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Reckless #1


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Ever since Jacob Reckless was a child, he has been escaping to a hidden world through a portal in his father's abandoned study. Over the years, he has made a name for himself as a finder of enchanted items and buried secrets. He's also made many enemies and allies--most important, Fox, a beautiful shape-shifting vixen whom Jacob cares for more than he lets on.

But life in this other world is about to change. Tragedy strikes when Jacob's younger brother, Will, follows him through the portal. Brutally attacked, Will is infected with a curse that is quickly transforming him into a Goyl--a ruthless killing machine, with skin made of stone.

Jacob is prepared to fight to save his brother, but in a land built on trickery and lies, Jacob will need all the wit, courage, and reckless spirit he can summon to reverse the dark spell--before it's too late.

394 pages, Hardcover

First published September 14, 2010

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About the author

Cornelia Funke

278 books12.3k followers
Cornelia Funke is a multiple award-winning German illustrator and storyteller, who writes fantasy for all ages of readers. Amongst her best known books is the Inkheart trilogy. Many of Cornelia's titles are published all over the world and translated into more than 30 languages. She has two children, two birds and a very old dog and lives in Los Angeles, California.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,316 reviews
Profile Image for Hannah Greendale.
692 reviews3,241 followers
July 5, 2017
Click here to watch a video review of this book on my channel, From Beginning to Bookend.

When Jacob Reckless was a boy, he discovered another world on the other side of the mirror in his father’s abandoned study. After keeping the mirror world secret for twelve years, Jacob’s younger brother finds his way through the mirror and is terminally cursed. Now Jacob and his brother must journey to the most dangerous territories of the mirror world to bargain with untrustworthy creatures to reverse the curse before it’s too late.

There was no place [Jacob] called home, either in this world or the other. He always yearned for unknown places, secrets revealed, treasure found . . . there was so much he still hadn’t seen.

The Petrified Flesh makes a departure from the average young adult novel. Instead of frou frou love triangles or a teen girl defying the odds, this book features a young man motivated by grief and a grim world based on the darker aspects of fairy tales, myth and lore. Because of its violent content (children being shot) and creepy characters (a murderer wearing a suit made of human flesh), this book is recommended for a mature audience.

How the Dark Fairy would have enjoyed killing her. A poisoned comb, a dress that would eat into her flesh when she put it on in front of her golden mirrors. How she would scream and scratch her skin, so much softer than that of her bridegroom.

The mirror world, fraught with war and brimming with dangerous beings, is nonetheless a magical place filled with “crystal caves, black lakes, and petrified forests.” With mythical creatures, bustling cities, and unique world rules, Funke offers readers a fully realized fantasy world.

Dwarf trading posts could be found in every corner of this world, despite the fact that they were nearly half the size of their human customers.

Many cities behind the mirror hired Giantlings, men who claimed their direct descent from the extinct Giants, as guards. [. . .] Giantlings were also vastly popular as mercenaries, despite their reputation for being rather dimwitted.

The cave’s ground was covered with bones, as all Ogres loved to surround themselves with their leftovers. Some even built music instruments or sculptures from their victims’ remains; others recited poetry while they cooked them.

Before the story concludes, unicorns will be spotted, adventures will be had, and tragedy will strike.

The Petrified Flesh is a morbid delight.
Profile Image for ★ Jess .
198 reviews365 followers
May 5, 2012
Oh dear....
What a disappointing book. The very pages stunk of mediocrity.
The main issue with 'Reckless' lies solely with the characters: Cornelia Funke plunges us right into the middle of the story, with no detail on the characters what-so-ever. Jacob, Will and Clara are possibly THE WORST leads in a novel I have ever read about. There is absolutely no chemistry between them. I couldn't care less about what happens to them.
I imagine Cornelia Funke's brainstorming of these characters was a little a lot like this:

Cornelia:K, so, Jacob is the main character, Will is his brother and Clara is Will's girlfriend. Getitgotitgood, now onto the story...
Editor: No, wait a second Corny, you need a bit more detail.
Cornelia:: Really? Okay, ummm...Will and Clara met in a hospital and totally fell in love.

Im not even kidding, that is all the information we got on these characters. Will and Clara, the couple who is 'head over heels desperately in love', never show any affection for each other. Ever.
The plot of 'Reckless' is basically this: Will gets turned into a Goyl (a species of monsters made out of stone who are evil for the hell of it) , and Jacob and Clara have to save him.
The problem (one of trillions) is this: Will gets no page-time before the transformation. His first scene is him turning into the Goyl. This means that the reader doesn't care for him, and I couldn't give a rats ass weather he is saved or not.
Oh, and for the majority of the 345 pages, everybody treats Will like his is a baby. Just because he is the younger sibling, doesn't mean he needs to be treated like a two year old, when he is, in fact, graduated from high school.
The characters are so annoying and less one-dimensional (or more, I guess...) then even this person

Also. the un-named world-behind-the-mirror seems like a cheap, much less thought through version of The Inkworld in Inkspell and Inkdeath also by Cornelia Funke.

Normally, I love Cornelia Funke-she is in my list of favorite authors, along side Stephen King, J.K. Rowling and Roald Dahl. The 'Inkheart trilogy' are some of my favorite books, and The Thief Lord is sensational.
Maybe I just had super high expectations for her new book. I had, after all, been following Funke's blog updates since she announced the idea for 'Reckless', eagerly counting down the days to its release.
None the less, this was really not enjoyable.
Profile Image for Charlotte May.
670 reviews1,027 followers
May 23, 2018
Though not quite up there with the Inkheart trilogy, I still loved this book!

Full of magic, danger and fantastical creatures. From Lorelai - mermaid/sirens, bird trees that kidnap their victims, handkerchiefs that can create money, the imagination in this book knows no bounds!

