When a story takes a life of its own

‘Inkdeath’ – Cornelia Funke

1-star-rating (1)

Inkdeath - Cornelia Funke

Inkdeath – Cornelia Funke

The fire-eater Dustfinger is dead, having sacrificed his life for his apprentice Farid’s, and now, under the rule of the evil Adderhead, the fairy-tale land is in bloody chaos, its characters far beyond the control of Fenoglio, their author. Even Elinor, left behind in the real world, believes her family to be lost – lost between the covers of a book.

Facing the threat of eternal winter, Mo inks a dangerous deal with Death itself. There yet remains a faint hope of changing the cursed story – if only he can fill its pages fast enough.

The final book in the trilogy, ‘Inkdeath’ follows in the same threads as the previous novels. Remaining in Inkworld, trouble escalates as it feels as if every man and his dog can write in new material to the living story. As such, it is only until the final showdown that peace is eventually restored.

I found this book equally tedious to the others and really struggled to read it. As such, I ended up dipping in and out of the book and it took me four weeks to get through it. However, this is not a total criticism: each time I revisited the book I found I had not lost touch with the plot and could easily continue where I left off. The character profiles at the back of the book were really helpful in this case, particularly as the cast keeps growing ever bigger! So, if you do find yourself lagging when reading ‘Inkdeath’, take comfort that this is one you can put to one side for a while.

I think I found Meggie and Dustfinger’s stories most enjoyable to follow. They were the most unpredictable and I found myself liking their characters more and more as I disliked Mo at the same rate. I was surprised at how the story concluded (it was wanting to know the ending that made me persevere reading this) but enjoyed the final closing chapter and the perspective Funke offers.

If you liked the other two books in this series then I imagine you would enjoy this one, just not as much. ‘Inkdeath’ is so lengthy, (in my opinion, unnecessarily so,) that it lacks the pace needed to keep you interested. There are some exciting moments in this but I feel Funke would have done better just leaving this story alone after the first novel. I’m glad I have now read this series but I can safely say I won’t be repeating this experience!

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Tiresome

‘Inkspell’ – Cornelia Funke

1-star-rating (1)

Inkspell - Cornelia Funke

Inkspell – Cornelia Funke

The captivating sequel to ‘Inkheart’, the critically acclaimed, international bestseller by Cornelia Funke, an author who is emerging as a truly modern classic writer for children.

Although a year has passed, not a day goes by without Meggie thinking of Inkheart, the book whose characters became real. But for Dustfinger, the fire-eater brought into being from words, the need to return to the tale has become desperate. When he finds a crooked storyteller with the ability to read him back, Dustfinger leaves behind his young apprentice Farid and plunges into the medieval world of his past. Distraught, Farid goes in search of Meggie, and before long, both are caught inside the book, too. But the story is threatening to evolve in ways neither of them could ever have imagined.

So, despite me not overly enjoying the first book, ‘Inkheart’, I decided to give the second book in the trilogy a go. Unfortunately for me, this book failed to deliver and I found ‘Inkspell’ more tiresome than the first.

The story returns to the magical world of fairies and words. This time it all starts when Meggie reads herself into Ink world and this is where the trouble begins. The story world has gone out of control and I found it predictable when Meggie and Fenoglio realise that the only way to counteract the troubles, is to write new passages into the book and for Meggie to read them aloud. I think it is because I could see where the story was going, that I got bored of ‘Inkheart’ so quickly. Just like the first book, the passages are lengthy and it feels like it takes a while for it to get going. Despite this, I kept going with this read because I was curious to know what happened to characters. So, I guess the writer does well in this sense as Funke encourages us to care about the characters and their fate. Will they ever return to the real world?

There is a very helpful character list of the start of the book. There are so many characters that it does get quite confusing. Regular readers of my blog will know that I find too many characters makes quite onerous reed, so you can understand why perhaps I didn’t appreciate this book as much as other readers. 

I was really disappointed in this story and was hoping it would redeem itself in the second book. Alas,  I had trouble keeping focus on the story and yes, whilst I totally agree that the premise is magical and unique,  I feel that the delivery was poorly executed.  ‘Inkspell’ took me a while to get through but I still believe I will read the concluding story just so I can find out what happens to the characters. I know, however, that I can’t promise a glowing review!

The magic fails to ignite

‘Inkheart’ – Cornelia Funke

1-star-rating (1)

Inkheart - Cornelia Funke

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.