Saturday, January 6, 2007

"...it's about a man whose wicked heart is as black as ink, filled with darkness and evil."

Title: Inkheart
Author: Cornelia Funke
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

ISBN: 0439709105
# of Pages: 534

Published:
Originally in German 2003;
June 2005 Scholastic Books

Began Reading:
December 31st, 2006

Finished Reading:
January 4th, 2006

The Tale Begins: With Meggie and her father, Mo, who live in a remote farm house somewhere in Europe. In every room, hallway and cupboard one is sure to find a book or something that resembles one. Evening comes, as ordinary as any other when Meggie catches the glimpse of a mysterious scarred figure. Dustfinger. Mo welcomes him as one does a pestering guest and she overhears his warning to Mo: "Capricorn is coming for you. He knows where you are... Silvertongue." Thus begins the adventure of INKHEART, the tale of the villain Capricorn who one evening (when Meggie was just a toddler) appears after Mo reads him, along with Basta & Dustfinger, right out of a book. That same night 9 years ago, Meggie's mother had disappeared. Since then, Mo has traveled all over Europe with his daughter to avoid the malicious Capricorn while refusing to ever read out loud again for the risk of reading Meggie into a story, sharing the same fate as her mother, would be too great a risk. Off on an adventure they all go on with Tinker Bell as a late companion and the Elvish language of LofR as their crypt the family survives kidnapping, snakes, gunshots, immense amounts of fire and Elinor, a distant aunt who is the bibliophiles of all bibliophiles.

Comments: A true page turner! It was amazing to read - like a trip. Funke's work is a recipe: she takes parts, characters, elements and at times direct quotes which she mixes together, gives a shake then twirl & 'voila'! Not only is she attacking the book lover who immediately identifies with Meggie but she introduces the world of fiction - or in my case re-introduces- the wonderful amazing world it creates for the reader. Funke touches on classic subjects of kinship ties, obsession, and identity in various forms and surprisingly the plot and content is more mature then I thought it would be for the age group recommended for. Please read it. Oh, do!

Best Part: The description of Elinor's Library. One can sense the presence of the books, the lives that they hold, the histories that they tell and the secrets that they keep. With Elinor you can admit that you hear books talking to you in hushed voices, your name drowning you in waves of guilt and igniting a even stronger sense of anticipation. For the unknown. For the taste of words. For the smell of paoer. For the love of a hero and loathing of a villain. Elinor's character allows a space for obsession that few understand yet (it seems) that many have. Her library manifests the desire to own and possess, to amerce oneself in what they love with little care for consequence. Elinor's Library. Elinor's books. Elinor herself... all together make the best part by far.

And the line: " Fear is not red. Fear is pale as a dead man's face." page 451

Worst Part: The past tense used in the beginning. "She blew out the match in alarm- oh how well she remembered it, even many years later-and knelt to look out of the window, which was wet with rain. " Page 2 We learn then that Meggie survives. A lot of the adventure would have been more cutting edge if that particular fact had not been revealed at all.

Recommend to: For the bibliophile at heart. One can tell by the chapter titles, which are excerpts from classics, that Funke's recipe is to create a hybrid by amassing key pivots within great literary works - Tolkien's language, Fairy Tale characters, Thousand Nights adventure, etc. Although the concept of recycling characters and plots (like those insipid Darcy stories that have been pooping up in bookstores these days) has always seemed a sick & perverted scheme to ruin perfection and pollute our shelves, Funke's combination is an exception. No, not for language by any extraordinary means - in fact her writing though bold is simplistic the majority of the time. Funke's work shines because of the idea - an idea so powerful that one is literally carried away. Her principal character Meggie allows for connectivity if anything for her suspicious nature but it is the characters of INKHEART, the story within the story, who are memorable - save for Elinor the aunt for reasons mentioned above.
My only wish is that I had thought of it first.

New Words: For me anyhow, there were several new words whose context especially I was unfamiliar with. Great that after all these years of reading, a kids book can not only touch but teach too.