Jacob Reckless found access to the Mirrorworld using a mirror left behind in his fathers study when he left them, or disappeared. He spends months at a time in this world, becoming entranced with all its wonders. He manages to keep his two lives seperate, until one day his younger brother Will follows him through the mirror and suddenly everything changes. Will is cursed by the Dark Fairy and Jacob must do everything in his power to protect his brother.

A wonderful, magical world and I look forward to continuing with the next book!
Profile Image for Richard Derus.
2,855 reviews1,885 followers
January 4, 2022

My Review
: Don't mistake "young adult" for "fluffy." This story of brothers, orphaned early in life by a father whose abandonment of them without a word also cost them their mother to her grief, as they find the "Mirrorworld" that their father vanished into...inside his study!

This is a portal fantasy, with a secondary world that resembles our own enough to be an alternate-history world except for the fact that magic works. "Austry" is the name of the Mirrorworld country the brothers, and their father before him, arrive in, not the Austria they leave behind. The family's disintegration, as abetted by the mirror, is not something that the hero Jacob is trying to fix or to escape, like Meg in A Wrinkle in Time or the Pevensies in The Chronicle of Narnia. Jacob's a young adult, he fled into Mirrorworld to find a place for himself not look for someone else. Of course he finds others...a bad father-figure but a good mentor in Albert Chanute, innkeeper and treasure hunter in Austry, a girlfriend of sorts in Fox the shapeshifting...fox. He's got a life as a treasure hunter! He's met the Empress six times! (But don't tell Chanute that, he's only met her three times for treasure-hunting and now he's past it, so there'd be jealousy and trouble.)

The stakes this secondary world introduces to us could not be higher. Jacob's treasure-hunting ways are threatened by the Goyls, put a gar- in front and you'll get it, finally having effective leadership and thus starting to win battles in the eternal war between humans and their kind. What matters about that is that Will, Jacob's brother, has been bitten by a Goyl and is suffering the inexorable fate of such: He's turning into the stone creature that we call a Goyl but, since he's human, he won't survive the change. He will be a stone human...dead, but still walking without his soul. And Jacob, whose running away to find a life in this other world, now can't figure out how to save Will...and his refusal to share knowledge of Mirrorworld with Will is what left him susceptible to the bite in the first place. Oh! Wait! That's not enough pressure, not enough baggage. Will's utterly innocent girlfriend Clara finds the mirror and enters Mirrorworld, too!

Now, let me not spend more time in Spoilerville than is necessary. Will and Clara are serious Mary Sues. The world happens to them. They're not possessed of Jacob's trove of information...and this is something he quite rightly blames himself for not imparting to his adoring little brother. He spends just enough time recognizing that he's set these conditions in motion, and the success or failure of Will's future life among the living not-Goyls is entirely on him.

Celeste/Fox surprised me as a character. Will is younger than Jacob and he has a blah girlfriend, but Jacob's magical girlfriend is...a real full-bodied relationship partner! I wasn't thinking that would work in a kid-aimed story. But this, with its neither dwelt-on nor avoided sexuality and its frank presentation of bodily suffering...Chanute's arm is lost for a singularly stupid reason, for example, but it's before the story we're being told now starts, and is reported not experienced...is part of the not-quite-adult storytelling world. I'd give this to any sixteen-year-old and expect them to feel positive about it. Not younger, though. The consequences of stupid actions aren't minimized!

But sometimes, stupid people just can't be forced to stop being stupid. Clara simply can not be made to see what is completely obvious to the meanest intelligence: She is NOT in her own birth-world anymore and can NOT act like she's out for a particularly strange walk there! It gets wearing, her insistence that Jacob act as though her world's rules still hold sway. And he, fool of a man that he is, keeps explaining and explaining why her way won't work! Because she's unwilling to learn!

But Jacob...he's fighting through death and resurrection, he's fighting enemies he knows are enemies as well as friends he doesn't know are worse than enemies..."Who makes peace when you can have victory?" muses one such...Jacob fights until the fabric of Mirrorworld finally delivers him the thing he's consistently asked for, demanded, begged to receive. The thing he's died inside and out to cause to happen.

He's received the gift of an ending.

What a lovely way to make your portal fantasy pop! Make it such that there is no more severe betrayal that can occur to anyone in this world. Give everyone an ending. Then, stand back and watch the fun begin!

So perfect for its intended audience, so much in accord with the end-of-adolescence access of adult emotions but without the perspective to manage them. This should take the world by storm, and I hope it will.
Profile Image for Trish.
1,848 reviews3,363 followers
December 4, 2015
Some people call Cornelia Funke the German J.K. Rowling. She apparently hates to be called so (I like that about her). Of course she would, after all, she is her very own person with her very unique style. The only connection: they both write (or at least started with) children's books.

I always read books in their original language if I can, but although German is my mother tongue, I usually don't find German authors appealing (classics aside).
With Cornelia Funke it's totally different. Her writing style is enthralling and reminds me that my language can be magical and beautiful too and has a lot of history.

The first book I've read of this author was the famous Inkheart that made her an instant international success. I wanted to be a silvertongue sooo badly and never ever wanted to leave the world of Littlefinger.

So imagine my surprise when I started this new trilogy, called Reckless (that's the main title for all three books in German with subtitles like Steinernes Fleisch, meaning flesh of stone) and LOVED IT SO MUCH MORE!

Words don't do my feelings justice - which is funny considering that a story consists of nothing else.
Cornelia Funke is like a siren singing her song, drawing you in - just with a happier ending. And it's not just her impeccable way of showing the beauty of the German language but also her very own illustrations that are a feast for the eyes! Oh, yes, in case you didn't know: she started out as an illustrator, then wrote her first book and has been illustrating her own books ever since!

This story is about the brothers Jacob and Will Reckless whose names were inspired by the brothers Grimm (they were called Willhelm and Jakob). They had a very rough start in life because their father simply disappeared, which set the tone for their later life.

