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Book Review: Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

Inkheart by Cornelia FunkeAs a librarian who works on both youth/teen and adult reference desks, I walk past this book at least once a week, if not longer. I didn’t really know what it was about, except that there was a movie (which I knew even less about). But I was waiting for something new to listen to (in between listening too Cooper’s Dark is Rising series and L’Engle’s Time Quintet) and there it was, on Overdrive, just asking for me to download it — and so I did. Let me just say, it’s a long book. It’s 14 parts, which is about 15 hours and sometimes those parts seem to go on forever. I’ll give the reader, Lynn Redgrave, her due, because she’s fantastic (almost as much as my favorite audio book — Fire by Kristin Cashore, read by Xanthe Elbrick). She, as cliche as it sounds, really made the characters come to life. I’m not sure I would’ve enjoyed the book as much without her reading. That being said, it took me a very, very long time to listen to the whole thing.

Let me begin my actual review by saying that I had just listened to A Wrinkle in Time, where the main character’s name is Meg, when I started listening to Inkheart. So, having a main character with a similar name, that of Meggie, in Inkheart was kind of confusing.  I soon got over that. My initial impressions of the book were that it was probably set in England — boy was I wrong. Instead, the book (written by a German author) is actually set in Italy. The second was that I honestly had no idea what the story was about, so discovering that Mo could read people/things out of books was just as much a discovery to me as it was to Meggie. I actually quite enjoyed all the little discoveries (from what happened to Meggie’s mother to the secrets of the rest of the characters) and found the dept of all the secondary characters to be quite fascinating.

But, and this isn’t really a bad thing, there’s quite a lot of book. I didn’t find the story boring, but by the last couple of parts, I was really itching for things to be over. Not because I was tired of the story, but because I got tired of people not telling each other the truth. This is something that’s been bugging me* much more since I started watching kdramas. But eventually, as things are wont to do in J/YA novels, they worked out.

Recommend? Definitely. Especially to tweens/teens who like fantasy, perhaps even epic fantasy. There are plenty of subtle and overt references to popular/famous fantasy novels (including Lord of the Rings and Peter Pan). Harry Potter fans might find it a bit boring, unless they’re also fans of Narnia. If you have the time, I highly recommend the audio book version (Inkspell is read by Brendan Fraser and Inkdeath is read by Allan Corduner).

*I promise to talk about this later when I talk about my love of kdramas. I promise!

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