May 24, 2010

Thoughts on a book

Posted in Books, Fantasy at 10:14 pm by catsinboxes

My room has become quite wild as of late, but before I spend most of my evening cleaning, I want to write down a few thoughts about a book I just finished two nights ago.  I know, you’re thinking: Hey, wait a minute!  What about that Korean War post that was supposed to be three afternoons ago and what happens to that horrible princess?  I want to see some more poodles chucked out of windows!

Well, not quite that.  I suppose I’m the only one who takes delight in thinking up creative ways of knocking off toy poodles.  In answer to your thoughts though, I do admit I have other things to do.  At the same time, I believe that a fun blog is a hodge-podge of this and that and is created at the writer’s whim.  So, while I do promise I will duly write about Korea and additional poodle demises my fairytale, at the moment I will write about a book.

With all that said, this isn’t meant to be a book review.  Rather, it is some musings on a particular series, the Inkheart trilogy by Cornelia Funke.  I finished the third book, Inkdeath, two nights ago, and I’m going to create a sort of dialogue about the book.

What interested you in the series? Well, I first heard of them when I read World Magazine’s movie review of the the first novel, Inkheart.  The reviewer wasn’t very enthusiastic about the movie but referenced with enjoyment the book.  I love fairytales and fantasy, but there are not many recent, good fantasy novels.  So, I mentally made note of Inkheart.  It was mentioned again in a conversation, and shortly afterward I came upon the first book at our library booksale.  I read it and really enjoyed it.  Some time between then and now, I read the second book, Inkspell.  Then, finally, I read the third.

Okay, nice history, but what is it about and why all the ink??? Well, it takes place in our contemporary world and also in another world dubbed “Inkworld” by Meggie Folchart, the story’s heroine.  Meggie’s family finds themselves increasingly drawn into the affairs of Inkworld.  I’m not going to say anymore about the storyline here; It’s thoroughly unpredictable, and I don’t want to spoil anything.  I really enjoyed that because I never knew what twist the story would take.  Also, despite several hundred pages (you could knock someone out if you dropped this volume out of a second-story window), the plot never lagged.

What sort of person would enjoy it; would I? Ah, that’s the tricky part.  The best way I can compare it, is to a piece of realistic medieval historical fiction.  Inkworld, in many ways, is medieval.  It’s magical, but poverty and dirt and sweat are all very real.

Morality is not an emphasized point or strength.  And, several remarks along that line are made that would make me classify this as a book for older teens or adults.  At the same time, in a Robin Hood sense, there are good guys v. bad guys.  And boy, are the bad guys bad; Funke can create quite the villain.  You might say that this is a Dickensian sort of fantasy.  A rambling fantasy world with all sorts of twists and turns, peopled with a whole host of characters.  And a warning, there is some profanity and “damn’s.”  Eleanor, a bristling middle-aged woman, is the prime culprit of this offense.

All right, I’m sort of interested, but you do have some warnings.  If I accept those, why should I read this? If you love fantasy, you will love the world that Cornelia Funke has created.  Her writing style is a rich, descriptive narrative (and this book is translated from the German!).  Also, Funke has invented all sorts of interesting creatures; blue fairies that nest in the eaves, glass men that act as assistants to scribes, to name only a few.  Then, you might say as icing on the cake, there is a wonderful quote from some book or poem at the start of each chapter.  They are very well chosen to correspond with the chapter itself.  That said, there were a few rather sacrilegious ones towards the end of Inkdeath.  (Quotes about God cleaning his workshop and finding half-created things he had forgotten about; I don’t think so!)

If you don’t mind my “warnings”, prepare to lose yourself in the pages of Cornelia Funke’s series; it really is a delightful experience.

P.S.  All right, what do you think?  Did you like this?  Would you mind commenting your thoughts?  I know there are some people out there reading this!

1 Comment »

  1. kristen said,

    Fun! I love your manner of reviewing the book. I like the Q&A format here — makes it intriguing to read. Sounds like you enjoyed the book!

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