I can't help but have a heavy heart about the background story of Jacob and Will regarding the disappearance of their father because of the author's own history. It wasn't her father who left. It was more tragic than that. After being an international success, she and her husband decided to move to Los Angeles with their two children - to a beautiful house with a gigantic garden (I think I even saw a fairy in one of the photographs). Two months later, her husband died of cancer (they had no idea he had it). It was a blow from which she only recovered slowly (there were some updates now and then from her sister who runs her blog) and whenever I read about Mo or Jacob (the two trilogies being somewhat darker than her other books, deeper in meaning in my opinion), there is this slight tug ... this darkness I can feel. But not in a bad way. As Cornelia Funke (and J.K. Rowling, incidentally) often try to explain to "concerned parents": dark stories need to be told as well and especially children can handle more than adults give them credit for. Besides, they need to learn that there is darkness in the world and why not letting them learn from books while they are in a comforting and secure environment?! What is more, stories like this also teach the reader how to HANDLE darkness!

Anyway, back to the story ...
While Jacob does everything to earn his family name (without being stupid), his younger brother is more gentle.
One night, right at the beginning of this story, when Jacob is only 12, he discovers a magical land behind a mirror in his father's study that is inhabited by all the creatures we know from fairy tales (NOT the fluffy Disney versions)!
Thus begin his adventures there that lead him away from his family more and more often.
However, one day (12 years later) Will discovers his secret, follows him ... and yeah, it doesn't go so well - leading to an epic quest.

What I loved was how different the brothers were and that Jacob, despite not wanting to be close to someone (for fear of getting hurt), would do ANYTHING for his brother.
An often quoted description of this first book was Es war einmal ein Junge, der auszog, das Fürchten zu lernen which is the title of the Grimm fairy tale "The Story of the Youth Who Went Forth to Learn What Fear Was" (see what she did there?).
The author has a wonderful way of taking something that is already there, has roots and tradition, and artfully rearranging it to make a new story from it.

Since I've always loved fairy tales (the fluffy ones as well as the darker, original versions), I ADORED the Mirrorworld with the tailor, dwarves, fairies, witches, goyls, ... and all the magical items. What I wouldn't give to be able to walk through it (no matter how dangerous) ... but wait, I just did! ;)

Cornelia Funke really makes the world come to life, dark and bright sides alike, and you can almost taste the sweets of the ginger bread house, smell the roses in the eternally sleeping castle (or prick your finger if you're not careful), hear leaves rustle in the wind, ...

("The Dark Sister" for those of you, who were wondering.)

... which is why I will return to Mirrorworld right away, in the next book!
Profile Image for Trish.
1,848 reviews3,363 followers
June 5, 2021
This is the second time I‘ve read this book and it was just as enchanting as the first time around.

There is a world behind mirrors that is home to all the creatures we know from fairytales: witches, fae, hintzelmen, man-eating wolves, dwarves, dragons, lorelai, water sprites, shapeshifters, mermaids, goyle, cursed tailors, talking animals, lots of treasures and more.
In short: it‘s a world full of old magic and myth but also of innovation by now.
One day, Jacob‘s father disappeared. As the 12-year-old boy discovers, he vanished behind a mirror into this other world so he follows to find him. He never does, but one day, due to a mistake and being in a hurry, his little brother Will follows him and is infected with a curse that turns him into a goyle.
So now it‘s a race against time before Jacob‘s little brother loses all his humanity.
On top of that, humans and goyle are at war. Or have been. The humans lost and peace talks are underway. But it‘s an uneasy truce. What is more dangerous? Magic or politics?

Cornelia Funke is THE German author if you ask me. She has this feeling for magical stories, this gift for pulling you under and wandering through strange worlds with you.
Add to that her gorgeous illustrations that adorn every single book of hers (see here). This time, though, I read the audio version and didn‘t regret it either. I very much enjoyed the musical intermissions as well as the narrator.

The writing style is beautiful and full of imagery, the characters almost instantly become family whose fate is intricately interwoven with the reader‘s (or so it feels). The story is enthralling and vivid. Thus, while I had read quite a few other books from this author before this one, this is my absolute favorite.

As I found out during a live reading last Sunday, the author is in talks with someone to have this series turned into a TV show and I‘d be so here for that! :D

Anyone in love with myths and fairytales, anyone who has ever enjoyed getting lost after stepping through a wardrobe or any other kind of „door“ will love this.
Profile Image for Andye.Reads.
828 reviews393 followers
August 4, 2010
I picked this book up at ALA 10 for my ten-year-old daughter. I got it signed for her and everything. She loved the Inkheart series and was really excited to start reading it, but after about 15 pages, she brought it to me and said, "I don't understand what's happening, this book makes no sense." So, I told her that I'd read it, and try to explain it to her. I am SO glad that I started this book....for two reasons. First, my ten-year-old is not ready for it. There was way too much bone-chilling creepiness, and there was also quite a lot of adult innuendo (the main character is 24) that she either wouldn't understand, or shouldn't be reading at ten.

The second reason is that I REALLY liked it a lot!! Unfortunately, if she hadn't brought it to me, I don't know that I would have ever picked it up, which makes me sad because I'm afraid that people who would love it, won't read it because it's marked (presently anyway) for 9-12 year olds.

So, why did I like this book so much? It was like The Lord of the Rings crossed with The Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales. I loved reading about the world behind the mirror! There were witches, and fairies, and dwarfs, and creepy stone creatures called Goyl. Then there were familiar fairy tale characters like Snow White and Sleeping Beauty (who was still sleeping because her prince never came for her). The story changes perspective several times as it is told by many different points of view, including Jacob, a loner who finds his place in this alternate world, Jacob's loyal female companion and shape-shifter, Fox, Jacob's brother, Will, who is rapidly turning into a Goyl, Will's fiery girlfriend, Clara, Hentzau, the captain of the evil Goyl King's army, and a few others. Though I think it might be confusing for younger readers, I thoroughly enjoyed reading from all these points of view. It was even interesting reading from the villain's outlook!

