Thursday, January 10, 2008

Inkheart Warns: Reading Aloud Can Be Hazardous to Your Health




Have you ever loved a storybook character so much that you wanted to pluck him out of the pages of his book and set him smack dab in the middle of your life? Or admired a heroine so completely that you wanted to jump right into her story and watch her in action? If you have - and who hasn't? - you might want to have a little chat with 12-year-old Meggie, star of Cornelia Funke's Inkheart. You see, Meggie knows all about storybook characters coming to life ...


Let me explain. Meggie's father, whom she calls Mo, is also known as Silvertongue. Why the strange name? Because when Mo reads aloud, he can pull people out of their stories. Of course, sometimes when someone comes out, someone or something may get pulled in. For this reason, Mo has kept his secret from his daughter, Meggie, refusing to ever read aloud to her. While this seems a little strange, Meggie never suspects a thing until one dark night when she spies a stranger outside her window. Her terror turns to suspicion when her father invites the stranger inside, greeting him as an old friend. When the two hole up in Mo's workroom, Meggie eavesdrops on their strange conversation, a conversation that revolves around a mysterious book and an evil villain who will stop at nothing to capture Mo and his magical voice.


Suddenly, Meggie finds herself in a situation more terrifying than any she has ever read about in her beloved books. On the run with her father, she demands the truth he has kept hidden from her. Out spills the story of a magical world peopled with fairies, trolls, and a vicious monster named Capricorn. This fairy tale world lives inside a book called Inkheart. The trouble is, some of the story's characters - including Capricorn - have come out of the book and into the modern world. Anxious to return, the villain and his henchman are hunting for Mo, the only one who can read them back into their story.


Although Capricorn and his "Black Jackets" have been terrifying real people for years, the police can't help. So, it is up to Meggie and a ragtag group of people - fictional and non - to take on the evil men, save Mo, and restore Inkheart's people to their proper place between the covers of a book. But their mission will not be simple or easy. As Meggie soon finds out, fictional characters can create just as much trouble outside their books as they can inside.


This novel enchanted me from the first pages. I loved the idea of books "whispering" to people and "luring" them into stories, as though the books themselves were live, animate objects. After this alluring beginning, I was hooked. The story is somewhat predictable, but contained enough twists and turns to keep me eagerly reading. I cared about the characters as well, from brave Meggie to her kind father to lively Fenoglio to brave Farid. You can't help but like them in all of their flawed complexity. Overall, Inkheart is a charming, magical read, just beware of reading it aloud. You never know what could happen.


Grade:A


Note:I struggled with whether or not to label this book a "Clean Read." It doesn't have any explicit sex or a lot of curse words, but there are hints about Capricorn's doings with women and a handful of hells and damns. So, I'm labeling it clean, with a little reservation.

9 comments:

  1. This sounds really good. I don't read a lot of YA books or fantasy books, but I think I would really like this one. Thanks for the really great review.

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  2. Great review...I read this one last year and enjoyed it much more than I expected I would. YA and Fantasy are not my thing usually, but this one made me curious about others of those types that I might be missing.

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  3. I'm really looking forward to seeing the movie. I wasn't enamored by the book the way most readers were, I'm afraid, but I did like it overall.

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  4. Yay! I have this one on hold at my library, so I can't wait to get my hot little hands on it. :D

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  5. Lisa & Carl - I'm finding myself loving the YA fantasy books more and more. I was never into these kind of books as a kid, but now I just can't stay away!

    L.F. - I can't wait to see the movie either. When is it coming out, do you know?

    Eva - I hope you like it. I grabbed both Inkheart and Inkspell from the library, so I need to read Inkspell before it's overdue. I'll let you know what I think!

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  6. I don't care for Fantasy books at all, BUT this one sounds intriguing. :)

    Don't forget to come back and link it to the challenge!

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  7. Thanks for the reminder, Joy. I forgot all about linking it to the challenge. Duh.

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  8. I just read this one too and thought it was really, really good. There is such a lot of good Young adult fantasy around at the moment. The movie of Inkheart is out in March I believe.

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  9. This just arrived in my Amazon delivery, your review has made me even more eager to read it.

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