Book Review: “Inkheart” by Cornelia Funke

IMG_20170901_222411I’m finally getting through the backlog of book reviews that piled up while I was working on #TheReadingQuest way back during the months of August and September. This is the book I read for the “Book That Has a TV/Movie Adaptation” category.

There may be minor spoilers in this review! (Although really, it’s nothing you can’t learn from the back of the book.)

Funke’s Inkheart deals with a subject that I’m sure many bookworms have found themselves yearning for: bringing a book to life. And that’s not a metaphor: the main character’s father, Mortimer Folchart, literally brings the characters in books to life by reading aloud. These characters now have a vendetta against Mo, and Mo is forced to move constantly with his daughter, Meggie, in order to stay one step ahead of the villains.

The first thing you have to understand while reading this is that Inkheart was originally written in German. There are a few things that seem to have been translated weirdly, leaving the dialogue awkward and wooden in parts. The scenes later between Farid and Meggie seem a little forced (particularly because he at first is said to be at least five years older than she is), and if you think those are bad, just wait until you hit the second and third books.

I have to admit, though, the main character, Meggie, really irritates me. It may be because I’m almost twice her age (she’s 12 in the book, and I just turned 23), but for a girl who is supposedly really smart and worldly, she acts like a child. On the other hand, her entire existence is uprooted in the novel, which may explain why she acts like such a brat at times. It seems like every time she turns around, she’s whining about something new. She also completely disregards her father’s rules/advice and ends up almost getting everybody killed multiple times.

For all the bad things I seem to have to say about this book, I don’t want you to think this is a terrible book. On the contrary, I find this book to be very relaxing. It’s one of those stories you can always come back to, because it’s got the “Good triumphs over Evil” theme downpat, while managing to do it in relatively interesting ways.

The writing in this book is excellent, aside from the aforementioned dialogue issues that (I hope) stem mostly from an awkward translation error. Funke is wonderful at painting pictures with words, and she certainly manages to do it here. I wish I spoke German so I could find an original edition of this book and see how it compares to the English version.

The main premise of the book is always exciting, no matter how many times I reread it. I especially love that each chapter begins with a quote from another book, with everything from Huckleberry Finn to Peter Pan to The Chronicles of Narnia being quoted. Usually the chosen quote has something to do with the chapter, and sometimes you have to do some real thinkin’ to figure out why that quote was chosen.

The ending of this book is always a feel-good for me. [Minor spoilers! Don’t finish this paragraph if you don’t want some minor things spoiled!] I really do wish Funke had left this as a single novel instead of expanding it into a trilogy. The ending of this book, with the exception of Basta and The Magpie, wraps up very neatly. While the next two books have great promise, they ultimately fall flat, and the ending to this trilogy is almost heartbreaking. [/minor spoiler]

If you read this book, unless you’re thirsting for misery, I suggest don’t completing the series. Let the end of the first book satisfy you, because it does wrap up so nicely.

This is a book for anyone who’s ever wished they could live in their favorite book worlds, despite knowing the danger. With that in mind, I give this a 4/5 stars for anyone who’s a fan of reading and books in general. If you’re not a huge fan, I’d still give it a solid shot, because it is entertaining and the plot is unique.

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One cruel night, Meggie’s father reads aloud from a book called INKHEART– and an evil ruler escapes the boundaries of fiction and lands in their living room. Suddenly, Meggie is smack in the middle of the kind of adventure she has only read about in books. Meggie must learn to harness the magic that has conjured this nightmare. For only she can change the course of the story that has changed her life forever. 
This is INKHEART–a timeless tale about books, about imagination, about life. Dare to read it aloud.

  • Paperback: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Paperbacks;
  • Published: 1st edition (June 1, 2005)
  • ISBN-13: 978-0439709101

Check it out on Amazon!

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Inkheart has a movie adaptation, starring everyone’s favorite treasure hunter/mummy slayer, Brenden Frasier! Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately?), I’ve never seen the movie. My sister has, and from what she’s told me (she’s never read the books), it’s nothing like the book at all, so I would warn you to proceed with caution. If you enjoy the book, it’s quite possible that you will not enjoy the movie! Watch at your own risk!

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Have you read the Inkworld trilogy? Do you agree with my assessment of the first book in the series? Did you enjoy the rest of them, or are you in agreement with me that the other two can be skipped? Let me know in the comments!

And as always, keep reading.

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2 thoughts on “Book Review: “Inkheart” by Cornelia Funke

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