The creepy-factor was big in this book, too. If you're a fan of the Brothers Grimm or Tim Burton type movies, you will definitely appreciate the bizarre, and eerily terrifying creatures in Reckless. Some of them seriously gave me chills. "The Tailor"....that's all I'm saying.

I loved everything about this mystical world that Cornelia Funke twisted to make her own. I never knew what was going to happen next, or what creature they would encounter on their quest to free Will from the flesh-eating stone that was consuming him. The only complaint that I have is that I wish that we were able to get to know the characters a little better. I didn't feel like I got to know Jacob, or Will very well, which made it hard for me to care as much about what happened to them. Hopefully they will be fleshed out a little more in the next book which I can't wait to read! I hope that you won't let the age recommendation keep you from this book, and I hope you'll love it as much as I did.

Reckless is an Epic adventure with a creepy twist on all the Fairytales we know and love. "If you're looking for happily ever after, you've come to the wrong place."

~Andye (http://ReadingTeen.net/)
Profile Image for Andy.
1,120 reviews73 followers
April 13, 2021
Ich mag es, wie Cornelia Funke die Märchen meiner Kindheit in ein neues Gewandt kleidet. Auch beim wiederholten lesen hat die Geschichte nichts an Spannung verloren; im Gegenteil man findet immer neue Details.
Profile Image for Bradley.
Author 5 books3,846 followers
June 5, 2021
I don’t know what I expected with this novel — perhaps a YA adventure with some cool ties to mythology and an alternate universe, but what I got was a lot more than this.

There’s no time wasted in introducing the characters. We get them thrown into some massive worldbuilding that is tied to all kinds of myths but none of them are heavy-handed. Indeed, but I expected a one-of-the-kind fantasy that has more in common with epic-grimdark than a middle-grade lightweight. Indeed, it was all rather serious and steadily dark.

And when it came to the two brothers, I really enjoyed their story. I’ve always been a fan of cursed conditions and brotherly love, of living through war, of longing, and of sacrifice. This had all of that and more. Of course, it’s the more where this novel really shines. The kind of world that coexists next to ours is not a lightweight. It’s fully fleshed, has a complicated relationship to hours, and best of all, I love the awareness between the two.

I have to say this is one of the better fantasies out there, rich in story, drilled-down exploitation of classic myths, and epic sensibility… all while being, officially, a YA title. It’s not a lightweight.
Profile Image for Lydia.
156 reviews
February 1, 2012
I am extremely happy to write a review of this book. It was simply excellent. If you can imagine the fantasy of Tolkien, with the emotional connectivity of modern stories, and an anti-hero Paul Newman would be proud of, you will get a little taste of this tale.

The modern idea of taking timeless fairy tales and "revealing" their true, much darker, origins is an idea Funke plays out in this novel where a young man named Jacob runs from the pain of his youth, through a looking glass, and chooses to face his fears in another, much more magical world. For yeas he dances back and forth between the two, becoming more drawn and entangled with the fantasy world than that of which he was born.

Then, one day, his younger, gentler and vulnerable brother follows him through, and disaster strikes. Jacob, a now calamity-hardened treasure hunter, along with his vixen Fox (a woman who shape shifts), must risk everything to find a way to save his brother's life. This means dealing with an oft-deceitful dwarf, a conniving empress, blood thirsty unicorns, and the supremely powerful trickery of waring fairy sisters.

Jacob's love is never spoken, and his devotion seems lacking. But it is his deeds and bravery that prove the bond of brotherhood. As true anti-heroes do, he creates a place in your heart when you know you should care for another.

Funke who, according to a children's librarian I recently spoke to, is more widely read in Europe than J.K. Rowling, does a fantastical job weaving this magical story of courage in the face of adversity, and the bonds of love (yes, there is a girl in the mix) and brothers.
Profile Image for Ashley Daviau.
1,728 reviews739 followers
August 6, 2018
Some books stay timeless despite your age but I’m not sure if this is one of them. I first read it around 3-4 years ago and I remember loving it and immediately wanting to read the rest of the series. Fast forward to now when I finally decided to continue with the series but it’s been so long that a reread of this one was in order. And I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much this time around. Some parts were still quite magical and enjoyable but I kept thinking to myself how young it seemed. The character of Fox is really what makes this story for me, I love that character something fierce! In the end I did still enjoy it but I think the magic of the story was slightly spoiled by my age!
Profile Image for rachel, x.
1,670 reviews853 followers
February 2, 2021
Reread (2019): ★★★★☆

It's been four years since I first read Reckless and I'm happy to say it's still one of my all-time favourites. It will always have a place in my heart as one of the first books to introduce me to morally ambiguous stabby characters that are secretly Soft... which is possibly my favourite trope of ever.

Original Read (2015): ★★★★☆

I've typed fifteen first sentences in the last ten minutes, trying helplessly to capture my feelings towards this little gem of a book. I just don't know what to say. I think I'll just have to keep this short and sweet.

The first fifty pages of this were a struggle. We were thrown into a world knowing nothing about it and I spent at least a quarter of the book floundering. Thankfully, Funke somehow managed to grow a fantastic - and quite moving - story out of the ashes of that catastrophic beginning. I ended up falling for Jacob. I loved the lore. My heart broke. I cried at one point. I am in dire need of the sequel.

Trigger warnings for .

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Profile Image for Melissa.
Author 10 books4,195 followers
November 30, 2018
I'd never read Cornelia Funke (I know I KNOW, I need to read Inkheart), but I found this one at a used bookstore, read THIS on the inner flap: "Beyond the mirror, the darkest fairy tales come alive," and was sold.

