Maia B.'s Reviews > Inkheart

Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
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Feb 03, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: best-books-ever, love-it, practically-perfect, my-best-beloved, fantasy, beautiful-writing

Oh, my, I love this novel. I think I got a copy for my eighth birthday and it took me days to start reading - the thickness of the spine deterred me. When I did begin it, though, I could not put it down. I read through meals, to the annoyance of my family; stayed up with a flashlight two nights in a row; and toted it around with me everywhere, even the bathroom. It has long been a part of one of my very favorite series.

First, it's about books and people who love them. There are stories within stories and stories within those. Where can you go wrong with this? Add beautiful writing (even translated out of German; go, Anthea Bell!), some very dastardly villains, lovely places in Italy, and a very large dose of magic, and what you have is a wonderful, wonderful book.

I've heard this series criticized as overlong, with a writing style which detracts from the story and uninteresting characters. "Overlong" it may be, if you're used to shorter books or don't have much time on your hands. If you can sit down and really savor the novel, it isn't too long at all. As for a "detracting" writing style...well, to that I can only reply that it is rubbish. Funke uses her writing to set the scene and the mood; she writes descriptions of night falling which quite honestly take my breath away, and she can describe places so well I feel like I've been there. If I ever do visit one of her settings, I'll recognize it at once: "Look! We've been here before."

The characters are sometimes a little doughy, I agree, Mo and Meggie particularly. Dustfinger, Elinor, Fenoglio - and Capricorn and Basta - seem occasionally even more real than the people I live with. Elinor is my favorite. She's harsh and has a lot of sharp edges, but she's passionate and brave and what she doesn't dislike, she loves with every breath in her body. That's books and the Folchart family, mostly.

In this first book, I have to admit that Mo is a bit dull, and Meggie is nice enough but a little too nice. They are such a loving father-daughter pair that their relationship is sticky with it. Don't get me wrong, loving families are all well and good, but there's a line between "well and good" and "sentimental" which has to be drawn somewhere, and Cornelia Funke manages to cross it once in a while.

But forget the malleable Folcharts. Whenever someone says that the young adult genre isn't worth it, I whip out this book: "Look at this! It's young adult and it's wonderful."

And it is. Wonderful.
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