Saturday, May 2, 2015
Book Review: Inkheart
By Cornelia Funke
Audience: Grades 5 to 8
Publication Date: September 23, 2003
Meggie enjoys the simple life that she leads with her father surrounded by books, although they do move rather suddenly on occasion. She barely remembers a life with her mother, but never asks what happened to her. Then a strange man baring a stranger name shows up at their door and tells her father, Mo that Capricorn is hunting them. This begins a long tale of flight, fancy, and fairy tales.
Meggie, Mo, and the stranger Dustfinger flee to their bookish relative, Elinor. But her high power security system does not keep them safe, and Capricorn's men capture them and take them to a remote village. Once there, Meggie learns that Mo, or Silvertongue, has read Dustfinger, Capricorn, and heartless Basta out of a book called Inkheart, and accidentally read her mother into it. Mo has a fascinating and terrible gift of being able to bring characters out of a book, but it is a gift that he can barely control. After a harrowing escape from Capricorn's village, Meggie, Mo, and Elinor track down the author of the book Fengolio, but are once again captured and now Mo must use his gift to bring down Capricorn.
I was told to read this book by a student that I was interviewing at a scholarship weekend this winter. We asked everyone for their favorite book and he went on so enthusiastically about Inkheart that I had to give it a try. (But to be fair he was a very enthusiastic guy. His energy was infectious, but just a tad exhausting). However, after reading Inkheart, I think I'm a convert. I adored it! To me, it was a love letter to the written word and the power of books. Every chapter begins with a book quote, books that are now on my mile-long to-read list. So many of these quotes describe a love of books and reading.
I knew of these books, naturally, while I was a librarian. However, with all of the other series coming out at the same time, I didn't bother with this one that was already mostly underway when I started my job. I regret that now. Also, as an import, I wonder if Inkheart got the attention that it deserved, although the movie starring Brenden Fraiser hardly helped. He should really stick to killing mummies.
The text was quite engaging, although it took me a great deal of time to get through the whole book. I just can't stay up all night reading like I used to, but it was easy enough to read for a bit and come back later.
This is entirely the type of book that I would love my little Ali Pie to stumble upon later. It is full of magic, wonder, and heart.
For all those fantasy fans, Inkheart is a natural choice.