Inkheart is the first novel of the Inkworld trilogy by Cornelia Funke. It’s a fantasy novel written for a young adult audience.
The story follows Meggie, a 12 year old girl, who lives with her father Mortimer, a book binder. One night, a mysterious old friend of Mortimer’s turns up – Dustfinger. The next day, they leave their home with Dustfinger, to visit Meggie’s greataunt Elinor. Elinor is an obsessive book collector and has little contact with the outside world, except when buying books.
Soon, it’s clear that Mo is running from Capricorn and that Dustfinger works for him. And then Meggie discovers that when Mo reads aloud, the things he reads about come to live. Literally.
It’s a very engaging read with plausible characters, if sometimes a little one-dimensional and character development. The story is interesting; I – as probably anybody else who ever read a book they couldn’t get enough of – love the concept of things coming to life (and isn’t it a wonderful metaphor?) by reading them.
There’s a quote at the beginning of each chapter, from writers like Toni Morrison, Michael Ende and Robert Louis Stevenson (among others). The quotes are very well chosen and give you a sense of the chapters, as well as making you want to read/revisit the books .
The ending is very good – giving closure to the story ark started in Inkheart, while at the same time setting up the sequel, Inkspell (Tintenblut).
My major criticism is the German edition. First, you can only get them in Hardcover at about € 20,- each, which is a helluva lot money and plain unnecessary (the English edition is in paperback already; the book’s five years old; so why?). Fine, Hardcover it is. But when I get a Hardcover, I want a nicer cover [the cover’s not bad but it could have been a lot better]. And – at that’s really my biggest complaint – there’s a drawing at the end of each chapter, which is great. But why do they start to repeat themselves? I mean, if it’s for some special reason, I didn’t get it. And if it depends more on the space left on the page (and that’s what it looks like), then give me new drawings for each chapter, because I just paid you 20 bucks. Suckers.
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There’s a movie with an excellent cast:
Brendan Fraser as Mortimer Folchart
Eliza Bennett as Meggie Folchart
Paul Bettany as Dustfinger
Andy Serkis as Capricorn
Jim Broadbent as Fenoglio
Helen Mirren as Elinor Loredan
It’s scheduled to come out in January in the US, next week in Europe.