Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
Genre: Fantasy, Adventure, Young Adult
Publication Date: June 1, 2005
Reviewed by Lori Twichell
Mortimer Folchart (Mo) isn’t your ordinary book binder or book doctor as his daughter, Meggie, refers to him. The title fits. He cares for books as gently as any doctor caring for a patient. But Mo has a talent that sets him apart from the ordinary. He can read books to life. Literally.
Years ago Mo discovered his talent for bringing the written word to life while reading the book “Inkheart” to his young daughter. One moment he was quietly reading in the peace of his living room and the next he was surrounded by Basta, Dustfinger, and the evil Capricorn, all pulled from the pages and standing before his family, very much alive. No longer trapped by ink and paper, they were now free to roam through Mo’s world. Horrified, Mo tried to read them back into the book, but it was to no avail. Mo had no control over who came out of the book and, far worse than that, much to Mo’s horror, he discovered that when something came out of the book, something else went back in to replace it. This is when Mo decided that he would never, ever read aloud again.
Now, nearly a decade later, Mo and his now teenaged daughter Meggie cross paths with Inkheart’s characters once more. Capricorn wants Mo to read more of his evil friends out of the book and Dustfinger wants desperately to go back home and both of them need Mo to do this.
The adventure that Cornelia Funke has woven in this tale is beautiful, brilliant and one that every book lover will enjoy without a doubt. (And every author will wish they’d created.) Funke’s reverence and love of the written word fills every page. I couldn’t help but be drawn in as I followed her on this journey. Her description flows around you and pulls you into her world much as Mo’s voice pulls characters from their own world and into his.
I was delighted as I read this book and though I don’t always have as much time for reading as I’d like, I had a very difficult time putting this book down. The adventure is harrowing in places, heart wrenching in others and makes you laugh out loud often. I love the fact that Funke created her own world but that it was grounded in our own geography and great works of literature. The story takes place in Italy and Funke reintroduces us to several major characters from classic works of art, allowing us to experience them in a whole new way. Inkheart is the first in a trilogy of books followed by Inkspell and Inkdeath and I can’t wait to see what happens next.