer.
Let me get this clear: the concept of the story is truly magical with the idea that Mo can bring characters out of books if he reads them aloud. This is great and the references to other works of fiction throughout the story really brought a smile to my face. Also, at the start of each chapter there is a short extract/quote from a children’s story and I really felt transported into the world of fiction. Coupled with the fact that the main characters are all book worms, I could really relate to their enthusiasm about looking after books.
So on paper, this should have been a perfect book, but quite honestly it just didn’t deliver. There was a lot of talking about what to do and not really much action. The plot development was predictable to the end and when I had figured out a solution, found myself wanting the plot to move on. Indeed, my mind often wandered when reading this and though I did read other books alongside this one, still found this quite tedious.
After all of the hype surrounding this book, ‘Inkheart’ certainly did not meet my expectations. As teenage fiction goes, I certainly think there are far better books out there to be read. This is part of a trilogy and whilst I did not like this book very much, am considering giving the next book my attention to see if the series improves.