Book review

Inkheart by Cornelia Funke (2003)

Have you ever read a book and enjoyed it so much that you daydreamed yourself into the story? Or daydreamed a character out of the story into your own life? Wouldn't it be brilliant if it were really possible to breathe life into fictional characters? They could just slip out from between the pages and stand there in front of you.

I guess they'd be a bit surprised to see you, and they might not be too happy about it either. They might have been having a perfectly good time in theirown world and not really want to suddenly drop into 21st century reality.

Hmm. And I guess there's also the possibility of reading the wrong person out from between the covers. It's OK reading about them, but you might notfancy actually meeting alien life forms from Planet X, for example.

Well, it isn't a problem for me because I can't actually read people out from between the covers of a book, but I know somebody who can... He's called Silvertongue, for obvious reasons, and he's Meggie's father. The thing is, Meggie doesn't know that her father reads characters out ofbooks, but she does know thatthere are some pretty strange peoplehanging around their house.

I don't know what happens to the story that's left in the book once you read the main character out of it, but I do know that once Silvertongue reads people out into his own world, they're free from their story and they can behave just as they like.

MeetCapricorn. He's causing Meggie's father so much trouble that they set off in search of Fenoglio, the author of the book that he slipped out of, to see if he can help. Fenoglio, of course, is fascinated to meet his own creation, but Capricorn isn't so impressed:

'As I said, Basta has told me a strange story - he says you claimed to be the man who wrote a certain book - what was its name again?'
'Inkheart.' Fenoglio rubbed his aching back. 'Its title is Inkheart because it's about a man whose wicked heart is black as ink, filled with darkness and evil. I still like the title.'
Capricorn raised his eyebrows - and smiled. 'And how am I supposed to take that?' As a compliment, maybe? After all, it's my story you're talking about.'
'No, no, it's mine. You just appear in it.'

Want to know what happens? You'll have to read the book, quick, before they change the ending...

Full of ideas, this one. If you like to play around with notions of reality, I think you'll enjoy it. It's a long book though - that's fine if you like to settle into a story, but not so good if you're looking for plenty of action.

What can I read next?

If you enjoy Inkheart watch out for the next one, because it's the first part of a planned trilogy.

Meanwhile, for a similar read, you might like to look at this one by Michael Ende:

Or this one by Margaret Mahy, which blends reality into a kind of fantasy adventure in a thoroughly convincing way:

Or this brilliant story about elves and humans by Sally Prue:

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