Author: Cornelia Funke // First published: 2003 // Genre: Fantasy
This edition: 548 pages, published in June 2005 by Scholastic // Get it @TheBookDepository
Read in August 2015
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
Twelve-year-old Meggie learns that her father, who repairs and binds books for a living, can “read” fictional characters to life when one of those characters abducts them and tries to force him into service.
Characters from books literally leap off the page in this engrossing fantasy. Meggie has had her father to herself since her mother went away when she was young. Mo taught her to read when she was five, and the two share a mutual love of books. He can “read” characters out of books. When she was three, he read aloud from a book called Inkheart and released characters into the real world. At the same time, Meggie’s mother disappeared into the story. This “story within a story” will delight not just fantasy fans, but all readers who like an exciting plot with larger-than-life characters.
My thoughts (+ a brief history of my reading)
As I understand it, this is a very popular children’s fantasy trilogy, and even though I had never really heard of it, I found that a lot of people (ok, “a lot” may be overreaching as I don’t interact with that many people) were excited that I was reading it when I posted it on Tumblr.
I didn’t read as a child. I did have some picture books and small Disney books at my dad’s that they would read it to me once in a while, but my mother loathes reading and while I sometimes asked for a book when we were in shops or whatever, I didn’t really have any “real” books that I could read. I was basically raised with the TV on, watching Beverly Hills 90210.
Yes, I did have a point, hang on.
My point is, what you may consider to be classic and normal reads for a child, I never read during those years. I read The Dark Materials trilogy when I began university for example, because I had never heard of it before. So I’m guessing that’s why I had never heard of Inkheart either. The first time I heard of it was when I was looking for movies starring Brendan Fraser and/or Paul Bettany (because I like them), and I came across the movie title on IMDb. It sounded nice, so I watched the movie.
If you’ve seen the movie, you know that it is not the best thing out there. I know now that a lot of people who had previously read the book were pretty disappointed with it.
And that was my first mistake. Even though I had seen the movie, I still tried to read the book. It took me three months. I genuinely think I would have liked it more if I had read it when I was younger and when I hadn’t yet seen the movie. Because diving into this 500-page book while already knowing the story (you can say anything about the movie, but it follows the initial story) turned out to be quite dull and boring. I wasn’t scared for any of the characters, I didn’t wonder what would happen to them; I already knew all that and therefore tainted my reading experience, and that’s probably why it took me so long to finish it (I contemplated the idea of DNF-ing it, but I don’t really like to do that, so I took a break, and ended up finishing it eventually).
I obviously didn’t hate it, I just was bored with it because I already knew the story and therefore was not committed to it. So I’m giving this book 3/5 stars. I think the concept is very interesting, and I bet in the sequels it is taken a bit further and it may bring all sorts of new adventures. It seems to me like this book would be very popular among kids who like to read, because who hasn’t dreamed of living in a book or interacting with your favourite characters.