Saturday 1 December 2012
Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
Twelve-year-old Meggie lives with her bookbinder father Mo after the disappearance of her mother in mysterious circumstances when she was only three. They are visiting a relative, book collector Eleanor when a strange man called Dustfinger arrives, claiming that Mo read him out of a book called Inkheart. What follows is a good old-fashioned adventure as Meggie and Mo race to stop the villain of Inkheart, Capricon, from destroying all the remaining copies and wreaking a terrible vengeance on his enemies. Along the way, they are assisted by Eleanor, the author of Inkheart, Fenoglio, and Farid, a young boy read out of the pages of A Thousand and One Nights.
Here's the thing: I know Inkheart isn't exactly the finest literature and I know that the plot is a little silly at times (the Shadow being a case in point), but none of that stops me from loving the book so much that even thinking about it makes me smile. Who amongst us hasn't read a book and wanted the characters to come out of the book? I know I have and I love that the entire story revolves around the love of books and in particular, the love of all the classics I loved so much as a child (Peter Pan, Arabian Nights etc). In fact, the thing I enjoy most about Inkheart is the tone; it feels like the old-fashioned books I devoured when I was young. There's a good dose of adventure, a straightforward good vs evil plot and a hint of magic. Picking it up feels like picking up an Enid Blyton novel,Treasure Island or Peter Pan. Although Meggie is in for a lot of suffering, it's due to the danger she faces and the world of the book is like a lovely bubble I like to sink into every now and again.
This isn't really a proper review as I'm not going to be critical. I understand this book isn't for everyone but I absolutely love it and I'm already looking forward to making time for a reread of Inkspell and Inkdeath over the next few weeks. For me, Inkheart is escapist adventure at its best.
Source: Personal copy
Edition: Chicken House, 2004
Score: 5 out of 5