The book is set in Mirrorworld, a fairy-tale land that's turning increasingly Earthlike due to technological advancements and the ambitions of a royal dynasty attempting to consolidate power. Generations after the tales we know have played out--The Frog Prince, Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty, etc etc--Jacob Reckless is a magical treasure hunter from Earth, who followed the trail of his deadbeat dad through a magic mirror. The book's plot centers on his quest to save his softhearted younger brother from a fairy-tale curse, but in doing so it winds through and around his own fascinating past as a seeker of powerful items (Rapunzel hair, wishing table, gold tree), and takes us on a trek across a land where stories once walked.
Profile Image for Patricia.
324 reviews43 followers
November 14, 2020
Ich bin ein großer Fan von Cornelia Funke, dieser Roman hat mich aber leider weniger begeistert als manch anderer von ihr. Die Brüder Jacob und Will reisen durch einen Zauberspiegel im Arbeitszimmer ihres Vaters in eine Parallelwelt, in der es alle möglichen fantastischen und märchenhaften Gestalten gibt. Immer wieder wird Bezug genommen auf Märchen der Gebrüder Grimm, leider wird das oft nur sehr oberflächlich behandelt und hat mit der Geschichte an sich wenig zu tun.
Die Figuren bleiben recht eindimensional, man erfährt sehr wenig über sie und besonders aus Jacob bin ich bis zum Schluss nicht schlau geworden.
Ich weiß nicht, ob ich die anderen Romane dieser Serie noch lesen werde, man kann diesen Roman nämlich auch gut einfach für sich lesen, was ich sehr angenehm finde.
Profile Image for Sarah Kallus.
310 reviews177 followers
April 23, 2018
Märchenhaft, abenteuerlich, spannend, mysteriös... es ist ein wundervolles Buch! Ich werde die Trilogie definitiv weiterlesen, sobald wie möglich. Die Zeit mit den Charakteren hab ich hier sehr genossen und vor allem der Schreibstil, der mit tollen Vergleichen arbeitete, die ich sonst wo noch nie gehört habe, hat mir sehr gefallen. Tolle Metaphorik zum Teil, tolle Sprache und tolle Ausarbeitung der Handlung. Man wusste nie, wie es weitergehen sollte. Richtig atmosphärisches Buch mit genialem Grundgerüst und besten Details.
Profile Image for leynes.
1,065 reviews2,898 followers
November 11, 2020
It feels so good to be back! 2019 (so far) has been an amazing year for me in regards to rereading my all-time favourites. The last time I read Reckless by my literal queen Cornelia Funke (a local legend here in Germany, we all stan) was nearly 10 years ago. Ever since then, this series has held a special place in my heart. It has a similar vibe to Connie's Ink trilogy but instead of a fantasy world made of ink and words, in Reckless, we are introduced to a world made of glass and mirrors.

Jacob Reckless discovers one day that the mirror in his father's study is magical. Looking (or rather: not looking) at it in the right way transports you to a world in which fairy tales are true. Dwarves, elves, fairies, princesses and goyl – those are the creatures that inhabit this strange place called the Mirrorworld. Jacob soon chooses this world as his second, and then his first home. He flees from his unjoyous family in the real world, a father who abandoned them, a mother who never came to terms with that, and a younger brother who needs him more than anyone.

In the Mirrorworld, Jacob made friends with Celeste, sometimes girl, sometimes fox. He underwent an apprenticeship with the renown treasure hunter Chanute, and soon follows in his footsteps. Over the course of ten years, Jacob has made a name for himself in the Mirrorworld. People pay him for his talent to get a hold of the rarest and most precious wonders, even the empress of Austry.

The plot of Reckless #1 follows Jacob, as he is faced with the difficult task of saving his brother, who for the first time in his life followed him through the Mirror, from turning into greenstone. Jacob never wanted his brother to discover his secret but due to his own carelessness, he now has to save his brothers life. To make matters worse, his brother's girlfriend Clara found a way into the Mirrorworld and refuses to leave Will behind. Together with Fox and the help of the dwarf Valiant, they embark on the mission to turn Will into a human again.

On their adventure, they are faced with many creatures with whom readers of the Brother's Grimm will be familiar with. Cornelia Funke interwove popular fairy tales such as Princess and the Frog, Sleeping Beauty and Rapunzel into her narrative. Personally, I highly enjoy this aspect of the Reckless series, as it adds a clever twist and a deeper layer to the world. Just like her Inkworld, the Mirrorworld is a place that I love to explore and roam around in. It's a place where I feel at home. Jacob and Fox (Celeste) are incredibly close to my heart and, in my humble opinion, one of the best characters that Connie has ever written.

I found the relationship drama (Jacob lowkey falling for Clara on their adventure) a bit tiresome, especially since I just wanted my two babies (Fox and Jacob) to strive, but I must admit that it added a bit of tension to the tale. Upon my reread, I was genuinely shocked by how sexual some of Connie's writing was. It's by no means explicit (mind you, she's not Sarah J. Mass ... thank God!) but I like the fact that the character's experiences matched their age, with Jacob already being 24 years old. It's kind of funny to see Connie write about young adults and not about teenagers.

This time around I listened to the audiobook, narrated by Rainer Strecker, and I was surprised by its high production quality. The music at the end of each chapter fit the mood of the narrative so well and helped me to immerse myself in the story even more. The only gripe I had with the audiobook is the fact that Rainer Strecker chose to whisper the sentences that represented Jacob's inner thoughts, and that got hella annoying real fast. I HATE ASMR. ;)

Overall, the series has managed to lure me in for a second time and I cannot wait to see what'll happen next. Will Jacob be able to save himself this time? What role will Fox play in their next adventure? Will the brothers be able to find their father who is probably lost somewhere behind the Mirror? What do the Dark Fairy and Kami'en plan next?
905 reviews257 followers
May 27, 2015
It's a little heartbreaking to give a Cornelia Funke book such a low rating. Though the Mirrorworld is certainly intriguing, the characters don't feel entirely fleshed out, and the plot rushes by at such a pace that it is all to easy to lose your bearing. The writing has none of the fluidity of the Inkworld series - it's almost difficult to believe the author is the same, though the themes and characters are similar - and Jacob is no Dustfinger. Such comparisons may seem unfair, but the fact remains that the similarities to Inkheart are too great to ignore, and inevitably, when compared, Reckless falls short.

