Friday, December 5, 2008

Inkdeath by Cornelia Funke

Inkdeath by Cornelia Funke

Reviewed by Cheri Williams (Visit Cheri's blog)

Meggie. Mo. Resa. Farid. Fenoglio. Elinor. Darius. Orpheus.

Black Prince. Adderhead. Mortola. Violante. Mmm. Dustfinger.

The bestselling Inkheart trilogy continues, and ends, with Inkdeath. From the get-go I must tell you… there’s no picking up this “stunning conclusion” without first reading Inkheart—and then Inkspell! Each fantasy builds upon the prior weaving an unforgettable tale of magical adventure.

Inkdeath, like its predecessors, is filled with a love of literature. Every chapter begins with a quote. From contemporary to classic. From Mark Twain to Ranier Maria Rilke. Story-loving characters, a reverence for the written word, and book inspired transformation make it clear: books are to be treasured; books bring joy. Books can change us. Books can change the world.

Meggie’s father Mo is a bookbinder. When he reads aloud, characters break free from the page leaving their world to enter ours. And there is always a trade. In the first volume, Mo reads from his favorite book, Inkheart, and several sinister characters appear in his living room. Just as unbelievably, Meggie’s mother, Resa, disappears—into the book.

With one foot firmly planted in our world, the other finds itself fully in the Inkworld:
“A new morning woke Meggie, with pale light that fell on her face and air as fresh as if no one had ever breathed it before. The fairies were twittering outside her window like birds that had learned to talk…”

The Inkworld is fantastic, filled with little glass men, moss-women, pet martens, and white women of death. But, it is also overflowing with evil and violence:
“But then came the screams. The groans. The blood. His own heartbeat, loud and much too fast. Striking and thrusting, pulling his sword out of the bodies of strangers, the blood of strangers wet on his clothes, faces distorted by hatred—or was it fear?”
I don’t know when I’ve been so restless waiting for a book. Captivated by Inkheart and Inkspell, I was desperate to read Inkdeath. And I do mean desperate! Did the finale to this three-book fantasy adventure fulfill the longings of my anticipatory heart?

To be honest, backstory slows the beginning, Meggie’s character takes a backseat, and this book seems darker, less edge-of-your-seat than the first two. Like the others there are a few words I would rather kids weren’t exposed to. But… I still give a hearty recommendation for this marvelous conclusion.

Why? I love Funke’s poetic style, dazzling imagery, and timeless themes. And, of course, the book-loving undertone. Inspired, thought provoking prose leads readers to wrestle with desire and passion. And good versus evil. Vivid characters beg to be loved, hated, or in some cases, a bit of both. An overarching message pervades: actions rather than words ultimately determine destiny. The words of others can not conquer our power to choose. Yes, I do love this book!

The book’s breathtaking climax includes a twist. A wide-open door for more of Funke’s Inkworld. A different world perhaps, with different characters. But hope, however faint, exists for a continuation of her timeless classic. Billed for 9 to 12 year olds (I’d lean to the higher end) Inkdeath is a fantastic read. And I’m not talking fantastic for kids. This book is fantastic—period. Highly recommended.

More Info:
  • Reading level: Ages 9-12
  • Hardcover: 656 pages
  • Publisher: The Chicken House (September 26, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0439866286
  • ISBN-13: 978-0439866286
  • Source: Review copy from publisher

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