"Meggie couldn't decide whether it was mocking, supercilious, or just awkward." page 6

"He's a marten or something like that, right?' she asked." page 27

"A strong and bitter book-sickness floods one's soul. How ignominious to be strapped to this ponderous mass of paper, print and dead man's sentiment." page 79 a quote from Solomon Eagle

"Dustfinger sat up and leaned against the side of the cistern." page 272

"The charred walls were hardly visible, camouflaged as they were by the spurge, brambles, and wild thyme that had taken root among the soot-blackened stones." page 308

"The boy had reluctantly obeyed. He was sticking close to Dustfinger, close as a burr, and he didn't like the gutted cottage." page 309

"The flames here were both tame and mutinous, strange, silent beasts that sometimes bit the hand that fed them." page 310

"So Capricorn's men avoided that part of the village, where dirty dishes left by its long-gone inhabitants still stood on many tables behind dilapidated front doors." page 354

"You're right, those small creatures are as troublesome as midges." page 366

"Resa had seated herself on a sarcophagus." page 403

"Then don't gawp so stupidly, look at the book." page 440

"The sky above the houses was blue as dark as deep water - an ominous blue..." page 457

"This was the shocking thing; that the slime of the pit seemed to utter cries and voices; that the amorphous dust gesticulated and sinned; that what was dead, and had no shape, should usurp the offices of life." page 475 quote from Robert L Stevenson The Strang Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

"A kind of rostrum had been set up in the middle of this arena with a cage opposite it, perhaps for the monster that Silvertongue's daughter was to read out of the book, perhaps for the prisoners." page 485

" Basta in particular was the object of enough scorn and derision for ten men, and from his failure to react at all one could only guess at the depths of his despair." page 494

"He's planning to feed you to his friend like a fly to a frog, so how about a little indignation ?" page 495

15 Comments:

Lover of Books said...

I remember when this book came out and have been wanting to read it. So many books so little time. lol I think you do a great job! Everyone is different and I write my reviews very formally but that is how I feel I do the best. :) Keep on blogging!

sarala said...

I loved this book. The book within a book theme really appealed to the reader in me. The sequel is well worth reading too. Unfortunately I didn't like her book set in Venice, The Thief Lord, half as much.
Thanks for visiting my site. I'll let you know how Kafka goes.

nessie said...

Lover of Books: thanks! Don't worry nothing would make me stop. I have been doing this for years now on paper. If no one reads my blog... ah well ;)

Sarala: Can not wait to get my hands on the sequal. I read Thief Lord as well and though it wasn't as good as this one I can see how it would make a really great movie and would appeal to young, active, imaginative minds.

Colleen Gleason said...

My kids have this book, but none of them have read it yet! They also have Funke's Dragon Rider and haven't read that either. Sigh.

I'll show them your post and maybe that'll get my son, at least, to pick it up. He just read Harry Potter #5.

nessie said...

At least they are reading Colleen~!!

I have Dragon Rider too and will pick it up as soon as I finish the Red and the Black. I love this book but it is a real challenge to finish!

Let me know what they think!

aka_Nik said...

Thanks for posting about this! I think I'm going to buy it for the Chunkster challenge. I can't wait to read it.

kontan said...

thanks for stopping by!

a book blog, oooeee...going exploring!

Carl V. said...

This is the second review I have seen on this book recently...maybe its a sign! Everytime I've seen it I think it looks like an interesting book. I'll definitely be putting it on my list now.

Lotus Reads said...

Love your reviews, Nessie, you're so clever with words! Must see if my daughters can be persuaded to read this book, it sounds wonderful!

nessie said...

How about this Lotus and all ya other hopeful parents: read the book to your kids!! That way its a two in one. And I am sure Bookfooled will let you sneak this one in as a chunkster for the challenge. 3 in 1. Talk about a real deal

Cassie said...

Wow, Nessie. first time visit to your blog. Thanks for commenting on mine. I love all the information you give on your reviews. I didn't read too much about this one though because it is on my TBR list and I didn't want to take the chance of ruining anything. I'll definitely have to look through your lists and glean some more books to add to my TBR list. I'm just barely compiling it now. I'm glad you liked this book. My aunt and mother have both read it too and loved it.

Melissa said...

I, too, loved this book. Unfortunately, the sequel -- Inkspell -- just didn't live up to my expectations based on Inkheart. An interseting aside: the movie's been optioned with Brenden Frasier signed on to play Mo. I guess that's who Funke always pictured as Mo. Me... I don't get it.

nessie said...

Cassie: go with it! You can't go wrong. Good luck with making the lists. I made mines before the holidays which helped since i had fewer books to read from.

Mel: Yes I know about BF playing Mo! Originally I had all this info on the movie but I decided not to post it since the post was already so long... though physically I always pictured Mo as tall and thin I think they may have chosen him because of his voice which is incredible. He did a cartoon once and the character was great!

hellomelissa said...

i saw and ALMOST bought this book the other day. that is, until i considered the other 50 books on my shelf. it sounds great, and thank you for the thorough review.

Framed said...

Great review. I loved how you highlighted new words. Good idea. I may borrow that for my reviews if you don't mind. I really liked this book and the sequel almost as much. I'm looking forward to number 3. But I don't see Brendan Frasier as Mo. Weird.