Strangely enough, the book feels devoid of description - a little skeletal, no matter how crammed full of odd, stunningly unusual creatures it may be. It's a shame - there is so, so much potential, and Funke has proved herself more than capable with previous works. The stone-skinned Goyl, the wonderful shape-changing Fox, the dark Mirror world growing more and more like our own, the unusual (sometimes humourous) fairy-tale twists...

I strongly believe this is largely down to the translation. Though I know Funke has a big role in choosing the english words that finally make it to the page, the fact remains that this translation lacks the grace of Anthea Bell's (translator of the Inkworld series, and of Dragon Rider) work.

I will happily read the rest of the series in case the english settles into itself better otherwise I really will have to brush up on my German and try this in its native language.
Profile Image for Jess Penhallow.
329 reviews21 followers
March 5, 2019
This book was so confusing. I had to double check that it wasn't mistakenly marked as the first in a series as the reader is thrown into the story with absolutely no exposition or back story. When I did manage to get my footing this was a pretty basic fantasy tale with boring characters. The only ones I was rooting for were the jealous fox woman and the greedy dwarf. At least they had something that defined them however basic.

The one thing I did like was the fairy-tale elements. This being a German book you could really see how it was influenced by the Grimms and there were some nice 'easter egg' references.

Overall this is a series I will not be continuing with.
Profile Image for Andy.
1,120 reviews73 followers
April 13, 2021
Ich las diese neu überarbeitete Version der Geschichte, um mir einen Überblick zu verschaffen, inwiefern etwas an Plot, Charakteren oder Schreibstil verändert wurde. Immerhin ist es der erste Teil einer Trilogie Tetralogie Pentalogie. Zumindest erschien jetzt endlich nach jahrelangem warten Band vier. Doch nicht genug, dass die bis hierhin treue Leserschaft über 10 Jahre warten mussten, bestand jetzt auch noch die Befürchtung, dass durch Überarbeitungen die Originalgeschichte eventuell hinfällig sei.

All diejenigen, die das befürchteten, kann ich beruhigen. Nichts von dem ist passiert.
Ja, die Überarbeitung ist zu sehen. Allerdings fällt sie nicht ins Gewicht. Sie ist eher vergleichbar mit einer anderen Übersetzung. Sätze wurden umformuliert oder Situationen mehr ausgeschmückt. Im großen und ganzen ist es aber nicht relevant. Vielleicht ist es ein Marketing-Trick, um das Interesse der Leserschaft für diese eingeschlafene Reihe neu zu beleben oder aber die Autorin hat das zwingende Bedürfnis nach Schnörkeln oder sie wollte ihr "Orm" Die Stadt der Träumenden Bücher (Zamonien, #4) by Walter Moers reanimieren, weil sie selber in der Reihe nicht weiter kam, so eine Art Tolstoi-Syndrom, dass Autoren zwingt, ihr Werk immer noch einmal und noch einmal zu bearbeiten. Das kennt man auch von Stephen King.
Aus meiner Sicht rechtfertigte nichts den Aufwand, den Band zu bearbeiten. Unwichtiges wurde gestrichen oder hinzugefügt, Kleinigkeiten umformuliert, doch im großen und ganzen ist es genau die selbe Geschichte. Sie ist dadurch nicht besser geworden aber auch nicht verschlimmbessert. Und da bin ich dankbar. Ich mag die Reihe nämlich.

Profile Image for Minli.
359 reviews
September 5, 2011
I'm not sure if it's because this book was originally written in German, and German translated into English is clunky by default (have you ever had to read Weber? remember how fun that was?) but Cornelia Funke's style really takes some getting used to. It's not for everyone--I'm not even sure if it's for me. On one hand, the Mirrorworld was intriguing, and my favourite part was learning that the there were different types of Goyl based on the types of rocks. On the other, Jacob has got to be the most boring 24-year-old protagonist I've ever read. And I didn't get to spend enough time with Will to really understand what a tragedy it was to have lost him to the witch. It's a good thing I liked Clara and Fox.

This book was originally classified as middle grade, and I cannot begin to tell you how wrong that is. There are some supremely disturbing scenes (allusions to sexual violence, torture, etc.) that make this book inappropriate for most tweens, at least not until they understand the nuances of those issues.

Still, once I got into it, I kept turning the pages. Probably not something I'd re-read, but I might pick up the sequel to find out what happens.
Profile Image for Andrés Velázquez.
35 reviews26 followers
May 17, 2011
First when I read the first couple of chapters I felt a bit disapointed because I realized the style was meant like a fantasy adventure book for children. But as I keep reading the book became more and more engaging.

The dark twist in the fairy tale world may not be a new concept but is pretty well handled in this novel, sometimes when authors focus on writting this type of books they only develop certain aspects of the fantastic world delivering an uncreative, unimaginative book. On the contrary, the world of Reckless is very immersive and is developed in a way that makes you feel that you are actually witnessing a vast world behind the mirror.

Besides there´s not a dull moment in the book, making it a great light-page-turner read. There is one thing that can be criticized though, and that is that it lacks in the descriptive part, while character traits or simply the scenery or the mood could be described more thoroughly.

All in all Funke created a pretty great dark fairy tale which I wouldn´t doubt on recommending.
Profile Image for Marjolein (UrlPhantomhive).
2,360 reviews50 followers
March 19, 2017
2.5 Stars

Read all my reviews on http://urlphantomhive.booklikes.com

The Petrified Flesh (or Reckless as it used to be called), is a series by Cornelia Funke that I have seen in the bookstore about a million times. Something, however, stopped me from reading it previously. I can't even begin to explain why, because her Inkworld trilogy is one of my favorite children's books and The Thief Lord I also enjoyed a lot.

Maybe it was just a warning from myself, because now that I read it, it didn't feel right and I can't say that I enjoyed it. It felt part like a cheaper version of Inkworld, with another world behind the mirror, and also the characters didn't come to life for me (pun intended). It was not truly bad either, but just very forgettable.

