Sunil's Reviews > Inkspell

Inkspell by Cornelia Funke
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's review
Jul 08, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: 2013
Read from January 23 to February 21, 2013

I enjoyed the metafictional fun of Inkheart , which featured characters who came out of books, but I did always suspect that at some point the characters would go into a book, and wouldn't that be awesome?

Sadly, it was not.

Inkspell takes Our Heroes into the Inkworld, the fantasy world Fenoglio wrote about in Inkheart. There is a lot of potential here, especially given that Fenoglio himself is in the world he created, interacting with characters he created. It's a hoot at first, but it also leads to some very interesting character development as he sees the way that the story has taken on a life of it own. Dustfinger's homecoming is very poignant, especially given that he can't tell anyone where he's been for the last ten years since they wouldn't believe him (it's amusing to consider that some things are too fantastical even for a world with fairies and glass men). Basta remains a great villain, and he's assisted by Mortola. I enjoyed the returning characters.

Unfortunately, I was coming off George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire and concurrently reading N.K. Jemisin's Dreamblood books, so, by comparison, Funke's fantasy world with political intrigue was incredibly generic and boring. This felt like the first book in a totally different series rather than the second book in a promising trilogy. Funke spends so much time building the Inkworld when I didn't care; I wanted to know how anything affected the characters I was invested in. Not this prince or that prince or whoever.

The book also suffers from the same pacing issues as the first book, but with the additional problems of having even more POVs scattered about and not having a clear motivation for each character. The middle of the book gets far too bogged down in Inkworld politics, and the momentum of the characters' stories was lost. What did they want? What were they trying to do? Admittedly, I lost interest eventually and wasn't paying a lot of attention, which made everything even harder to follow than it already was.

Brendan Fraser, however, has a hell of a lot of fun reading the book, reading passages as if they're dramatic monologues, infusing character-specific emotion into the third-person narration. And he also does sound effects and fairy chittering; it's adorable.

There were some good, clever moments that used the metafictional concepts established in the first book, but I wanted the book to be over several discs before it ended. I wasn't even sure I wanted to read the third book, but then some developments near the end piqued my interest again. I hope it has an amazing payoff because I'm disappointed that this was such a middling middle installment.

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