Thursday, July 22, 2010
Read: 29 June - 19 July 2010
This is the second book in the Inkheart trilogy, which consists of Inkheart, Inkspell and Inkdeath. The main characters are 12-year-old Meggie and her father Mo. Meggie loves books, but her father, who is a bookbinder, has never read aloud to her. When a strange man named Dustfinger suddenly appears on their doorstep one night, Meggie learns that there is a very good reason for this: Mo's voice has the ability to make characters jump out of the pages and become living, breathing beings. Unfortunately someone from the real world disappears into the book to replace the fictional characters at the same time.
The first book in the trilogy, Inkheart, was set in our modern world. In Inkspell Meggie and her friends find themselves in the fictional Inkworld, a medieval land ruled by the Laughing Prince in the north and the Adderhead in the south - and between them, in the Wayless Wood, lives the Black Prince, the leader of the Motley Folk, a band of robbers and strolling players. It's hard to say more without giving too much away, so I won't. Suffice it to say that this is a magical tale of friendship, love, fairies, fire, good princes, evil princes and the power of words.
The prose is wonderful, even in translation (kudos to Anthea Bell). Funke is a master of taking perfectly ordinary words and turning them into something special. You will laugh, you will cry, you will feel a tingle down your spine and you will be in awe, all because the right words appear in exactly the right place. This is only fitting for a book in which mere words can make anything happen, but it is easier said than done in real life. Cornelia Funke has done it. I sometimes became so absorbed in the story that it was hard to remember that even the "real" characters - Meggie and her family - are fictional and don't actually exist somewhere.
Naturally the ending is open, after all, there is another book that will end the story, but it wasn't disappointing. And I certainly didn't see that particular thing coming.
I've yet to read the last book in the trilogy, Inkdeath, but nevertheless I think I can safely recommend these books to everyone who believes (or wants to believe) that the pen really is mightier than the sword.
My rating: 5