Tintentod (Cornelia Funke)

Tintentod, translated as Inkdeath, is the third book in the Inkworld Trilogy by Cornelia Funke.
Finished on: 8.12.2021
[Here are my reviews of the other two books.]

Things in the Inkworld are still pretty dire. Politically, Mo’s plan has backfired severely, and Mo himself becomes the Bluejay more and more, much to Resa’s and Meggie’s worry. Farid is still desperately trying to bring Dustfinger back to life, and has pledged himself to Orpheus in the hope that he can achieve it. Fenoglio is still unable to write. And for all the people in the Inkworld, the Adderhead and his people become increasingly more dangerous. Something has got to change and very soon, or it will be too late.

Tintentod is a really great ending for the story, that makes good use of the pieces it put into play and gives satisfaction – despite a couple of issues I had with it.

The book cover showing a mosaic of illustrated letters like at chapter beginnings. There's ea caste in the midle of a lake, a snowy forest, a unicorn jumping out of the pages of a book and a woman walking along a pillar hallway.

Tintentod, rather surprisingly, turns away from Meggie for a lot of it. The former protagonist is pretty sidelined here, with the focus drawn away because, on the one hand, there are just so many characters in play here, and on the other, by Mo who seems not only to become the protagonist of the Inkworld without meaning to, but also of Inkdeath itself. And I do understand it – Mo does have a great arc and the most interesting questions rank around it.

But at the same time, the story could have stuck with Meggie and told things from her perspective. At the very least, she would have deserved more agency. Her entire story seems to be about choosing who she wants to date – Farid or Doria. Which is also a surprising development because in the last book we left Farid and Meggie very much in love, and I can’t help but feel that Farid’s distance and his flirting with other women is on the one hand artificial drama and on the other hand, it plays into some nasty stereotypes about Arabic men and their fidelity.

But apart from that, I did very much enjoy this finale. It’s a little faster paced than the first two novels (though still far from a quick read), and it very much nails the consequences of putting its characters in those particular situations. Their reactions are spot-on, and everything falls into place in a way that feels both surprising and inevitable – a sign of really excellent plotting and characterization.

So despite my few issues with it, and despite the fact that it is not an easy read, I really enjoyed this ending – and the series as a whole. I’m looking forward to re-watching the movie adaptation now with a bit of a different perspective on it.

Summarizing: a satisfying ending.

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