C.G. Drews's Reviews > The Petrified Flesh

The Petrified Flesh by Cornelia Funke
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May 19, 2016

really liked it
bookshelves: 4-star, epic-fantasy, young-adult, retelling, read-2017

I had no idea what to expect from this but I reeeeally liked it. I know I read Inkheart 52 million years ago. But I didn't like Dragon Rider much at all, so it didn't really occur to me I'd want to read more Cornelia Funke. I'M SO GLAD I DID. This was stuffed with dark vicious stabby fairy tale fantasticness. My kind of story basically.

(NOTE: apparently this is actually an edition that's been editing again and rewritten a bit by Cornelia Funke before republishing with this cover?? So I can't compare it to the original, of course, but anyway. LOVE THE COVER SO BAD.)

The best part of this book is obviously the Mirrorworld. I had in the back of my mind it was going to be a chill sort of whimsy middle-grade thing? BUT HAHAH NO CAIT. It's very dark. There's torture and dark woods and creepy monsters and warped romances and people getting shot and cut and stabbed and aaall the things. It doesn't graphically describe anything, though? So I suppose small poptart readers won't die reading this.

It's stuffed with fairy tale references too. #winningatlife I adore fairy tales and this takes them from a dark angle. I particularly like how it had a Sleeping Beauty vibe going on but this time it was the BOY who would need the GIRL to wake him with a kiss. I love that!!! And the style was also very fairy-tale-like, with just the right amount of description.

I also adored how it's a brother story. I like brother stories. Like the easies way to get me snabbled into a book is to say either (A) there's food in here, or (B) there are siblings bonding in here. SO THIS WINS FOR B!! Fails a bit for A. They literally never eat. But I suppose the strength of magical quests can fill your stomach? (FYI I would die. I need my snacks.) So Jacob Reckless is like a treasure hunter in the mirrorworld because he hates his world. I don't know why. But who wouldn't? Reality is dumb. Then his little bro, Will, follows him in and (1) gets attacked or something and starts to turn into a jade-skinned-monster, (2) which means Jacob has to move hell AND high water to fix him, (3) which then turns out into quest after bloody quest and everyone nearly (or does) die and the vicious fairies try to kill everyone and go to war and Jacob gets nearly mauled by unicorns AGAIN and it's just tragedy and heartbreak -- AND I LOVE IT.

I'm a little bit ticked off at the "romance" though. Like Jacob definitely sleeps around (this is firmly eluded to) but he's definitely in love with a shape-shifter fox. She loves him back. Do they talk about it? NO. NEVER. It's very frustrating, because she'll hate him when he kisses someone else but yet she won't confess her feelings???? I loved Fox but at the same time she was only there for sexual tension and that annoyed me. Basically the female characters in this book were seriously lacking in active and interesting rolls.

And honestly? I do have a BIGGER quibble too: I felt the book was pretty emotionless. Just the writing style. I never knew what Jacob felt for most of the book. Or what anyone else felt. DARN YOU WHERE ARE MY FEELINGS. I was obsessed by the world and all the dark magic but at the same time...I was very emotionally detached. I wanted to care but it was a bit of a struggle. I don't know if this is a translation thing???? Or me being a Vulcan???? But it was a big problem for me.

ALL IN ALL: this is a darkly vicious fairy tale of monsters and murder, and I really adored it! It's left me feeling rather inspired and excited. Which is exactly the kind of feel I want to finish a book with! I adored Jacob and his stony stubbornness to save his brother from turning into stone. I wish he'd, like, had feelings, but WHATEVER. CAN'T HAVE EVERYTHING. And the world is just A+ for creepy wonder.
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Reading Progress

May 19, 2016 – Shelved
May 19, 2016 – Shelved as: to-read
February 1, 2017 – Started Reading
February 1, 2017 –
page 211
65.73% "This is SO much more bloody and dark than I thought it would be!?? Evil faeries and monsters and stabbing???? WELL. I'M PLEASED."
February 2, 2017 – Shelved as: 4-star
February 2, 2017 – Shelved as: epic-fantasy
February 2, 2017 – Shelved as: young-adult
February 2, 2017 – Shelved as: retelling
February 2, 2017 – Shelved as: read-2017
February 2, 2017 – Finished Reading

Comments (showing 1-12 of 12) (12 new)

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message 1: by Giffie (new)

Giffie Is this book written in first or third person? Thanks for the review!


C.G. Drews @Giffie: 3rd person!


message 3: by Miriam (new)

Miriam Joy Oh, interesting about the edit/rerelease. I read "Reckless" a few years ago before the addition of "The Petrified Flesh" to the title, and more recently its sequel, but I was confused to see it popping up again in a different form. That would explain that.


C.G. Drews @Miriam: I think it'd be interesting to see what she's changed! I actually own the original from a library sale, but not sure I have the time to investigate. XD

@Hope: Hahah, I totally get that. XD I mean, I get that Jacob was aloof but the guy seriously had no feelings ever. Half the time I wasn't even sure he liked his brother???


Esther Fantasy) I loved Inkheart but for some reason I just didn't like this!! I don't know why but I just couldn't really connect


message 6: by Ellen Gail (new)

Ellen Gail "dark vicious stabby fairy tale fantasticness"

My middle name basically.

Great review Cait! I love when a book does the murderous fairy tale thing well. Sucks that it was such an emotional black hole though. Have you read Alice? It goes down the dark fairy tale route too and I love it!


Asmos It's not a translation thing I can assure you. The lack of emotions bottered me in the original version too. So much actually, that I never read the second book...


message 8: by ClaireEva (new)

ClaireEva Would you say this is more for young readers or teens?


message 9: by La La (new) - added it

La La I didn't read your review (because I am one of those people who likes to go into books just about totally blind), but I am excited you liked it! I am chomping at the bit waiting for it to come up on my tbr schedule. :D


message 10: by La La (new) - added it

La La La La wrote: "I didn't read your review (because I am one of those people who likes to go into books just about totally blind), but I am excited you liked it! I am chomping at the bit waiting for it to come up o..."

I also have the old version in hardcover so I will be comparing.


message 11: by C.G. (new) - rated it 4 stars

C.G. Drews ClaireEva wrote: "Would you say this is more for young readers or teens?"

Older readers, I think. As I said in the review, it's pretty dark!


message 12: by Daniela (new) - added it

Daniela Ark's Bookiverse Ok you had me at "dark vicious stabby fairy tale fantasticness" :) :)


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