I was disappointed, and I haven't decided yet wether or not to continue with the series.
Profile Image for carola.
25 reviews34 followers
April 18, 2018
It's probably not worth one star, because it's Cornelia Funke but I just could not deal with
her writing in this one. I absolutely adore her but this just wasn't for me...
Profile Image for Dannii Elle.
1,966 reviews1,384 followers
December 10, 2021
Jacob Reckless resides inside two worlds. One is our own and the other is of a far more enchanted variety, accessed through a mirror in his father's study. He flows between the two, returning home to his brother and bewitching him with stories of his adventures whenever he can. But the time of doing as he pleases has come to an end. Jacob has made enemies who are now tracking him and has put both his life and those of the ones he loves in mortal danger.

This novel had such an interesting concept but it failed in the execution, for me. The parts I retained the most interest in seemed rushed over and the reader was often only reunited with characters after some exciting interlude and filled in on events, rather than given the opportunity to experience them alongside the characters.

I did enjoy getting to know the individuals who appeared inside these pages and did love all that was learned about this new world but, unfortunately, these aspects were not enough to intrigue me into continuing on to book two.
Profile Image for Stephanie Jobe.
356 reviews10 followers
February 29, 2012
I’ll start out with an interesting cover note, the one pictured here is the paperback copy that I have. Featured on the cover is Jacob as distinguished by the fact that his eyes are green, not blue or gold. Though the green swirlies made me unsure at first. The original cover the black with the frame and the green face, that is Will. Now a making fun of myself moment: notice those names? Jacob and Will… hmm that rings a bell… Jacob and Wilhelm… okay so yes they have the Grimm brothers name. The shame is that is was over of a quarter of the way through a book filled with fairy tales made real before I realized the Reckless brothers were named after the Grimm brothers. Cue facepalm.

So so far you know that we have a fairy tale land and two brothers. Their father disappeared when they were young. They’re mother recently died of cancer. For years older brother Jacob has been disappearing for huge chunks of time, but in some ways he never left their father’s study. In the room that they all avoid is a mirror that is a door into another world. A world that Jacob prefers over reality. Then Will stumbles in after him and is cursed and Jacob must find a way to save him.

This is not a happy fairyland. The bad guys are worse and the happy endings aren’t necessarily true. Jacob’s best friend is Fox, a vixen who is actually a girl he once saved. Jacob Reckless has made a name for himself as a treasure hunter, finding legendary magic items. Then there is Will who trusts his brother absolutely even though he left so often. There are other interesting people to the cast but I don’t want to spoil anything. Jacob feels like a gallant hero, but you also see the vulnerable young man underneath.

I started this not realizing there was going to be a second book but honestly I began to seriously suspect about halfway through. I’ve been avoiding series because they’re a reason for me to want to buy more books but well it’s Cornelia Funke, it’s fairly assured I’m going to buy what she puts out anyway. I love her characters and the worlds she creates. They always feel so complete to me. Complete immersion. I also love her writing, everything about it, and I suppose translator Oliver Latsch probably gets some credit for that, but I know I love everything she has written and not all of it was translated by him.

This is definitely a book that could be read easily by a male or a female I think and it is a great crossover that is adult but would definitely be enjoyed by young adults as well. Sometimes I have issues writing when part of my gut is to just say: LOVE, LOVE, LOVE… READ IT!

This is the first book of the Mirrorworld series.
Profile Image for Jackie "the Librarian".
863 reviews258 followers
March 12, 2011
Retold fairy tales tend to be funny retellings with spunky heroines overcoming obstacles with help from magical animals, and meeting cute with their prince in disguise, or reformed thief. Not this time. This book isn't a BIT funny.

Jacob Reckless discovered the world on the other side of the mirror in his missing father's study years ago. It's a dangerous place that seems to be the origin of all our fairy tales, such as Hansel and Gretel (there are actual gingerbread houses with child-eating witches in the forest) and Sleeping Beauty, although it looks like no prince ever made it through the wall of thorns to awaken her.

Jacob survived all the dangers of his many explorations, but when his younger brother also finds his way through the mirror, he is not so lucky. Infected by a scratch from a Hentzen, Will is becoming one himself, slowly turning into a man made of living stone. It's up to Jacob to save him, if he can.

By the author of Inkheart, this is a very dark fantasy world, and while I was engaged by the story, it wasn't a particularly FUN read, but instead a tense one. I liked that it was a fantasy with male protagonists, as there are so many for girls, and not so many for boys. I liked that it was serious, not a spoof, that the witches were real, and would eat you if given a chance, and that the fairies were amoral and beautiful and scary. I liked the very real sense of how much was at stake. I didn't mind that it seemed to be the first book of a series, as the story comes to a good ending point with enough resolution to be satisfying in itself.

I liked the references to fairy tales, but was confused by the Hentzen, the stone men. Are they a German fairy tale thing, perhaps?
Recommended for ages 11 and up.
Profile Image for Alan.
295 reviews7 followers
October 26, 2010
What if all those fairy tale stories, Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, Sleeping Beauty etc., all those stories with magical creatures or witches, stories of trolls and giants, what if these stories didn't come from the minds of men. What if they were true stories from a different world. A world you could get into through a magical mirror.
This is that story. The story of Jacob Restless, a boy who's father had disappeared years earlier, a boy who one day, while in his fathers study, discovers writing around a mirror on the wall. "The mirror will only open for he who cannot see himself". When Jacob figures out the answer, he finds himself in a world of magic and magical creatures.
This was a book i really enjoyed but I would hesitate recommended this book for anything under 6th grade because it's not a fairy tale for little kids.
Lexile level 840.
Profile Image for Aleshanee.
1,372 reviews93 followers
August 23, 2020
Nachdem ja jetzt (endlich!) der vierte Band in Sicht ist, hab ich mir vorgenommen, die ersten drei Bände nochmal zu lesen. Und ich hab mich sofort wieder völlig in der Spiegelwelt verloren!

