I started "Inkheart" as a bedtime read-aloud with my 9-year-old son. About 200 pages into it, he summoned up the courage to tell me he didn't want to hear any more. I'm not sure exactly what he didn't care for, but as far as I can tell it was a mixture of a pretty slow and drawn-out beginning and some super scary bad guys. He seemed to alternate between being bored and being scared, and neither state is ideal for bedtime reading.
Naturally, being 200 pages in, I had to finish the book on my own. My reactions are mixed. In many ways, Inkheart tells an interesting tale. 12-year-old Meggie has been raised by her father since the age of three, when her mother disappeared. Mo, Meggie's dad, is a bookbinder, but he also has the unusual talent of literally bringing books to life whenever he reads aloud. As he reads, characters and objects from the book emerge into the real world, but at the same time, he runs the risk of sending people or things from his own world back into the book's world. Meggie and Mo run afoul of the evil Capricorn, who Mo called forth from the mysterious book Inkheart. Capricorn has his own nefarious designs on Mo and Meggie, and they have a mission of their own as well.
The writing in Inkheart felt a bit heavy-handed to me. The idea of worlds coming alive by reading about them was hammered on so repeatedly that it became a bit tiresome. The bad guys were truly awful, which would make me pause before recommending this for elementary-school age children. The book ran on longer than absolutely necessary, and the pacing felt uneven to me.
The author has clearly come up with an interesting premise, but the execution felt a little lacking to me. I'm somewhat curious to see where the story goes in the remaining two books in the trilogy, but I don't feel a real sense of urgency about finding out what happens next.