Dominique's Reviews > Reckless

Reckless by Cornelia Funke
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's review
Apr 10, 2012

liked it

Rating: 3 stars

I picked up this book thinking it was going to be a pretty typical YA read; nothing special. The picture on the cover looked kind of werewolf-ey and according to the blurb, there was romance.
It wasn't really anything like that, at all. It is a completely unique world with unique fantastical creatures. Had I known that this was truly what the book was about, I probably would have avoided it -- I eschew these kinds of books like the plague. I've always thought them far-fetched and too unrelatable for my insufficient imagination.
Surprisingly, I didn't find that this was the case with Reckless. Although there were, admittedly, quite a few things described that I found elusive and difficult to visualize, as whole it was mostly accessible.
The plot was engaging if not slightly over-done -- I have seen the whole getting-dragged-into-trouble-in-order-to-save-sibling trope many times. At times, it felt as if, the protagonist Jacob, wasn't really interested in the crusade for saving his brother; it didn't feel like a quest for his brother but more like a ques for himself -- too centralised. There were many times when I would forget that he was supposed to be trying to save his brother. For this reason, saving his brother felt like a pithy catalyst to propel Jacob into his adventures because it wasn't carried through very well as a plot point. However, by the end of the story, Jacob reasserts his love for his brother, whereas in the rest of the book it feels evanescent; and the consequent cliffhanger made me curious enough that I will definitely be picking up the next one, when the sequel is released in autumn.
What I really adored is Funke's unforgettable prose. For a German native, her mastery with English is astounding, and probably a lot better, and a lot smoother than some other authors for whom English is their first language. I'm so exuberant about this I feel as though I have to provide you with an example of her gorgeous romantic narrative that fits perfectly in with the deep fantasy scenery: “He longed for the deep as she longed for the night sky and for white lilies floating on water -- although she still tried to convince herself that love alone could feed her soul.”
Speaking of love, I liked that for the majority of the book, Jacob was an onlooker of romance between his younger brother and Clara -- there was no romance surrounding him. It becomes apparent, though, that he seems to have had love affairs with various fairy queens and other beautiful mythical women. What made me slightly uncomfortable was Jacob's obvious youth -- I can't remember whether his exact age is ever stated but I think he is around sixteen. I thought that was a bit young to be having various affairs with grown women, and quite unrealistic. One may then assume that perhaps that he is incredibly good-looking or attractive or mature; but this is, also, never commented on. Towards the end of the book, though, it's obvious that Funke is fomenting a love triangle. I don't mind love triangles, as long as they are done well. However, the way Funke begins the attraction is through a drug-induced kiss, which felt a bit superficial. True, physical contact can evince feelings that are already there, but to me, it felt rather arbitrary and artifcial - I never really got the vibe that Jacob found Clara even a bit physically attractive before that kiss; never mind personally attractive. Then, of course, is Fox, Jacob's long time female friend who can shape shift into a fox who has been in love with Jacob since time began, but of course, Jacob is clueless, even though it is obvious to the reader.
Probably, some the romantic uncertainty that I was left with at the end of the book will become clearer in the sequel, more consolidated.
I thought the antagonists in the story were a bit stereotypical -- royalty with a tyrannical power over their people. You see it in almost every single book of this fantasy kind, which bored me and irritated me. Jacob, however, didn't feel that likeable at times. He seemed a very determined, driven sort of character, but at times I thought this tipped into callousness and a sort of apathetic obstinacy -- although he has a reason to feel like this (his parents' tragic death) I didn't think there was much evidence of the inverse -- him being compassionate or warm or loving.
Overall, I thought the book was easily readable, and it sufficiently piqued my curiosity with the cliffhanger, but definitely what recommends it is the amazing prose and setting.

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