Es beginnt, wie üblich für ein Märchen, mit "Es war einmal". Ein kleines, aber schönes Detail, wie auch die tollen Zeichnungen der Autorin, die jedes der vielen Kapitel einleiten. Das alleine wirkt sich schon sehr auf die Atmosphäre beim Lesen aus, aber auch der Schreibstil, der mich total gebannt und mit dem ersten Satz eingefangen hat.

Die Nacht atmete in der Wohnung wie ein dunkles Tier. Das Ticken einer Uhr. Das Knarren der Holzdielen, als er sich aus dem Zimmer schob - alles ertrank in ihrer Stille.
Zitat Seite 7

Als Leser sind wir an der Seite von Jacob Reckless; dessen Vater verschwand, dessen Mutter in Depressionen verfallen ist und dessen kleiner Bruder Will seinen Halt immer bei ihm gesucht hat - in der wenigen Zeit, die er greifbar war.
Das ist nur ein grober Einblick zu Beginn, denn recht schnell wechseln wir in die Spiegelwelt, die Welt, in der Jacobs Vater verloren ging und den er dort jahrelang ergebnislos gesucht hat. Um seine Verzweiflung zu kompensieren, hat er seine Suche auf magische Artefakte verlagert. In der Spiegelwelt ist die Magie der Märchen nämlich lebendig und Cornelia Funke schafft es genial, die alten Mythen und Legenden mit einer ganz neuen, und wirklich düsteren Note in die Geschichte einzuflechten.

Niemand konnte sagen, wer oder was genau er war. Die Geschichten über den Schneider waren fast so alt wie der Schwarze Wald. Nur eins wusste jeder: Seinen Namen hatte er sich dadurch verdient, dass er Kleider aus Menschenhaut schneiderte.
Zitat Seite 62

Grausam sind auch die "Goyl", ähnlich wie Menschen, allerdings mit einer Haut aus Stein, also äußerst widerstandsfähig und nachdem sie Jahrhunderte unter der Erde gelebt haben, entbrannte ein Krieg zwischen ihnen und den oberen Reichen, vor allem gegen die Königin Therese von Austrien. Sie steht kurz vor der Kapitulation und muss eine folgenschwere Entscheidung treffen.

Und dann ist da noch die Fee, die Dunkle Fee, die an Kami´ens Seite steht, dem Goyl König. Über die Feen gibt es auch einige finstere Legenden, die Jacob Reckless am eigenen Leib zu spüren bekommen hat und in denen sich der Einfallsreichtum der Autorin widerspiegelt. Ich bin wirklich völlig fasziniert, wie sie die unterschiedlichsten Märchen hier auf ganz neue, bedrohliche Art Wirklichkeit werden lässt!

Die meiste Zeit wird aus Jacobs Sicht erzählt, aber auch den anderen Charakteren werden kurze Kapitel gewidmet, um einen besseren Einblick zu gewinnen. Jede Figur ist besonders und markant.
Gerade Jacob, der sich sehr gut in seiner Einsamkeit zu Recht gefunden und sich einen Platz in dieser fremden Welt geschaffen hat - er wirkt hart, kampferprobt und ist immer zur Stelle um zu tun, was getan werden muss – auch wenn ihn innerlich ständig Zweifel quälen.
Wie anders erscheint dagegen sein Bruder Will, der sanftmütig und verletzlich ist. Der Einfluss der verzauberten Welt verändert ihn jedoch und schon bald heißt Will die Härte willkommen. Sie lässt ihn all den Schmerz und die Leere vergessen, die ihn all die Jahre ohne seinen Bruder zerfressen haben.
Auch das Mädchen Fuchs und Clara sind gut getroffen, aber auch die Nebencharaktere sind trotz kurzen Auftritten immer greifbar.

Diese spielerische Eindringlichkeit gewürzt mit der weitreichenden Tragik der einzelnen Figuren geben dem Buch eine ganz eigene, besondere Atmosphäre.

Claras hastige Schritte schrieben es auf die dunkle Erde, und Fuchs musste nicht ihre Nase fragen, warum Clara so schnell lief. Sie selbst hatte schon versucht, dem Schmerz davonzulaufen.
Zitat Seite 124

Die Geschichte geht stetig voran und alles Wissenswerte wird geschickt in die Handlung eingewoben, ich konnte das Buch jedenfalls kaum aus der Hand legen! Die vielen Wendungen waren überraschend und auch wenn man auf ein gutes Ende hofft, war man nie gewiss, wie dieses aussehen würde.

Die Spiegelwelt selbst ist ein mystischer und düsterer Ort, gespickt mit Märchenornamenten und Zauberbannen, betörend und grausam. Die Namen der Orte, der Wesen und Fauna sind ideal gewählt und lassen einen komplett in diese phantastische Welt eintauchen.
Cornelia Funke hat mich zum wiederholten Mal bezaubert und mich völlig in diese mythische Welt eintauchen lassen: Märchenhaft, böse und fesselnd bis zur letzten Seite!

EDIT: Der neu herausgekommene erste Band der Reihe wurde von der Autorin überarbeitet und in Details geändert! Zum Verständnis der Fortsetzung vor allem vom vierten Band "sollte" besser die Neuauflage gelesen werden lt. Cornelia Funke!
Profile Image for Avada Kaddavra.
272 reviews46 followers
November 3, 2020
Es war einmal... Aber echt die ganz düstere Version😱
Böse Hexen, dunkle Feen und allerhand andere Schreckgestalten tummeln sich hier hinter den Spiegeln.
Und mitten drin Jacob Reckless, der nur seinen Bruder retten will. Dafür ist ihm jedes Mittel, das die düstere Märchenwelt zu bieten hat, recht. Und das sind einige...
Ich fand es richtig gut!
Nur ging mir das zum Schluss dann doch alles ein bisschen zu einfach. Gut. Bisschen Schwund ist immer.
Aber ich bin echt gespannt wie Jacob aus der Nummer wieder rauskommen will🙊
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