Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Inkspell by Cornelia Funke - Review

Man, oh man, this book has taken me F-O-R-E-V-E-R! I have seriously been deadlocked trying to get through it, and I had just responded earlier this summer to a Friday Follow question saying that usually I finish ALL books, regardless of how they are. I almost gave up on this one so many times...but I persevered and finished, and I am glad because the ending was pretty good.

This book (along with the other two in the trilogy) is a August book club selection for my teacher bookclub and our meeting is Friday, and I just started the third one, which is 660+ pages...yeah, not sure I will have finished it by then!

Book Summary (from Goodreads):
Just a few chapters into Inkspell, Mo (a.k.a. "Silvertongue") sagely says to his daughter, "Stories never really end, Meggie, even if the books like to pretend they do. Stories always go on. They don't end on the last page, any more than they begin on the first page." A fitting meta-observation for this, the unplanned second installment in Cornelia Funke's beloved now-trilogy. Of course, it's that sort of earnest, almost gushing veneration of books and book-loving that made the absorbing suspense-fantasy Inkheart so wonderful in the first place, with that lit-affection getting woven integrally into the plot (Inkheart being both Funke's first book in the series, and the fictitious book within that book, authored by the frustrated Fenoglio, now trapped within the book, er, within the book. Fenoglio, perhaps not surprisingly, self-referentially wishes in Inkspell that he had written a sequel to Inkheart.) Inkspell should serve as a special treat for fans of the first book, as characters from Inkheart who have found themselves in the "real world" (if there is such a thing) find themselves read back into their own mythic, word-spun world--along with some of our favorite "real-world" characters. As with the previous book, Funke's greatest accomplishment here is telling such a rich and involving (and fun!) story, while still managing sweet, subtle commentary on the nature of words and meaning. Expect a tantalizing finale, too--as Funke says, "No reader will forgive me the ending, though, without a part three." (Ages 8 and up) --Paul Hughes

My Thoughts:

Like I mentioned in the opening, this was a tough one from me and I believe it was for a couple of reasons. I have always had a hard time with fantasy and this has been no exception. But like most things in life, you don't know until you keep trying. This was a book club selection, so I committed to read - and finish - it!

Second, I feel like Cornelia Funke has WAY too much downtime between events that grab your attention. I think she is trying to give readers A LOT of background on the setting of the Inkworld, but it ends up just making the novel drag too much. What baffles me about this is that I really did get into it when another big thing would happen, but then it would start dragging again and I would lose interest. I am hoping the third one, Inkdeath, isn't like that, but I have a sneaking suspicion otherwise. But, I just have to know what happens to Meggie, Mo, Elinor, and of course Dustfinger so I will keep reading.

What I loved about this book, as I did with the first one Inkheart, was the beginning passages from other books. The author ends up exposing the reader to a ton of literature just through those opening quotes she includes - books that I have always wanted to read but never have are in there and have peaked my interest even further. I think that is really exceptional, and the author did a great job choosing, and placing, these quotes.

I have two favorite characters in this series - Dustfinger and Elinor. I have really enjoyed seeing them evolve and cannot wait to find out what happens to them.

I gave this book 3/5 stars and I am sticking with that rating - I am hoping to be able to hand out a 5/5 as I finish the third book this week and next!

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