Finally I have finished reading a whole book, and a pretty chunky one at that. This week I’m recommending Inkheart by Cornelia Funke (published in 2003). I had originally watched the 2008 film before I realised that it was actually based on a book. I was inspired to read the trilogy (Inkheart, Inkspell, Inkdeath) and as I write this I’m half way through the second book.
I think the most important part of the book that appeals to me is its extraordinary concept. The book is about people who are able to read characters out of their books. A skill that only a handful of people in the world have and a skill that only a few people care to demonstrate. It’s an extremely complex concept and is well explained in the novel so that the reader doesn’t get confused; although things do become even clearer in the second novel.
I think it’s apt to insert the novel’s blurb now (because if I keep going, I’ll end up spoiling something): ‘Dare to read aloud… Meggie loves books. So does her father, Mo, a bookbinder, although he has never read aloud to her since her mother mysteriously disappeared. They live quietly until the night a stranger knocks at their door. He has come with a warning that forces Mo to reveal an extraordinary secret – a storytelling secret that will change their lives for ever.’
The characters are fantastic. I genuinely love them, even the ones you should hate. Mo and Meggie have such an amazing and loving relationship as Father and daughter, Elinor goes through such a massive character development, Capricorn is a captivating villain and finally, Dustfinger is an incredibly complex and interesting character and as such is my favourite of the book.
These characters are not only well created and described, Cornelia Funke has been able to show the many points-of-view, and the many thoughts of her many characters, and through this, has been able to deepen the characterisation without utterly confusing the reader. The novel is seamless in its ability to show so much in such a subtle style.
In addition, the author is amazingly well-read and this is shown through her knowledge of so many things relating to books from simply reading a lot and knowing about trades like Mortimer’s, in the novel, in bookbinding and being a book doctor, so to speak. The book is structured by chapters, of which each chapter begins with a quote from another work of literature. This is a format that is the same throughout the trilogy and it’s not only incredibly informative and interesting and proves how well-read Funke is, it stands as an introduction to each chapter and gives some form of foreshadowing or a notion of where the chapter stands in the whole of the narrative.
As a stand-alone novel or as part of the trilogy, this is a very well-written, brilliant book. I think the characters are superb and that every inch of the story is told in detail. It is this quality of the book that makes it hard to put it down, as the narrative flows so well and ever so flawlessly.