Annalisa's Reviews > Inkheart

Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
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Dec 06, 2008

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bookshelves: young-adult, fantasy, movies
Recommended to Annalisa by: Jessyka
Read in December, 2008

The best word I can think to describe this book is almost. I was almost pulled into the universe of the story. I almost felt as if I grasped the characters. I almost thought the concept an creative idea that spun and interesting original tale. Almost.

The description is long, but not necessarily enlightening, making the narrative slow. The story is a good enough idea with what could be likable heroes and strong villains, but the characters came out of the book fuzzy shadows of themselves and I couldn't quite capture the vividness of their characteristics. The pictures at the end of the chapters did more to enlighten my visual understanding than pages of description could. Sometimes that description is contradictory and where I had started forming a picture of a character down one path I had to stop and stand back at the fork of options and hesitate about interpretation. I never had a strong grasp for any of the characters.

Take Dustfinger and his marten friend. Other than his horns, I couldn't picture this creature, especially his size, without the picture in the book. Other than the visual description of the scars, I can't grasp Dustfinger either. I'm all for morally ambivalent characters in a book instead of straight good and evil, but ambivalence in personality I'm not. I get the basics that he's out to protect his own interest and he would rather work alone without getting close to anyone, but he doesn't to grow or develop or ever get beyond a few bullet points of definition to become a truly deep character. Does he want revenge for Mo or is he indifferent to him? I can't decide because his actions seem contradictory.

All the characters don't develop past a basic outline. Because the book is written primarily from Meggie's perspective, I had hoped to gain a greater understanding, and more importantly commitment, to her, but I wasn't ever truly rooted to her cause beyond mild interest to her outcome. Capricorn has the potential to be a formidable villain, but other than Meggie's fear of him, I don't really feel true evil when I read him or feel a need for him to be taken down. I wanted more out of him than cold eyes and staunch silence. I don't feel much of anything toward him. The only character I feel anything for is Elinor and the emotion there is annoyance. Even my visual image of her kept changing throughout the book as new details came forth to change my understanding. The characters were almost there, but not quite solid enough that I could understand them or care about their destiny.

The idea of characters being read out of stories is an interesting idea. I like the idea that just as a story has the power to pull you into it, you can be so pulled by a story that you pull characters out of it, that the way you read a story has its own power. But I'm not sure that I like the way this idea was written which asks more questions than it answers. The choice of what characters were transferred back and forth seemed illogical; I wasn't sure that I liked the tit for tat interpretation; and I found myself furrowing my brow at the ability to rewrite endings. I know the ending was left open for the sequels, but I thought Fenoglio's ending was not the happy ending he thought it was; it was way more problematic than happy. I wasn't sure that I liked the implications of this fantastical universe and thought the idea left too much open for possibility without ever find a solution that wouldn't cause more problems. It's a Pandora's box that's best left closed instead of explored.

It's sounding like I didn't like the book at all, and I liked it alright, but I didn't love it. It was never a book where I justified reading one more chapter or one more page nor was it a book that I thought about once I closed the book. Rather ironic for a story about stories that have strong emotional pulls that the creep off the pages of the book to be so flat emotionally and dimensionally, but it was. I think the book had a lot of potential. I'm sure in the author's mind these characters are strong and vivid and the setting strong and colorful, but on paper it was hard to read exactly what she was thinking or to understand why her plot progression took her where it did.

I'll read the sequel, but more to see if the story improves than for my curiosity about what happens to the characters. Maybe my curiosity is piqued a little, almost peeked. Maybe it's a story that is better read by children with vivid imaginations who imagine fantastical stories without much direction from the author, but I think the story is too dark for young children, so there is a small window where children are still imaginative but can handle dark material. Would I recommend the book? I'm not sure. You know where I'm going with this don't you? Almost. You may very well enjoy the book and the fantastical world more than I did, but I've read better fantasy.
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Reading Progress

11/19/2008 page 100
18.25%
12/01/2008 page 325
59.31% "It's starting to pick up."
12/03/2008 page 425
77.55% "Interesting, but not a can't put down read."
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Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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Dani Let me know what you think of the book.... I didn't enjoy it as much as everyone else, I think


Annalisa I will. I mostly picked up this book right now cuz I needed a fantasy world to get my head out of the Harry Potter one.


Katelyn I love Inkheart! It was one of my favorite books.


Jeana I noticed the movie is coming out soon. Do you think you'll see it?


message 5: by Annalisa (last edited Dec 06, 2008 09:49PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Annalisa Oh absolutely. I always watch movies to books I've read. I've got to get through the book first! :) And I have a suspicion that I'll like the movie more. Can you imagine how cruel Capricorn can be? Or squirmy Dustfinger? I hope the characters come off so much stronger than they do in the book.


Rosie I am halfway through this book and I've never read a more spot on review than yours. Almost is the perfect description. I want to get lost in it but I just can't seem to. I'll finish it but only because I have a compulsion to do so with books, not because I'm terribly interested in what happens.


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